Forza Motorsport is back – Visually stunning and utterly compelling

Yes, you read the title correctly. Forza Motorsport, after over half a decade in silence, is finally making a big return to the new generation.

Following a ‘lukewarm at best’ reception with Forza Motorsport 7, the team at Turn 10 Studios decided that now, with the release of the Xbox Series consoles, was the time to fully reboot the series and ditch the serialised, numbered releases.

While there were some initial teases with last year’s E3 reveal, this year saw two opportunities to learn more about Turn 10’s latest creation – The Developer Direct, hosted on January 25th and taking a leaf out of Nintendo’s presentation book, as well as the dedicated chat with Chris Esaki over on Forza Monthly the following day, and we have some ground to cover.

Forza Motosport 2023

Forza Motosport looks visually stunning and shiny

Something that plays massively into the new FM’s favour (and hampers entries like Forza Horizon 5 for keeping them in) is the decision to fully ditch the Xbox One generation and all it’s half-steps, in favour of fully embracing the new generation and fully realising their creative vision.

What that means is ‘materials and shaders rebuilt from the ground up’ along with a new paint model, dirt accumulation, a new damage model and other visual refreshes.. wow, does the game look beautiful. Touting a lofty claim of 4K at 60fps with real-time ray tracing, in the press material shown the game is nothing short of breathtaking and Motorsport looks to be one of the most visually beautiful racing games, period.

That being said, there are some gaps in quality – Viewers have been quick to point out that some models have still yet to be updated, and while recycling of assets is commonplace in the industry (Games of such scope and magnitude would not be possible without sharing assets between titles), some car models in particular like the Nissan Silvia S15 are long overdue an upgrade. Let’s hope that with the 100+ ‘New to Motorsport’ cars (An important wording choice – Look out for cars coming from Forza Horizon 5 to bolster that figure) and a 500-strong roster overall, that the cars all get the attention and love they deserve.

Trimming the fat and content

The big headline figures from Turn 10 are the game’s car roster and track list – Featuring over 500 cars on launch over 20 locations, including new locales like Kyalami and Hakone and also featuring new and historic layouts, from the tracks we have seen they all look to be on the forefront of visual quality and fidelity.

Some complaints have been levied against the reduction of content overall compared to it’s predecessor, however if it means the team have trimmed the ‘filler’ of previous titles in favour of honing in on quality over quantity, I’m all for it. Another thing to remember is that with the removal of the numbered title and the change in focus towards being a long-term platform than a serialised entry, means post-launch support should be plentiful and bring a lot of content throughout the game’s lifespan to fill in any gaps.

A delayed return to the track?

One of the big talking points has also been the game’s release date – or lack thereof.
While the game was initially pegged for a Spring 2023 release following their E3 presentation last year, the goalposts seem to have been subtly moved by the team, as the latest material has shown a far more nebulous ‘Coming 2023’ moniker.

Fans have been quick to speculate when the new game would land, such as user Orangecroc on Twitter who predicted a release of June 20th, 2023. While good for theorycrafting, others have been quick to debunk this as a quirk of the font. A delay in all reality is good – If it means the game will be fully fleshed out, with good modes and cars, while the wait has been agonising it should hopefully be worth it.

The marketing thus far has been extremely casual-focused, honing in on the visuals and large numbers of cars as opposed to the gritty details like physics, mechanics and gameplay, we do know the game will feature multiple new additions like fully dynamic night and day, track surface temperatures and ‘rubbering in’ along with tire compound choices. Let’s just hope we get some more detail when the time is right.

And I beg of you Turn 10, PLEASE get rid of Forza Aero.

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