Forza Motorsport 4 Week In Review - 6/10
Wow. What a week. What an exhilarating, thrilling, fantastic, awesome, exhausting, incredible week for Turn 10 Studios and Forza Motorsport 4. The 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo has come and gone, and the world now knows exactly what Forza Motorsport 4 is all about. And it feels fantastic!
Before we get to the mega-recap of this week’s events, let’s take a look at a few of the comments coming from the press after getting their hands on Forza Motorsport 4 for the first time:
“Forza Motorsport 4 is currently scheduled for release in October, and based on what we saw of it today, it promises to improve upon its predecessor in more ways than any of us could reasonably have expected.” – GameSpot
“On October 11th, when Forza Motorsport 4 is released for Xbox 360 [Turn 10 is] setting their sights higher — creating the next generation of car enthusiasts.” – Jalopnik
And here are a select handful of the thousands of comments we’ve seen from the community this week:
“The more I see and read about Forza 4, the more I want it, but really they had me at ‘Forza’.”
“FM4's Kinect integration is seriously tempting me to buy a Kinect. Headtracking + showroom = wow!”
Comments like these, on top of the overwhelmingly positive reception we’ve already gotten, are like music to the ears of those of us here at Turn 10. The team here has worked incredibly hard over the years to expertly hone our game and get it ready for primetime. To see the game “in the wild” of E3, and the smiles on people’s faces after they spend time experiencing all the new features we’re so proud of, is incredibly satisfying. And we can’t wait to tell you more about the game in the coming months! But, before we look towards the future, let’s take a look at the Week that Was here in Forza 4 land with a blow-by-blow recap of all the action from E3 2011.
Monday, June 6
Of course, while E3 begins for the general public with the Microsoft Press Briefing on Monday morning, Turn 10 staff had been in Los Angeles all weekend long preparing for the Forza 4 stage reveal during the press briefing and setting up the Forza booth on the show floor.
Roughly midway through the MS Press Briefing, Turn 10’s creative director Dan Greenawalt walked on stage and presented our vision for the future of automotive entertainment. For Turn 10, Forza 4 represents not just the best of what a racing game can be right now, but also a look at where the genre is heading in the future. With innovative features like Autovista, powered by Kinect, we’re proud to be forging ahead and shattering people’s notions of what they should expect from a racing game.
After his introduction, Dan introduced Forza 4’s stunning E3 stage demo. Set to musical stylings of Kanye West’s “Power”, the demo provided a mighty preview of what fans can expect from Forza 4, as well as some of the most incredible graphics yet seen on the Xbox 360 (or any other console, for that matter). It’s worth repeating that everything that you saw in that trailer was 100 percent in-game footage. No CG, no bull-shots—that was all in-engine and absolutely real.
With the thrill of the press conference done, we set our sights on the first big evening event of the week: the Microsoft E3 judges event. This event—held at the Conga Room in downtown L.A.—served as a chance for the press to get up close and personal with Microsoft’s latest and greatest games, with Forza 4 front and center. I had the personal pleasure of manning our awesome hydraulic driving sled, which in my opinion is the ultimate way to play Forza 4 because every bump, turn and crash is felt in incredible detail. While the judge’s event is meant for press, it was by no means a quiet affair. I was happy to note a full line of fans waiting to take a ride in Forza 4—including plenty of repeat visitors eager to take another lap of our brand new Bernese Alps course.
Tuesday, June 7
Tuesday arrived along with the launch of our brand new website: forzamotorsport.net. Regular visitors to FM.net know that we launched a new version of the site with the previous version of the game. For the Forza 4 site, we wanted to bring Forza fans closer to the game than ever before, with big gorgeous images and lots of great news and information. If you’re a new Forza fan, you can check out the dedicated “Forza Motorsport 4” page for all the information you need to know; if you’re an FM.net regular you can hit the forums or check out the News page; and if you’re interested in pre-ordering the game, well, we’ve got you covered there too—just hop over to the Pre-Order page to reserve your copy.
Over the coming months we’ll be introducing upgrades to the new and improved FM.net, features that will let you experience Forza 4 in brand-new ways, so stay tuned!
Tuesday not only marked the debut of the new site, it also brought the opening of the E3 show floor, where show attendees could check out a number of unique ways to experience Forza 4. In addition to a row of traditional controller setups, fans could try out our hydraulic racing rig, as well as a pair of sleds demonstrating the Kinect-powered headtracking feature. All of the driving sleds featured our just-announced Forza-branded wheels from Fanatec, just two examples of new wheels that will be fully compatible with Forza 4. You can read more about the new wheels for Forza 4 here.
In addition, Turn 10 also operated a Kinect pod, where attendees could try out Forza 4’s brand new Autovista feature for themselves. We’re incredibly proud of Autovista—not only does it show off the finest cars in the world rendered in an unprecedented level of graphical detail, we also think of it as an entirely new way to experience cars. From the intuitive Kinect controls to the inclusion of Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson during the voiceover sections, Autovista is truly like nothing else you’ve ever seen in a racing game.
A long day of demo-ing and interacting with Forza fans ended on Tuesday evening with a well-deserved staff dinner at a local steakhouse. There was much merriment and many enthusiastic shouts of “Forzaaaa!” at the table. I think there might also have been alcohol served…
Wednedsay, June 8
Welcome to Wednesday, the longest day of E3 for the Turn 10 crew. The day started early, with the E3 show floor opening up earlier than normal. The crew spent a long day doing interviews with press outlets from all over the world and demo-ing the game in all its different flavors to a huge crowd of eager Forza fans.
Our E3 demo included three distinct cars: the 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator, the 2011 Subaru WRX STI, and the Ferrari 599 GTO. All of the cars were driven on individual ribbons of our Bernese Alps track, so depending on the car you drove you could experience three of the different layouts of the track.
As you can imagine, each of these cars handles completely differently from one another and it was interesting to watch people’s reactions to the different handling. I watched as seasoned Forza veterans feathered the 599 GTO in careful drifts around the Alps track’s final corner with all of the assists turned off, only to be followed by a Forza newb who might have never driven a racing game before in his or her life. The best part? Thanks to Forza 4’s huge variety of difficulty level and assist settings, practically everyone who played the game left with a huge smile on their face, regardless of their individual skill level.
Once the show floor closed at 6 p.m., the Turn 10 crew headed over to the LA Live Event Garage to attend what was undoubtedly the best party of the week. You can check out my full recap of the Forza Motorsport 4 E3 party here but suffice it to say, between celebrity appearances by UFC legend Rampage Jackson, a bevy of incredible cars on hand (more than $5 million worth of automotive finery, in fact) and the debut of the Top Gear Test Track (and the KIA cee’d!), this event was absolutely unreal.
For another view on the Forza 4 party, this time from community member Six64Four, who was in attendance, check out his awesome recap and pictures thread in our forums here.
Thursday, June 9
When I arrived to the booth this morning, the first thing I noticed was our hydraulic sled. Over the course of the week, we’ve been posting up our E3 award nominations on the twin pylons that sit at the back of the sled. Our first nomination rolled in on Tuesday (from IGN) and, two days later, we barely had any room left on the hydraulic sled’s huge posts for any more awards. We’ll have a full recap of all the E3 awards Forza 4 managed to snag during E3 soon but, as of this writing, we had more than ten “Best of E3” or “Best Racing Game” nominations and at least two “Best Racing Game” awards (from GamePro and Electric Playground).
From a personal standpoint, those awards and nominations are an incredible reminder that I work with the most talented and dedicated game developers in the world. Being in the lucky position of seeing Forza 4 every day, it’s easy to sometimes lose sight of just what an incredible experience we are building. That’s why I loved E3 2011 so much—to watch Forza fans from all over the world waiting in long lines just to see, touch, and play the game for a few minutes, and to leave the game with huge smiles on their faces—is a wonderful, inspiring, and rejuvenating feeling. We’ve still got a long way to go, and more post-E3 polishing before we’re ready to release Forza 4 beginning on October 11 but the future is looking bright indeed and we can’t wait to share more with you soon.
In the coming months, look for lots more information on Forza 4. In the meantime, let me turn it over to you: What was your favorite Forza Motorsport 4 announcement/feature/memory from E3 2011? Let us know in the FM.net forums here. See you next week!