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Forza Motorsport 4: Week in Review 9/2

Brian Ekberg
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We’re finally into September and nearing the one-month countdown until Forza Motorsport 4 reaches retail store shelves. As you all know we’re waving the green flag on Forza 4 beginning on October 11 and, between now and then, we’re going to have lots of news coming your way. This week is a perfect example—between the announcements of new cars, new tracks, and another in-depth look at the game with creative director Dan Greenawalt, this has been a busy one for sure. Let’s take a quick peek back at the week that was:


Infineon Is Here 


Our newest track for Forza Motorsport 4 was announced today and it’s a doozy. Nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of Northern California, Infineon Raceway boasts a storied racing history coupled with a layout that makes it a favorite of drivers all over the world. I’ve been lucky enough to have been to Infineon several times over the years and the combination of beautiful surrounding scenery, great weather, and incredible on-track action make it one of my personal favorite tracks anywhere. I’m happy to report that it’s just as great in Forza Motorsport 4—from the challenging first corner to the curving back stretch that is comprised of turns 8, 9, and 10, Infineon keeps a driver busy from start to finish. 


If you want to know more about Infineon, you can check out our announcement story, our dedicated entry on our Track page, or watch the awesome new track tour video we created in honor of today’s announcement. For even more Infineon fun, check out “TopGear USA” on HISTORY this weekend, airing on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 10 p.m./9 p.m. CDT. During the episode, show hosts Tanner Foust, Rutledge Wood, and Adam Ferrara travel to Infineon to experience the Lexus LF-A, both in real life and in Forza 4. While Foust tackles the famed course in a real LF-A, Wood and Ferrara take to the virtual version of Infineon in Forza 4, each driving their own LF-A to prove, once and for all, who rules Infineon. Don’t miss it!


JC on the FAV 


Speaking of Top Gear, if you saw this week’s edition of TopGear Tuesday (or if you’ve been paying attention to the Internet), you saw TopGear’s Jeremy Clarkson giving his unique take on Halo’s famed Warthog. What? You missed it? What’s wrong with you?! Watch this, we’ll talk afterwards.



There, now wasn’t that worth it? I wish we had a video camera in the studio when Jeremy was recording this track—the look on his face when describing the “automatic infinitely variable transmission” and the “single unit nano-tube skeleton tires” would have been just short of priceless.


Because so many of you have asked, I can confirm that the Warthog is an Autovista-only experience in Forza 4. Specifically it’s an Easter Egg that will be unlocked once you have completed all of the on-disc Autovista experiences. We got a great response to the Autovista Warthog last weekend at PAX, from Halo fans and Forza fans alike, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the world thinks of this one.


Under the Hood 


This week’s edition of “Under the Hood” (our ongoing interview with Dan Greenawalt about Forza 4) is our longest and most in-depth entry yet. Dan went deep on one of his favorite subjects—car physics—explaining in detail what will make Forza 4’s driving model so spectacular. Specifically, this Under the Hood covers new tire and suspension models; takes a detailed look at the changes that went into the PI system this time around; covers the profile import system (and, more importantly, the rewards that are associated with carrying over your profile from Forza 3 into Forza 4); and brings the final word on night and weather effects in Forza 4. This one is jam-packed folks, so if you haven’t already read it, check it out now.


Next week will be our final “regular” installment of Under the Hood, and Dan will be discussing topics as varied as the AI in Forza 4 to a special feature that will be of particular interest to you photographers out there. Be here next Wednesday for all the details.


In addition, we want to hear your questions for a future edition of “Under the Hood”. Send your Forza 4 questions for Dan to with the subject line “UNDER THE HOOD.” Keep your questions focused on subjects we haven’t yet discussed for the best chance at getting your question answered.


Speaking of answering questions, let me throw it over to Alex now, who wants to talk about some first-hand knowledge he’s had about one of Forza 4’s coolest new cars. Take it away Alex!




Thanks Brian! There’s a car that a couple of our forum users touched upon in their question and so I’m going to combine two questions together here. (For the record, both of you will receive a DVD of Season 1 of TopGear USA—you don’t have to split one!)


Dante3003 mentioned the Tesla in a question about alternate fuel types, and SHARK ATTACK 0 asks: “What car, cost no object, would you like to drive everyday for the next 12 months?”  


As you might have gathered, the answer to both of these questions is the 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport that’s part of the Launch Bonus Ship Pack. Last year, I was lucky enough to spend a few hours in one of these cars (actually, it was the same color as the Tesla on our Cars page!), and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Deep down, I’m kind of old-fashioned—I don’t like a bunch of electronics coming in between myself and the driving experience. So the no-shifting, no gasoline, all-electric Tesla is what I’d choose? Definitely. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a car, period. And I’ve spent time in some fun cars, like the Cadillac CTS-V, BMW M5, and Honda S2000. Initially skeptical of the electric sportscar, I hopped in with my passenger (a British journalist who normally reviews tech stuff) and we hit the road. As soon as a clear stretch of road appeared, I floored it in “sport” mode. Before I realized it, we were exceeding the speed limit—by a lot. I backed off, and then wondered what the strange noise I was hearing was. It was myself and my passenger, laughing hysterically. The Tesla is so much fun it should be illegal. The huge acceleration from the electric motor never got old, and each time the pedal hit the floor we were giggling like children.


Too soon we had to hand the car back to Tesla. Like a little kid at an amusement park, I really didn’t want the ride to end. Sure, it’s a bit cramped inside and the range is a bit limited, but I’m Tesla-sized and have a relatively short commute to Turn 10, so it’d be perfect. Plus it looks great, and the electric motor’s whine (it’s quite but not completely silent) reminded me of the way cars in the future were supposed to sound from when I was a kid—it’s no flying DeLorean, but you get the idea. I also loved that with the windows down, you could blast along a country road and actually hear the birds chirping in the trees.



That last part is interesting, actually, because the quiet-running Tesla was a huge help to Turn 10 in the making of Forza 4. As you can see in these images, we borrowed a Tesla and then attached microphones all over it, getting clean tire sounds—slides, burnouts, you name it. The Tesla had enough power to get the tires to do what the audio guys wanted, without a loud gas motor to intrude on the recording. I thought that was one of the cooler little tidbits about how we were able to find a creative way to make the game even more realistic, so I thought I’d share it with you.



Thanks Alex. As Alex mentioned, if you want to check out more on the Tesla Roadster, and the rest of the cars we announced this week, check out our Thursday Forza Garage Roundup story. Next week, we’re upping the number of cars we announce daily… so prepare your social media readers accordingly.


Starter Cars 


Before we wrap up, let’s reveal today’s cars here in the Week in Review so we can discuss them a bit. Come October 11 when you fire up your console to play Forza 4 for the first time, your first experience will put you right in the thick of the action as you fly around the new Bernese Alps track in the Ferrari 458 Italia—a Forza tradition introduction to the game (and the sweet sounds of that Ferrari V8). After the race, while your heart is still beating fast, you’ll get to choose how to start your career by picking between six “starter cars.” These cars don’t often get the attention they deserve—they don’t have V12s or gullwing doors—but they are the first car you’ll own and be able to drive in career. As the foundation of the Forza experience, then, they’re very important. And really, the skill it takes to compete with one of these cars is huge. The best drivers make it look easy. Here at Turn 10, the community team loves a little rivalry, and while some of us can dust the other guys in, say, a Corvette, it takes real finesse to make a starter car perform to the limit. Maintaining momentum through corners is the key, a tough-to-master skill in its own right. If you think you know something about racing, these little cars may have a few things to teach you.


We’ve already announced one starter car already, the 2011 Ford Ka. The others are the: 



  • 2011 Chevrolet Spark
  • 2011 Citroen C1
  • 2011 Nissan Micra
  • 2011 Peugeot 107
  • 2011 Toyota Aygo
  • 2011 Vauxhall Agila
  • 2011 Volkswagen Fox



Similarly matched, it will take skill and strategy to overcome the competition in the early World Tour races. Likewise, one of the most fun Rivals challenges that the community team has been playing a lot of is one of the Community Monthly events—the Starter Car Open. You’re allowed to modify your cars to the top of the F Class in this event, which leaves a lot of room to tune for some of these cars and not much for others. What you choose to upgrade and how you tune it makes a big difference. Let’s just say that we’re all still learning exactly how to get the most out of the starter cars in this event, and I’m personally excited to see how you guys rock the leaderboard once you get a chance to play. 


A couple of other bits before I close out the week: If you’re a regular forum member, you probably noticed that our new forum look has launched. We’re proud of it and hope you guys are enjoying it to. I nearly forgot how much I missed Xbox LIVE Gamercard appearing on the forum posts *COUGH*…  Anyhow, let us know what you think and if you run into any weirdness, let us know that too as we’re still in the process of fixing things.


Next week: More cool Forza stuff, of course! For those in the US, enjoy your Labor Day weekend. See you next week!