Forza Motorsport 7 is only a month away, and with more than 700 Forzavista cars to collect and 32 world-famous track locations to discover, many have been wondering how developer Turn 10 Studios aims to unite and combine these elements to create the ultimate motorsport experience.
We attended a behind-closed-doors demo of Forza Motorsport 7 at Gamescom 2017, which gave us a closer look at the collecting aspects of the game that have been heavily emphasized by its developer, as well as the new racing suits and career mode. We also learned about how Turn 10 is rebuilding its tracks to make them more polished and suited for competitive racing events than ever before. This demo was exclusive to select invited media, and wasn’t playable on the showfloor, giving us the chance to check out some of the most exciting aspects of Forza Motorsport 7.
The demo was handled by Turn 10’s Community Manager Brian Ekberg, instead of Creative Director Bill Giese, who they’re normally handled by. Giese potentially heard of my attendance, so he likely decided to have his lunch break for the day at the perfect time. The demo explored many different aspects of Forza Motorsport 7, but the first few minutes focused on the franchise’s recent achievements.
In the last few months, there’s been a lot happening and tons of exciting developments in the world of Forza. For example, we had the Season 3 finals of the Forza Racing Championship at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where the winners stood on the same podium as the real-world Le Mans drivers. We also had the unveiling of the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS on stage at E3 2017 with the announcement of Forza Motorsport 7 – a first for the industry.
This announcement was possible by the six-year, multi-project partnership with Porsche announced earlier this year. It introduced Porsche to Forza Horizon 3, and for the first time since Forza Motorsport 3, the famed German automaker will feature in Forza Motorsport 7 from launch. These iconic moments of Forza were called out by Ekberg before he dived deep into the demo, giving media outlets and influencers a recap of how exciting 2017 has already been for Forza fans.
Back at E3 2017, Turn 10 Studios outlined three important focuses the team has for Forza Motorsport 7. First and foremost, the fact it was being built to be the best-looking Forza game to-date. Secondly, how Turn 10 has “reimagined everything” to return the series back to its roots of competitive racing. Lastly, how Turn 10 aims to unite its players with online and community features in Forza Motorsport 7.
During our behind-closed-doors session at Gamescom, Ekberg similarly highlighted three core takeaways we have should walk away with. These included visuals, and how the Xbox One X improves all versions of the game. In fact, Turn 10 has been building 4K assets since it begun work on Forza Motorsport 6. A reimagining of the game from how cars look and feel to pulling the driver out of the car with race suits and car collecting, with the new Forza Driver’s Cup campaign reimagining the entire Forza racing experience. The last of these focuses was on how Turn 10 aim to unite the community of more than 5 million players playing Forza every month with Xbox Live and features like cross-play and the new peripherals support on Windows 10 PC.
First of all, we got a look at the new homespace for Forza Motorsport 7, which has a workshop vibe to it – one that puts you and your car front and centre, whilst emphasiszing the motorsport-inspired focus of Turn 10’s latest racing game. It’s similar to the garage homespace from Forza Motorsport 6, but this time, the competitive racing nature is what shines in the spotlight with the driver itself being an important factor of this.
Before we dived into the menu interface, Ekberg pointed out the music being played in his garage, which was taken from his OneDrive account. “We want people in Forza 7 to be able to listen to the music they want to listen to,” he said. “We feel that’s important, but we also have this desire to bring people into the world of Forza, and with sound, we do that by making sure the sound feels like it’s being projected within the environment that you’re in.”
That means if you’re in the garage, you can hear music being pumped from the speakers overhead. If you’re driving past Laguna Seca, you’ll hear the music being projected from the pits and trackside as well. This gives players choice, but also immerses them into the racing experience with the music they want to hear. Sound in Forza Motorsport 7 is being curated to make it feel like it’s being projected into the environment, but that isn’t the only area of Turn 10’s latest racing game that’s been reworked.
The entire menu interface is designed to pull the player into the experience. You can see your driver in their gear to the left side of the screen, standing by the last car you’ve driven, whilst the right-hand portion is taken up by a selection of tiles, divided into groups of tabs. These include Home, Single-Player, Multiplayer, Cars, and Progress. It’s been heavily updated since we last saw it at E3 2017, as back then, it was still using Forza Motorsport 6 screenshots on the tiles as placeholder images.
Ekberg dived straight into the Forza Driver’s Cup Career mode from here, which is broken down into six unique championships. These include Seeker, Breakout, Evolution, Domination, Masters, and the Forza Driver’s Cup, which acts as the finale of the campaign. Each of these championships include different events and prizes, which is described by Turn 10 as “a motorsport package that feels very authentic to the real world and motorsport in general.”
Divisions within the Forza Driver’s Cup offer SP Points, which allow you to work towards your goal of championship prizes. These include unique Forza Edition cars, many of which are rare in the game and include widebodies and bonus modifiers for extra credits and XP, similar to the Horizon Edition cars from Forza Horizon 3. Of course, car collecting is extremely important in Forza Motorsport 7, as the bigger your garage becomes, the better the rewards will be at the end of an event. In addition, points will carry throughout each series – even if you change cars, allowing you to work towards one goal in many different ways.
The Forza Driver’s Cup includes tons of different events and series, and we got a glimpse of those found in the Seeker Championship. These include Exotic GT, Historic Road Racing, Audi Models, Hot Hatches, and more. There’s also Showcase Events, such as Top Gear Limo Bowling, as well as Gymkhana Focus – which is a one-on-one against professional Hoonigan driver Ken Block. Each of these events offer a certain number of SP, whilst the voice talent in this year’s roster includes Magnus Walker and Ken Block, who narrate the Showcase Events.
These Showcases also are a great way to earn extremely rare cars, as certain vehicles are only available from certain showcase events. There’s also an ‘Open Division,’ which allows players to race whatever vehicles they want – including the car you were last driving, on their favourite tracks in the game. All of this is delivered with a motorsport emphasis and structure, allowing players to build up points and become the best of the best across multiple series within each of the championships on offer in the Forza Driver’s Cup. Events will conclude with a leaderboard, showing your current progress within a championship at the end of a race with the points you’ve been awarded. Ekberg had accumulated a total of 120 in our demo.
One of the big focuses in Turn 10’s behind-closed-doors demo for Forza Motorsport 7 was the new Driver Gear on show, allowing players to personalize their in-game Drivatar with more than 300 pieces of unique gear influenced by motorsport history. Driver Gear is split into multiple categories when swapping race suit, including Forza Favourites, Pop Culture, Team Colours, and A-Z.
In addition to the motorsport-inspired outfits, there’s also some funny ones in there, including tuxedos and sweaters, as well as ridiculous suits like Biker Gear. Ekberg says players will “get a kick out of them.” You can only imagine all the different types of silly and wacky suits that will be included, as we’ve only seen a handful of them so far. Imagine a suit inspired by Master Chief of Halo or Marcus Fenix of Gears of War 4. It’s entirely possible, and it’s something I hope we see. Turn 10 will also likely expand on the number of the suits available in the game with new additions in post-launch updates and Forzathon events.
Driver Gear in Forza Motorsport 7 is also rated by how rare it is. For example, the Biker Gear is considered “Super Rare,” and suits can be earned by completing various race events or championships. They can also be earned from Prize Crates, and Drivatars will appear in other races driving the suits you choose in the cars that you love.
For those unaware, Prize Crates can be purchased with your in-game credits, and include various items, including rare cars, mods, driver gear, and more. These can cost upwards of 100,000 Credits, and there’s multiple types of creates to choose from. Ekberg also says they won’t be acquirable with real-world currency, but that doesn’t rule out microtransactions being added in a future update, as seen in recent Forza titles. As for Mods, these have been reimagined as challenges, allowing players to tinker around with the assists and try out new setups whilst earnng credit rewards.
At E3 2017, we were shown how driving in Dubai feels like during our behind-closed-doors session, but for Gamescom, Turn 10 focuses on Suzuka – one of the fan-favourite tracks returning from Forza Motorsport 4. For the first time in franchise history, Suzuka will support wet-weather and dynamic conditions, and it’s the only Japanese track present in Forza Motorsport 7.
Before beginning an event, players can explore their car in Forzavista trackside. You can walk around the car and view it in all its impressive 4K detail. From the windshield wipers and bonnet to the amazingly-detailed cockpits and engines, Forza Motorsport 7 has also it all covered. You can even explore your car during a thunderstorm as it rain pours down onto the car. In addition, you’ll be able to tune and upgrade your car before the race begins – even in multiplayer, and check out the current active Forzathon challenges, which are returning from Forza Horizon 3.
As a bonus, you can even change your Driver Gear as you wait for the race to begin, and when the race does start, you can even turn on or off driver assists mid-race by simply pausing the game – a first for the franchise. This is all done so players spend as much time on the track as possible, and even the loading screen before you hit the track is interactive, allowing you to customize as much of the race experience as possible. Players can also navigate around their car and explore those of other drivers pre-race in the same lobby in multiplayer at the pits. Not only will they see the livery and tune on each player’s car, but also the Driver Gear they’ve equipped.
All of these changes are extremely welcome, and it shows how Forza Motorsport 7 really focuses on fixing the issues from Forza Motorsport 6 and polishing the overall experience rather than being a massive step above its predecessor – and that isn’t a bad thing at all, though it’s arguably disappointing that Forza Motorsport 7 doesn’t have much new to the franchise in terms of cars and tracks, with Dubai being the only brand-new addition with Maple Valley, Mugello, and Suzuka returning from Forza Motorsport 4 to make up the 32-track roster combined with all circuits from Forza Motorsport 6.
As the team has developed by Forza Motorsport 7, it has improved the lighting space with photogrammetry, a rendering technique where the team uses photos to build surfaces of real-world objects, giving the world much more detail. As for the cockpit experience, you’ll see your driver almost thrown round the car as parts rattle and shake, vibrating and reacting the surfaces you drive over. The netting also moves, the windshield wipers shake, and the wiring also rattles – anything that is exposed to the physics of the world will vibrate and move in Forza Motorsport 7.
We also noticed some subtle changes whilst playing as well, such as the improved gear-changing animations to make them less ‘flingy,’ the new ‘caution ahead’ warning for oncoming traffic, as well as the new on-screen notifications that inform you of what has been replaced or repaird when driving out of the pits during a race event. Unfortunately, there is no active or ‘live’ pit crew in Forza Motorsport 7.
Our Suzuka race had started as a storm, but after a few minutes of Ekberg discussing how the team has reimagined the racing experience in Forza Motorsport 7, we saw dynamic conditions in-action as the temperature changes and alter grip levels on the track. Clouds also move over the track, even during daytime conditions. On Suzuka, the race had transitioned from a thunderstorm with lighting to a beautiful evening sunset. Like the conclusion to the Nürburgring race from the E3 2017 and Gamescom Demo, it looked glorious.
Forza Motorsport 7 on Windows 10 will be the best iteration of the franchise yet on PC. Turn 10 has promised to deliver “a world-class racing experience” for the platform, but not only is it promising this for high-end PC owners, but also low-end devices. For example, Forza Motorsport 7 can even run on Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4, a device which only comes equipped with Intel HD Graphics, according to the game’s creative director, Bill Giese.
In addition, Forza Motorsport 7 also comes equipped with multi-USB support for PC, and will support more than 30 peripherals. You can even enjoy the game using Sony’s DualShock 4 controller from PlayStation 4, and even the Guitar Hero controller! Yes, you can in fact play Forza Motorsport 7 with a guitar, and we’re sure this will become a fan-favourite method of input for streamers and content creators. Of course, the game supports every popular Fanatec, Logitech, and Thrustmaster wheel on the market.
Forza Motorsport 6: Apex was the first title from developer Turn 10 Studios to make its way onto PC before Forza Horizon 3 launched on Xbox One and Windows 10 last September. Both could be played in full 4K resolution on PC, whilst High Dynamic Range was supported for Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One S. Both those titles had extremely demanding system requirements, but this won’t be an issue for Forza Motorsport 7, which has significantly lowered its minimum and recommended spec for PC over its predecessors.
Meanwhile, Forza Motorsport 7 has also been optimized for a wide range of Windows 10 PCs. With new additions like benchmark mode and support for 21:9 displays, 8x MSAA and 16x anisotropic filtering, fans can enjoy Forza Motorsport 7 how they want. It will also support an unlocked frame-rate, and will naturally support 4K resolution for the most visually-stunning racing experience possible.
Car collecting is an essential area of progression in Forza Motorsport 7. That’s something Ekberg stressed numerous times throughout our behind-closed-doors demo. As you earn rewards in Forza Motorsport 7, you’ll unlock additional credits and in-game XP, which is affected by modifiers enabled, race length, and your final position.
Each time you level up, you’ll have three different rewards to choose from as you progress through the ranks. These prizes include car discounts – such as the McLaren 12c from our demo, new mod packs, and credit bonuses. Unlocks are determined by your Car Collector Tier, which was set at Tier 4 in our demo. The more cars you have stored in your garage, the higher your Car Collector Tier will be.
Forza Motorsport 7 also features a revamped car layout screen for both purchasing new vehicles and the in-game garage. Not only does it group cars that are competitive with one another with homologatation, but it also organizes them by their tier level. Each time you acquire a new car for your garage, it will add it to your overall Collector’s Score, where each car offers a unique value. If you owned that car in Forza Motorsport 6 or Forza Horizon 3 and you had a paint created for it, it can also be imported and shared in Forza Motorsport 7.
Cars can be acquired form the in-game marketplace, as well as the Auction House, unlocked in the Forza Driver’s Cup single-player campaign experience, and of course, Forzathon. There’s also a new Specialty Dealer, which offers “a hot car discounted for a special, limited time.” Ekberg says this is a good place to acquire “rare cars,” which most likely includes Forza Edition cars, many of which come equipped with unique bodykits and a bonus modifier, so you can earn more credits or XP in a race event, for example.
Forza Motorsport 7 is polishing the overall multiplayer experience to make racing inclusive, competitive, and diverse. It’s also about putting the focus on you – the player, driver, and human inside the car. To achieve this, the game has an entirely revamped lobby experience that takes players trackside. Instead of a standard list of names occupying the entire screen, you can navigate the pits, adjust options on the fly, and check out other players' cars. Have a look at their livery and tune, check out other rides, and explore them in immense detail with Forzavista. You’ll also see each player’s Drivatar in their customized racing gear.
Forza Racing Leagues are also making a comeback. These were described by Ekberg as the “stepping stone” to the Forza Racing Championship – the worldwide, multi-season competitive racing series operated by Turn 10 Studios and Gfinity. Leagues may last a few days to a couple of weeks, and they band players together within different groups. Ekberg also noted that Turn 10 want Leagues to be “a great spectator sport” as well.
Forza Motorsport 7 launches on October 3rd, 2017 for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. Not only does it offer the widest range of cars and tracks in the history of the franchise, with a total of 714 Forzavista cars and 32 track locations with over 200 individual ribbons, but it also refines the overall experience to make it the most competitive and complete Forza game we’ve ever played.
Whilst there’s concerns over the lack of new track locations and car models, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the promise of every race being truly different with dynamic time and weather conditions, and it’s this feature that will decide how long fans will keep playing Forza Motorsport 7. If Turn 10 manages to make the track and racing experience unique and somewhat different each time we return to our favourite circuits, this could very well be one of the most exciting innovations ever seen in a racing game.
Regardless of what happens, Forza Motorsport 7 will be the defnitive entry in the franchise, with the motorsport-inspired career mode, online adjuciation for eSports events like the Forza Racing Championship, and the largest amount of content ever seen in a Forza game before with dynamic racing conditions to make every race come alive with dramatic outcomes.
If you can’t wait until October 3rd for all of this, then keep the Ultimate Edition of Forza Motorsport 7 on your radar, which allows early access to full game from September 29th. In addition to this, the Forza Motorsport 7 Ultimate Editon also includes the Day One Car Pack and Hoonigan Car Pack, as well as the Car Pass – which grants access to the first six Car Packs for Forza Motorsport 7 at not additional cost. It also comes with VIP Membership, which includes five Forza Edition cars, as well as special Driver Gear and other bonuses.
Alan is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. As someone who enjoys spending all his free time playing video games, he delivers the latest in news stories, reviews, and feature articles to the website, as well as videos on his YouTube channel and livestreams over on Mixer.