Forza Motorsport 4: Week in Review 8/26

Brian Ekberg
Friday, August 26, 2011

The sound of revving car engines and squealing tires in Forza 4 mixed with the popping of champagne bottles on Wednesday of this week, as we here at Turn 10 Studios celebrated the submission of Forza Motorsport 4 to Microsoft certification. This is the latest milestone in Forza 4’s long and exciting road to release beginning on October 11, and the cheers of the Turn 10 crew at our all-hands meeting celebrating this event (not to mention the subsequent after-party) have me absolutely primed for the game’s release. 

 

It’s stunning to me that we’re just over a month away from handing over our latest automotive masterpiece to you all. It seems like just yesterday we were in the midst of the long “radio silence” period between when we announced the game in December and when we actually started lifting the veil on the game at E3 2011. 

 

I’ll be honest; it’s a great time to be on the community team here at Turn 10. Not only is the game almost done and we’ll soon be able to actually, you know, PLAY the game with all of you, but we also have the added luxury of being able to discuss the great features that will be part of the game, both to the gaming and automotive press and to you, the Forza Faithful. Last week, I was lucky enough to travel to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to show off Forza 4 in front of a host of Canadian media while, at the same time, we had folks in Cologne, Germany to represent Forza in front of thousands of European game fans at Gamescom 2011. The response has been amazing so far and the lead up to our October launch should be just as action-packed.

 

 

In addition to showing off Forza 4 to the press, we’re also opening up the flood gates to you, the community, with our brand new “Forza Motorsport 4: Under the Hood” series on FM.net. This series of interviews with Turn 10’s Dan Greenawalt is dedicated to answering some of the burning questions you guys have about Forza 4, as well as providing you with in-depth details on the various features that will make Forza 4 such an incredible automotive experience.

 

In this week’s edition of Under the Hood, we take on a variety of topics including detailed looks at features like Rivals mode and car affinity. Next week, we’ll have a brand new edition of “Under the Hood,” full of fresh new Forza 4 information. And, yes, we’re still planning to answer your questions in a future edition of the series. If you have a question about Forza 4 that you’d like to see answered, send us an e-mail to forzafb@microsoft.com with the subject line “UNDER THE HOOD.”

 

We won’t be able to answer all of the questions that come our way but we do read them all. One “pro tip” for those looking to get your question answered: Don’t ask us whether a particular car or track is coming to the game. We’re already announcing cars on a regular basis via Facebook, Twitter, and in our Forza Garage series on FM.net and will be announcing additional tracks soon as well. Keep your questions to game features and you’ll have a much better chance!

 

Forza Garage: Welcome to Drift City 

 

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If you love drifting—and I know many of you do—then I’m guessing you had a field day with this week’s entry in our ongoing Forza Garage series. Not only did we announce the tofu-deliverin’, Mt. Akina-dominatin’ 1985 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT Apex (aka the Eight Six from “Initial D”), we also blew the lids off many a drifter’s dome with the long-awaited (and long-begged-for) announcement of the 1994 Nissan 240SX SE. As our resident community car expert Alex Kierstein wrote in his introduction to the car, “Know this: You can do anything with a 240SX, whether your cup of tea is drifting, circuit racing, dragging, or painting incredible liveries.”

 

So Alex loves the car and, judging by the response to the 240SX’s unveiling, you guys love it too. I can’t wait to see how this one takes off in Forza 4.

 

Introducing the Warthog 

 

The 240SX wasn’t the only special Forza 4 vehicle making its debut this week. If you happen to be at PAX 2011 this coming weekend here in Seattle, you’ll get a chance to see the latest announcement about Forza 4’s Autovista feature—the inclusion of the M12 Force Application Vehicle, or “Warthog” for short. Halo fans have long been in love with the Warthog and now they’ll be able to see a brand new side of this most iconic of vehicles in Forza Motorsport 4’s new Autovista mode. In addition to being able to explore the Warthog, rendered in incredible detail, fans will also be able to check out an interactive Warthog experience narrated by none other than Cortana herself. The Warthog in Forza 4 will be an unlockable, Autovista-only experience.

 

Here’s a sneak peek:

 

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Now onto this week’s Ask Alex segment. Take it away, Alex:


 

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Here’s a good one from forum user “deadlycowpat95,” who asks: “Alex, how do you feel about the death of the rotary engine?” 

 

That’s a great question. For those who haven’t heard, Mazda (the only company in the world who has continued to make Wankel rotary engines for autos) has just ended production of the RX-8 for all markets due to low demand and a failure to meet European emissions standards. As for how I feel about it, it does make me a little sad. Up until the RX-8, I think every Mazda rotary has been phenomenal, despite their drawbacks. Rotaries make a lot of power for their size and weight, but the tradeoff is high fuel and oil consumption—which Mazda has made great strides to address, but haven’t completely solved. In fact, that Mazda basically saved a technology that would have otherwise died out, and did so alone, deserves some real credit.

 

However, in this era of expensive gas, and with direct injection and turbocharging making regular piston engines so powerful and efficient, I do question the need for a rotary—as much as I irrationally like them, they don’t make sense right now for most people when better options are out there. And the middling RX-8 was, in my opinion, a poor follow-up to the RX-7, which were fast, powerful, and good-looking. (FM3 has both the RX-8 and several RX-7 models, so you can make your own mind up which is better!) 

 

So those are a few of the reasons why I’m not surprised the RX-8 is being phased out. But Mazda’s invested serious money in the technology over the years, so I’d be surprised if the rotary is actually dead for keeps. Don’t bet any money on my prediction, but I think if the rotary is going to return, it will need to be burning either CNG or hydrogen to make it worth Mazda’s while.

 


 

An Old Friend Returns 

 

Last week we promised the return of a favorite track in Forza 4 and today we unveil it: the classic Maple Valley track is returning to Forza 4! Long a fan of racers and drifters alike, the gorgeous track tucked in the New England hills is coming to Forza 4 with a few cosmetic upgrades and the same high-speed action you’ve come to expect. Here’s Alex with more on the track:

 

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One of the most beautiful and enduring circuits in the Forza franchise, Maple Valley is a deceptively challenging course that has something to offer for racers, photographers, and drifters of every level. Set in the fictional woods of Maple Valley in New England, the course is a showcase of natural beauty and history—don’t miss the brand-new covered bridge, sure to become a hotspot for photographers looking to capture the perfect images of their Forza rides. For racers, the initial experience of the sweeping turns and gentle elevation changes provides an enjoyable place to build skills, but many of the course’s corners—particularly the downhill segments—will provide a true test of nerves as perfect braking and turn in are required to master them. The narrow course also has few places to pass, so racing strategy is paramount—pick your overtaking spot wisely. More than anything else, Maple Valley is one of the most fluid courses around, with a flow that results in a high average speed. That also makes the course, especially the short variant, perfect for drifting as well. Regardless of what you want to do on-track at Maple Valley, the stunning colors of the fall leaves are the perfect backdrop.

 

So, needless to say, it’s been a heck of a week here at Turn 10 HQ. Next week we’ll have more news, more car announcements, another edition of Under the Hood, and, well, more cool stuff! See you then! 


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