Forza Motorsport 4: Week in Review 10/7

Brian Ekberg
Friday, October 07, 2011

Here it is: the final Week in Review blog before the release of Forza Motorsport 4. Next week, we’ll go from talking about the game’s features and riding that giddy wave of pre-release anticipation and into talking about our shared experience of owning and playing this year’s biggest racing game. That will be a sweet transition indeed and I can’t wait to hear what the Forza Faithful think of the Forza Motorsport 4 once it’s finally in your collective hands.

 

FM4_Still_Cali_2

 

So while I want to look at the week that was in Forza Motorsport, I also want to give you a peak at what we’ve got coming up next week and beyond for the community. Once the game launches, we’ll have lots of ways of interacting with you, and lots of ways for fans to show off their latest creations in the game.

 

First up, however, let’s talk reviews. The review embargo for Forza Motorsport 4 ended at midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning and, ever since, we’ve been hit by a wave of amazing critical response to the game. Yesterday we posted highlights from the first batch of reviews; here’s a few more to get you fired up for launch day:

 

 

  • “The key here is that Turn 10 realises how broad the appeal of the driving sim genre is and has designed a game that seamlessly and organically allows you to get exactly what you want out of it.” – NowGamer 9.5/10
  • “As Ars Technica's resident petrol head, it's no secret that I've been eagerly anticipating getting my hands on Forza Motorsport 4, the latest installment of Microsoft's marquee racing game for the Xbox 360. Ever since Sony finally shipped Gran Turismo 5, console racing fans have been waiting to see how Turn 10, Forza's developers, would respond. From where I'm sitting, it's clear that there really is a new king in town.” – Ars Technica 
  • “Put them all together, and you have the ultimate automotive playground. A place where car buffs can come together and enjoy virtually every aspect of car culture you can think of – and engage in fierce, beautifully articulated competition. It’s a remarkable achievement, and the reason why Forza 4 accelerates down the final straight and leaves Gran Turismo 5 eating its dust, crossing the finish line as the best racing game in the world today, tomorrow, and probably for the next few years.” – GamePro 5/5
  • “The whole deal is wildly addictive for car lovers. I cracked open Forza Motorsport 4 at about 7 p.m., but it wasn't until 5 a.m. that I finally shut it down for the night--and that's before I dug into the multiplayer aspects of the online racing, the Rivals mode, buying user content in the online Auction House, and joining a virtual car club.” – CNET 

 

 

And there are more out there now and more again to come. As you can probably guess, we’re elated with the critical response Forza 4 has received so far. 

 

The next step, of course, is playing the game with all of you. To that end, here’s what you need to know about what’s happening with the launch of Forza 4 and how you can get involved with us and with each other:

 

Community Monthly Rivals Channel 

 

As we explained in a recent Under the Hood, Rivals Mode will be split into seven distinct channels in the game, covering a wide variety of motorsports disciplines: from drifting to hot laps, and more. We will also have a channel devoted to an ever-changing lineup of Rivals Mode events. Dubbed the “Community Monthly” channel, this channel will be swapped with new events on a monthly basis. Here’s the “Community Monthly” Rivals Mode events that will ship with the game:

 

 

  • Starter Car Open – Defeat your rival in this F-Class City Car challenge on the TopGear Test Track.
  • Infineon Stock Car – Defeat your rival at Infineon Raceway while driving an American Stock Car.
  • Infineon ¼ Drag – May the fastest car win. Drag racing puts you against your rival on a drag strip. Lay down rubber and cross the line first for a bounty. Garage cars and tuning setups are allowed within restrictions.
  • Nürburgring GP Fast Pass – Race a rival around the Nürburgring Grand Prix Circuit while avoiding slower traffic. This event is open to all R3-class production cars. Tuning setups are allowed within restrictions.

 

 

We’ll be switching out these Rivals Mode events in November with a new batch—stay tuned for more details on those soon.

 

Turn 10 Select Hoppers 

 

Much like Rivals Mode new variety of events, we’ll have a new set of hoppers coming your way in Forza 4. In addition to a full set of hoppers in categories like Circuit, The Playground, and more, we’re also returning with the Turn 10 Select hoppers, which will be built by the community team and switched out on a regular basis. Here’s the Turn 10 Select hoppers you’ll find when the game launches:

 

Cycled Production – The ultimate test of driving skill. All drivers use the same car; the car and track changes with each race. Only the best can succeed. No upgrades or tuning allowed. Here’s the full list of cars and track combinations in the first round of Cycled Production:

 

Track Class Car
LagunaSeca A 1984 Ferrari GTO
SunsetClub S 2010 Saleen S5S Raptor
RoadAtlantaClub B 2003 BMW M5 E39
SilverstoneGP S 1993 McLaren F1
SilverstoneNat C 1977 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
RingFull R3 2009 Audi R8 LMS Show Car
RingGPShort B 2010 Renault Megane RS 250
MugelloFull A 2009 Lotus 2-Eleven
MugelloClub C 1968 Ferrari 365 GTB/4
SuzukaFull S 2010 Nissan GT-R SpecV
SuzukaEast E 1989 Toyota MR2 SC
SebringClub C 1956 Jaguar D-Type
TwinRingMotegiEast D 1988 Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R
MapleValleyShortR E 1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata
CatalunyaGP S 1999 Lamborghini Diablo GTR
CatalunyaSchool D 2011 Citroen DS3
AmalfiR F 2011 Chevrolet Volt
SedonaClub D 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS 409
CaminoShort C 1992 GMC Syclone
CaminoFullR C 1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth
LaderaFullR E 1973 BMW 2002 Turbo
IberianFullR D 1957 Ford Thunderbird
TopGearFull F 2002 Suzuki Liana GLX
TopGearLoop B 1999 Lotus Elise Series 1 Sport 190
IndyGP A 2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
AlpsStadtplatz B 2010 Ford Shelby GT500
AlpsFestivalR R3 2009 Pagani Zonda Cinque
HockenheimNational A 2010 Audi TT RS Coupe
HockenheimShort A 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series
InfineonIRL S 2010 Lexus LF-A

 

City Car Shootout – Great drivers can make the most humble cars into fearsome racers. The most competitive cars will be modified to the top of E Class, so pick a tune and test your mettle. 

 

In addition to these, we’ll also have specialized Car Soccer and Cat & Mouse hoppers debuting in the Turn 10 Select hoppers.

 

Message Center 

 

The message center in Forza Motorsport will be your in-game home for everything happening in the Forza Motorsport community. In addition to receiving Rivals Mode challenges from your Xbox LIVE friends here, you’ll also get notices about your Car Club (such as when someone shares a car in the club garage), storefront updates, as well as the latest news about upcoming community events, summary articles from FM.net, and more. 

 

FM.net Forums 

 

Most of you already know about the FM.net forums already but I do want to let you know that, upon launch of Forza Motorsport 4, we’ll be making some changes to the forums. We’ll be condensing most of the Forza Motorsport 3 forums and creating a bunch of new sub-categories underneath the Forza Motorsport 4 Discussion category. Look for those changes next week.

 

Community Calendar 

 

By now, you’ve probably seen our Community Calendar on FM.net, which features a rundown of many of the upcoming events we’ve got planned in the Forza community. Beyond all of the different ways we have to connect with you in-game, we’ll be updating the calendar regularly with new events and, eventually, community contests. Next week we’re planning on the kickoff for our very first Forza 4 photo contest, community events, contests and more. 

 

To celebrate the launch of Forza 4, we’ll be hosting a couple of Game With Turn 10 events next week.  The first will be on Wednesday, Oct. 12 from 4-6 p.m. PDT. For more information on how to take part, pay attention to the official Forza Motorsport Facebook page. If you aren’t a fan yet, be sure and “like” us on Facebook so you can stay up to date with updates like this, and take part in our official contests.

 

Our Community Calendar will be updated on Tuesday with that week’s events.

 

 

Pre-Order Incentive Program Ending on Thursday! 

 

There’s just a few days left for you to get in on our Forza Motorsport 4 Pre-Order Incentive Program! After Thursday,  Oct. 13, we won’t be taking any more e-mails from those who have pre-ordered, so if you’re interested in getting your pre-order incentive cars, make sure you get us your information before then. Remember, all you need to do to get involved is send us a copy of your pre-order receipt to forza_preorder@microsoft.com. Please write your Xbox LIVE Gamertag on the receipt and include your Gamertag in the subject line of the e-mail. That’s all there is to it!

 

 

So there you go. Next week promises to be a busy one as we finally get the game to you, our fans. I can’t wait to see what you all have to say about it. See on the forums, on the Web, and elsewhere!

 

Before I sign off for the weekend, I wanted to share one community-related story with you all. As many of you know, last weekend we kicked off the release of Forza Motorsport 4 with a launch party at the Petit Le Mans held at Road Atlanta this past weekend. We invited a select number of Forza Faithful to our launch party to try out the game for the first time, enjoy the race, hang out with Turn 10 and basically have a good time. Here’s a report from the party from our very own community VIP Don Ente:  

  

LaunchParty_1

 

FM4 Launch Party at Petit Le Mans 

 

I was one of the lucky few invited to attend the FM4 Launch Party during the final ALMS race of the season, the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

 

Instead of going on and on about the setup, the game, the cool SimCraft "racing pods," etc., I'd like to relate my experience on a little more personalized level—particularly my interaction with the Turn 10 staff.

 

LaunchParty_2

 

I arrived at the track just after 10:00 AM. Driving into the infield took me right past the FM4 launch party tent—they had a very visible location—and I could see people milling about. Parked the car, took a walk over, and ducked inside.

People were still getting everything set up, and I spied Dan Greenawalt. So I walked up and introduced myself. I could see that everyone was very busy, and I had no doubt that Turn 10 would have meetings and press conferences lined up, so I was fully prepared for Dan's response of:

 

"Sorry, can't talk. The launch party is from 4 to 8 p.m. Come back then."

 

Except... that isn't what he said. That isn't AT ALL what he said.

 

LaunchParty_3

 

Instead, Dan said hello and introduced me to the other Turn 10 executives. He asked if I had received an early access "green disc," and when I said yes he asked me what I thought. And so we talked. And we talked. And we talked some more. We talked about the game, about the graphics, about the physics, about the community... we talked about cars, about racing, about driving experiences. Anyone who knows me from the forums or the game knows that I'm a big fan of Forza, but since nothing can be perfect for everyone—certainly not something as complex as a video game—I had a few critical comments as well. Dan wanted to hear those comments too, and we discussed them in depth.

 

I chatted for a bit with a couple of the other Turn 10 guys, and then headed off—I had other people to meet with, and, yes, they had press and other meetings as well.

 

Back over to the FM4 tent at 4:00 for the launch party. Met a few fellow Forza players. Tried out the SimCraft racing pods. And spent a lot more time talking.

 

I happen to have a few contacts in racing, and I thought hey, maybe I could make some introductions, facilitate some new contacts, become a "valuable asset" to the Forza franchise.

 

First try... I have a friend who works with one of the racing teams that would be running the next day. Well, they already knew the team, which shouldn't have been a big surprise since their liveried car is already in FM4. Hmmm... not much help there—strike one.

 

OK, second try... I'm tangentially involved with a new car that was introduced two weeks prior at the Laguna Seca ALMS race. Figured if I could get them together, maybe I'd be a help in leading to down-the-road DLC. D'oh! Turns out, they've already had a long discussion with the guys behind the car. So much for *my* assistance—strike two.

 

On Saturday—race day—my wife came along and we were out at the track early. Took a quick look around the mostly empty FM4 tent (grid-walk was going on), and headed off to visit friends and watch the start of the race.

 

LaunchParty_4

 

We had been given passes to the hospitality suite of a major auto manufacturer that is heavily involved in racing, so we dropped in there for lunch. After a bit, in walk the Turn 10 guys. We're talking for a bit, and I see a friend of mine (who is a relatively high-level exec with this manufacturer) up from Miami for the race. He comes over to say hi. Great, this will be my third try at making connections. As I start to introduce him to the Turn 10 guys, they're already shaking hands and exchanging greetings of "Hey, nice to see you again. How've you been?" Gah!!! Apparently, Turn 10 staffers know *everybody* in the motorsports world! And that's strike three, so I guess I'm out :(

 

The race was being shown on a couple big TVs in the suite, and I was able to spend quite a bit more time talking with the Turn 10 guys.

 

Now, it seems to be a popular activity around the forums to claim that Turn 10 doesn't listen to the community and that they don't pay attention to what's going on around here... but after a couple hours of conversation over the weekend, I can tell you that is absolutely NOT the case. No topic was off-limits—and I touched on a LOT of them. Everything I brought up was recognized and responded to. Clearly, Turn 10 is aware of, and has discussed internally, everything the community talks about.

 

Overall, the weekend was a blast. The racing was great, the FM4 launch party was cool, and I came away *very* impressed by Dan and the rest of the Turn 10 crew.

 

Thanks guys!!!

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Thanks for the great story Don! See you all next week online!