Forza Motorsport 7

Forza Motorsport 7: A Turning Point for the Franchise ‬

Article By 
Alan Walsh
August 14, 2018
Forza Motorsport 7

Forza Motorsport 7: A Turning Point for the Franchise ‬

Article By 
Alan Walsh
August 14, 2018

Forza Motorsport 7 has been the biggest turning point for Microsoft’s flagship racing game franchise since its incarnation in 2005. Almost a year since its release, the title has received more than 15 updates, all of which have introduced new content, features and fixes based on feedback from the community. Typically, Forza games wouldn’t receive a huge amount of post-launch support due to the strenuous two-year development cycle of the franchise.

Since 2011, there has been a new entry into the series every year, switching between Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon. Post-launch support for these titles mostly consisted of monthly Car Packs, a slate of fixes and improvements, as well as some larger expansions. However, we’ve never seen anything to the scale of Forza Motorsport 7, which most recently received its biggest update yet, introducing all-new redrawn track limits, the Time Attack Rivals mode, new features for drifting, and a host of smaller improvements that add a lot to the overall experience.

It puts Forza Motorsport 7 in a radically different position to where it was 12 months ago, when the development team at Turn 10 Studios were trying to finish up its latest racing game. It’s no secret that Forza Motorsport 7 didn’t ship as polished as you’d expect. Multiplayer disconnects were frequent, game crashes were rife for some, whilst missing features like Spectate Mode and the Auction House resulted in a lot of disappointment in the community. That’s not to mention all the controversy caused by the VIP Membership, which initially offered Mod cards to supplement the fan-favourite double-credit race bonus, and the loot box-styled Prize Crates.

There’s been a lot of change in both Turn 10 Studios and Forza Motorsport 7 since its release on October 3rd last year. The developer has been incredibly open with its fans and players, with new monthly livestreams diving deep into new features and content for Forza Motorsport 7 before it ships. The team has also hosted drivers competing in its Forza Racing Championship esports series at its studio in Seattle, WA, allowing them to directly provide their feedback, ideas and suggestions on the future of the Forza franchise straight to the developer.

Turn 10 also hasn’t been afraid to announce and showcase new in-progress features. Last May, we had our first look at the all-new Forza Race Regulations adjudication system with revamped Drift and Drag modes. Some of these features only began to ship earlier this month, with the rest to come throughout the remainder of 2018. Furthermore, Turn 10 responded to feedback regarding to pre-order-exclusive Hoonigan Car Pack and made it available for both standalone purchase and at no cost to Forza Motorsport 7 Car Pass holders. Speaking of this, the Car Pass was also extended to include two additional Car Packs on top of this, including the stunning Top Gear Car Pack from July with another to be released sometime in the future.

Last month, Turn 10 also removed vehicles from Prize Crates in Forza Motorsport 7 – before later announcing that the feature would be pulled entirely from the game. Following a lot of backlash, as well as the infamous Star Wars Battlefront II loot box controversy, it felt like the right move for Turn 10. There were other features to address first in Forza Motorsport 7 that took priority, and the team were certainly right to sort these out first before moving onto Prize Crates. But now felt like an appropriate time for them to revisit this controversial feature – and work on removing it entirely.

Alan Hartman, Turn 10’s Studio Head and the boss of the Forza franchise, made the announcement himself, saying “their presence in the game has continued to be a source of controversy. The overwhelming feedback has been that this system feels out of place.” The removal of Prize Crates from Forza Motorsport 7 is expected to be completed before the end of the year. It’s a complex system that’s integrated into various areas of the game but replacing it will be an all-new shop where you can acquire Driver Gear outfits, Mods and Player Badges using in-game credits without any barriers.

Turn 10’s Creative Director Chris Esaki also made a quick mention about Prize Crates in the latest Forza Monthly broadcast, calling them an “experiment” and saying they were “by in-large not right for the product, or most of our consumers.” Esaki has undeniably been a prominent name in Forza as of recent. His presence on the Forza Monthly shows is all about one thing, and that’s honest, direct communication with the Forza Motorsport community. Esaki clearly has a lot of passion and ambitions for the game, and the fanbase has certainly appreciated his input. He’s been extremely open about the future of Forza Motorsport 7, and these Forza Monthly livestreams allow fans to feel ever so closer to the development of the franchise.

Esaki also reiterated on July’s show that the entire Forza Motorsport development team remains focused on new content, updates and features for Forza Motorsport 7. “What that means is we're not going off making Forza Motorsport 8,” he said. “We’re actually not going off and making a grand new expansion. What we’re doing is investing in the Motorsport experience that you guys have right now. And we’re doing it all for free, and all just listening to the community, making things better, and that’s where all these new features are coming from – and investing in modes that we have, expanding things outward, and making a deep, robust Motorsport game.”

Esaki’s comment on Turn 10 not developing Forza Motorsport 8 yet shows how open this team currently is with their fans. The typical two-year development cycle of the franchise means we would’ve received this game before the end of next year, but instead, it’s clear that Turn 10 want to focus on the Forza Motorsport 7 experience already in the hands of players by developing new, robust features and content for it at no additional cost. Esaki has confirmed that Turn 10 are looking at tracks and other types of content expansions, but with the new experiences and features being introduced into the game every month, Esaki sees “every month as an expansion for us. Every month for us is really about building new experiences – a deeper and more robust Forza Motorsport 7.”

This change in perspective from the studio and its overall outlook on the series will immensely benefit fans, and especially, the hardcore Forza Motorsport 7 community, because at the end of the day, aren’t they the ones who matter most? The people who are racing for hours and hours in the game, broadcasting it to their followers on Mixer, Twitch and YouTube, or practising to compete in upcoming rounds of the ForzaRC. Perhaps it those who enjoy tuning and drifting their rides, creating masterpieces in the livery editor to share with the entire community, or capturing photos to post online across social media. These are the people who matter the most to Turn 10. Despite all the positive reviews and accolades, it didn’t matter to the studio if its biggest and most loyal fans within the hardcore Forza community weren’t happy with the product.

“It’s no longer build a game and be done – or even build a game and do DLC,” said Forza franchise Creative Director Dan Greenawalt at an E3 Coliseum panel last June, following the announcement of this year’s Forza Horizon 4. “It’s now about involving the community,” he added. “100% of Turn 10’s Motorsport team is still working on Forza Motorsport 7, now going on nine months on. This sort of community involvement is super critical.”

Not only has the response to Forza Motorsport 7 drastically shaped the future of the game and the Motorsport series moving forward, but it’s also impacted Forza Horizon 4. The game’s integration of Dynamic Seasons, which change on a weekly basis, means players will have new content to look forward to regularly. “We see seasons not just as a really cool open-world feature, but also as the perfect sort of delivery mechanism if you will like for the new stuff that our team is gonna continually bring to the game post-launch,” said Forza Horizon 4’s Creative Director, Ralph Fulton. Playground Games, the team behind the Forza Horizon series, will continue to develop new experiences and features from both their own roadmap, as well as community feedback, to evolve and change the game with each passing season. “So, the game you see at launch will not resemble the game that you’ll be playing in a month or two months or six months or years to come,” he added.

Turn 10 has also listened to its closest fans and the competitive community for growing, evolving and expanding its ForzaRC esports series. This year’s season on Forza Motorsport 7 has been the longest one yet, but it’s also been the most exciting with a thrilling victory from Robin ‘bbbb0x’ Betka of Noble esports at the Series 1 Playoffs in Seattle, WA last June. There was also an unmissable Team Racing exhibition showcase at the Pre-Season Invitational Presented by IMSA last March, in which F4H Motorsport took the lead. ForzaRC is continuing to evolve and expand to include more members of the community, spotlighting painters and adding greater incentives to not only watch the official broadcasts, but to also compete in the series. Next year’s season will certainly build on this even further and will aim to take the Forza Racing Championship to the next level.

Overall, it’s clear that Forza Motorsport 7 had a rocky start. Between missing features, controversial additions and a vast number of bugs, the game certainly launched with its fair-share of problems. However, that hasn’t stopped the team from listening to its core fanbase and acting upon their feedback. Forza Motorsport 7 has refocused and realigned with the core values of the series to deliver thrilling competitive racing and desirable motorsport experiences fused with the definitive automotive playset. Its roster of more than 700 Forzavista cars and 32 track locations with more than 200 ribbon configurations makes it the biggest and most diverse Forza game out there, but there’s plenty to come.

New experiences, features and content additions will light up in Forza Motorsport 7 over the months ahead, including the full rollout of Forza Race Regulations, which will include a penalty system to penalize dirty driving, as well as a revamped Drag experience. These features will make Forza Motorsport 7 the most robust entry in the series to date, and as we look ahead to the rest of 2018 and beyond, whilst considering Turn 10’s recent levels of engagement with its community, it’s sure to only continue getting better from here on. With its sustained level of regular post-launch support, we can only imagine how polished, feature-rich and complete Forza Motorsport 7 will be 12 months from now – and the overall thought of that is one to be certainly excited about.

Alan Walsh

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.