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Forza Motorsport 4 Week in Review - 6-24

Brian Ekberg
Friday, June 24, 2011

One busy week behind us, one busier week ahead, and we're one week closer to the release of Forza Motorsport 4! Let's dive into all the action.




While Fred, Javier and our newest community member, Alex Kierstein (more from him below) have been busy on the home-front, I've been spending the past few days on a European adventure of sorts. The goal was to get to the Nürburgring in time for a special announcement connected to the 24 Hours of Nürburgring race being held this weekend at the world famous track. Now, I don't need to tell Forza fanatics what an exciting opportunity it is to visit the Grüne Hölle ("Green Hell"). For racing fans, this is pretty much Mecca--one of the world's longest and most demanding race circuits cut deep into the beautiful Eifel Mountains. And while I reveled at the chance to travel to the race and show off the latest version of Forza Motorsport 4 for fans, I had no idea what an adventure it would be to get here.


The first step to showing off Forza 4 at the Ring is getting there, and so my saga begins in Seattle, where my Icelandair flight to Reykjavik was delayed by something like six hours due to mechanical issues. Now, personally I find it difficult to be upset about delays when it comes to fixing the airplane. After all, consider the alternative if the airline just said "Hey, what the heck, let's give it a shot!" There are plenty of reasons to be surly when it comes to modern air travel, but a company doing its best to ensure its plane actually, you know, arrives at its destination after takeoff isn't one of them.


Eventually we were airborne and heading to Iceland, but the delay meant I'd miss my original connection from Reykjavik to Frankfurt…and there was also the small matter of getting from Frankfurt to Nürburg and to the actual event via car. But, as is so often the case with complicated international trips, I find it best to focus simply on the task at hand, and let the latter parts of the trip handle themselves in due time.


We landed at the surprisingly small Keflavik airport in Reykjavik and, after some wheeling and dealing with the airline, I was told that I would have a flight to Frankfurt after all... one that left at 1 a.m. that evening. That left me with something on the order of eight hours to kill in Iceland's capital city. I was put up in a hotel for the day but, rather than rest I did the only thing my conscience would allow me to do: walk around Reykjavik. After all, odds are I'd probably never visit Iceland again--and that isn't a comment on the city or the country, as I found out that both are beautiful. With the intent of seeing as much as possible in the time I had, I headed to the city center of Reykjavik, my first stop being the famous Hallgrimskirkja--the largest church in all of Iceland. It's an impressive structure, austere and precise, appearing like some sort of massive papercraft structure when viewed from the front.




Though Reykjavik is small by world standards of major cities, there's only so much you can see on foot and, after a few hours of walking around the city, it was getting late and I had to head back to the hotel to prep for my flight. A 1 a.m. flight in the Iceland summer is unique in that, thanks to the constant daylight, it doesn't feel that much different from, say, a flight at 1 p.m. anywhere else in the world. With my circadian rhythms in full "drum solo mode,” I hopped on the plane and did my best to sleep on the connecting flights to Brussels and, eventually, Frankfurt.


Now safely arrived in Germany, it was time for the real fun: driving to the track. Now, I had read about the Autobahn in the past--I'd even been a passenger before on the famous speed-limit-free highways of Germany. However, riding and driving being two completely different things, I wasn't sure how the experience would add up. The short answer, of course, is that driving in Germany has been simultaneously terrifying and completely eye-opening. The latter because it's difficult to acclimate to how fast other cars will zip by you in the left-hand lane. And not just sports cars--though I've seen plenty of BMWs, Mercedes, and Porsches fly by so far. But I've too been passed by elderly people driving vans, young families in their compact cars, and more. But, once you get used to the aggressiveness and the speed, driving on the Autobahn is a complete pleasure, and not just because it takes less time to get from one point to the next. The best part for me is that feeling of really getting to know your car--in my case a compact Mercedes A-class complete with that most important of automotive upgrades: an English-speaking GPS.




As of this writing, I've been in Germany a full day and haven't seen much of the Ring itself, a problem I'll be rectifying throughout the weekend during the 24 Hour race. In addition to making an appearance at BMW's Thursday M-series party, Forza 4 will also be on-hand at the 24 Hour race over the weekend. We've got some special announcements coming for fans on Monday which you absolutely don't want to miss, so check back here then. It promises to be a busy few weeks in Forza Land!


Switching gears a bit, let's turn back to E3 for a moment. E3 2011 is in the books, but Forza 4 made such an impression that the accolades are still rolling in. We mentioned some awards we were presented with in the last WIR, but we're happy to announce that Forza 4 has been named a finalist in the official Game Critics Awards "Best of E3 Awards 2011" nomination for Best Racing Game. The winners will be announced on Tuesday, June 18, but we're confident that the amazing features that we were able to show off for on the showfloor will wow the judges. Let's all keep our fingers crossed on this one, but we'll let you all know on Tuesday if we've won.


That about does it for me, so I'll say tschüs! from Germany and hand it over to Alex to introduce himself:


Hey guys, I’m Alex Kierstein. I’m a writer and automotive journalist from near Seattle. You’ve probably already seen some of my stuff on the site if you’ve been poking around, and so you’re probably wondering who I am. First and foremost, I’ve been a car nut from as far back as I can remember (and then some). My first car was a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 4.9 Turbo … pedal car. I could barely fit in it when I was 3, but I sort of wish I still had it. My current real-life ride is a ’95 Mazda Miata, which is a lot of fun in the twisties, but my favorite car in the world of Forza is probably the Impreza 22B STi. I have serious love for Subarus, and the 22B is about as good as they get. I’d say the GT40 Mk.II is probably my favorite American car in the game; I like to hustle it around the Old Mulsanne Circuit at Le Mans pretending to be Dan Gurney. Just don’t look at my lap times; those skills are a work in progress. I’m absolutely stoked to be working on Forza 4, which is shaping up to be easily the best Forza yet. 


Thanks Alex! Have a question for Brian, want to say hi to Alex, or are you super excited about Forza 4? Tell us about it in the forums...