Forza Year In Review - 2020
We can probably all agree that 2020 was quite a year for everyone. With so much going on in the world, we were glad to see that Forza was able to provide everyone with a bit of an escape when needed. We had new Forza Horizon 4 content and a game mode, saw the game optimized for Xbox Series X|S, and celebrated its two-year anniversary. We also brought Forza Motorsport 7 to Game Pass and held some exciting Rivals events with our partners. Plus, this year saw the global launch of Forza Street on mobile platforms.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the year that was 2020.
We kicked off 2020 right with a handful of new cars in Forza Horizon 4’s the Eliminator, plus fan favorite Toyota the AE86 of Initial D fame, and the most requested car in the Wishlist, the 2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante.
Our already fantastic streaming schedule only grew this year, with the addition of our first Spanish-language stream, Forzamingo, hosted by LS Eternitum who joined our regular streaming lineup featuring Alie Tacq, Johniwanna, ShannonMac, and Verena Mei.
We brought Share Codes to the world of Forza Horizon 4 for you to share your best tunes, photos, blueprints and more with your friends easily and quickly. We also delivered a special livery for everyone celebrating Valentine’s Day!
This month also saw the release of the Lexus LFA and the AMR Vulcan Pro, two hugely popular supercars, and the LEGO Bugatti Chiron.
March marked the launch of dedicated Forza Horizon social media channels to bring you the latest updates and events from the Horizon Festival. If you haven’t yet, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
Also, Forza Horizon 4 received a special updated Accessibility Menu, which gives players access to the Colorblind and High Contrast modes for the game, Map filter icons, and everything related to subtitles for the game, like keyword highlighting.
We added Matt Field’s #777 Corvette to Forza Horizon 4, as well as the “Fiorano” Formula Drift Ferrari 599, continuing our partnership with the world of Formula Drift. These machines quickly became favorites of the Forza drifting community. We were also joined by Matt Field on Forza Monthly to check out his car and talk about drifting.
April also saw the return of the Horizon Promo mode, which tasks players with taking pictures of every single car they can find in the game in exchange for rewards and exclusive cars. These cars included the Ferrari Portofino and the Guntherwerks Porsche 911 Carrera 2.
Over on the Forza competitive side, April saw the launch of the Legendary Lap Rivals event. This 6-week Rivals event highlighted some of the top competitors in the 2019 ForzaRC Invitational Series, and let drivers jump into the cars used at the tracks they raced on during the most competitive ForzaRC season ever, for a chance at a spot on the overall leaderboards, and an exclusive livery to boot!
May marked a first for the Forza franchise with the global launch of our first mobile game Forza Street on iOS and Android devices.
Mobile users got the chance to experience a Forza game focused on collecting and upgrading cars to achieve domination on the streets. The game features quick races, deep car customization, and a story mode that tracks the player’s progress as a driver across the streets of Miami. Players can compete against AI opponents in timing-based race challenges or take on Rivals in asynchronous multiplayer.
Themed events are happening all the time in the world of Forza Street. Get the game today!
Also in May, Turn 10 Creative Director Dan Greenawalt participated in a panel discussion on inclusivity in gaming hosted by Game Stack, where he spoke about the philosophies of accessibility and empathy that drive so much of the design decisions in the Forza franchise.
We also had the honor this month of Forza Motorsport 7 serving as the platform for the Special Olympics Virtual Gaming Event hosted by Xbox. Throughout the day we watched intense competition from the athletes, with professional broadcasting courtesy of Alie Tacq and Hannah Newhouse, and a special stadium and green room for players between races and for the awards ceremony built entirely in Minecraft. If you haven’t seen the pure joy and pandemonium that came out of this fantastic event, don’t wait another second.
We supported the Black Lives Matter movement along with the global fight for racial and social justice. We partnered with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and donated proceeds for all Forza game sales on Juneteenth to furthering their mission to “expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans.”
During massive demonstrations all around the world on behalf of this movement, the world also remained mired in a global pandemic. COVID-19 has affected every person on the planet in some way, and the Forza team committed itself to providing relief for those in need during this time, with the #ForzaTogether initiative. This project allowed players to donate Microsoft points earned while playing any current Forza game to worthy causes combatting the deadly COVID-19 virus.
June was also Pride Month and we were lucky enough to celebrate the Forza LGBTQ+ community with a Forza Rainbow Livery on the Pagani Huayra and a Forza Rainbow t-shirt Xbox Avatar.
The biggest month of 2020 for Forza news, July marked the Xbox Games Showcase where we announced an evolution of the Forza Motorsport franchise - Forza Motorsport. We can’t wait to share more details!
Also announced at the Xbox Games Showcase was Forza Horizon 4 coming to the Xbox Series X with an optimized experience created with our friends at Panic Button.
We kicked off an exciting partnership with our friends at McLaren. Host Alie Tacq drove the Horizon Festival with McLaren ambassador and pro driver Bruno Senna in the first episode of Forza X McLaren. The duo raced through landmarks all over the FH4 map, tackled community-created challenges, and even commentated on a race between Brazilian ForzaRC drivers ZooM and Handicap.
You can watch the first episode here, and then check out the second episode with McLaren photographer Patrick Gosling. Check out some of his incredible photo work, follow along as he demonstrates his process, and get some pointers from him and some of the top creators in the Forza photography community on how to elevate your photo mode game.
September marked the two-year anniversary of the launch of Forza Horizon 4 and gave us an opportunity to celebrate the incredible achievements and creativity of our community. It also marked the arrival of another Formula Drift fan favorite with Chris Forsberg’s #64 Nissan 370z, which he joined us to chat about on Forza Monthly.
Also this month, we had the chance to race with Indycar champion Josef Newgarden. Josef laid down a time in Rivals mode in Forza Motorsport 7, and challenged anyone to beat his time. The #TeamJN Bounty Hunter event went for three rounds, and only a handful of folks were able to overtake Josef. The car and track combos for the three rounds were the Team Penske Dallara at Road America, the Camaro ZL1 at Daytona, and the Team Penske Pennzoil Fusion at Long Beach. Anyone who beat Josef’s time got their hands on a custom livery.
If you missed your chance at the throne in the TeamJN event, but still want to take on Josef in Rivals, the Game Pass Cup is running through February, and you can give it your best shot in the first round.
Also in September, our friends at Porsche Great Britain gave players a chance to race in a real world 911 at the Porsche Experience Center at Silverstone by competing in the Porsche Great Britain Forza Experience, racing to set a time against Porsche test driver Harry King. The winner of that event was none other than ForzaRC champion Tobin Leigh!
Throughout the month, our friends at Porsche kept the competitive streak alive, this time for our friends in the Asia Pacific region with the Porsche Asia Pacific Cup. The winner of this event went on to the Porsche Experience Center Hockenheimring in Germany. Through three rounds of intense competition, another ForzaRC stalwart was victorious – congrats to Craviator for coming out on top.
The world of Forza Horizon had a huge addition in October with the Horizon Backstage, an area of the festival where players can pick up hard-to-find cars using Backstage Passes, which can be earned on the seasonal playlist.
Players vote on which cars they want to appear in the Backstage every single week. Hop into the Backstage now to decide what rare car you can grab next!
October also gave us the chance to highlight the incredible work being done by SpecialEffect, a UK-based non-profit organization dedicated to equipping gamers of all levels of disability so that they can play the games they love without barriers or restrictions.
And, finally, we announced that an optimized version of Forza Horizon 4 was coming to Xbox Series S.
With the launch of the Xbox Series X|S, the most powerful Xbox ever, there has never been a better time to play Forza. Both Forza Horizon 3 and Forza Motorsport 7 are backward compatible in full 4K on the Series X, and full HD on the Series S, and Forza Horizon 4 was optimized thanks to our work with our fantastic partner Panic Button Games.
Now, you can enjoy lightning-fast load times, increased draw distances, rock-solid 60 frames-per-second and 4K visuals for Forza Horizon 4 on the Series X and full HD on the Series S. The Festival has never looked – or played – better.
We also saw an extremely cool Forza-inspired series launch on YouTube from our friends at Hoonigan in November – Hoonicorn Vs The World. Ken Block saw how players were pitting his souped-up 1965 Mustang, aka the Hoonicorn, against other cars on the dragstrip in Forza Horizon 4, and decided he wanted to test it IRL. He pit his machine against the likes of the McLaren Senna, the Donkmaster, a 1966 Chevy Nova, and more, and so far the Hoonicorn has come out on top every time. Check out the full series now.
To cap off November, we released the Porsche 911 Reimagined by Singer – DLS, an aerodynamic wonder billed by the folks at Singer as the most advanced air-cooled Porsche ever.
Not to be outdone by the huge launch in November, December was jammed packed with more Forza Horizon surprises than a stocking full of presents.
To kick things off, Forza Street won the Samsung “Best of Galaxy Store Award” for Best Game Graphics, which was a huge honor and a testament to the incredible work of the Street team.
Following that, we launched the Game Pass Cup Rivals event in Forza Motorsport 7, challenging drivers to post their best time against some of the top competitors like Alie Tacq, Josef Newgarden, and LS Eternitum.
At the Horizon Festival, we announced one of the most highly requested cars in Forza history was finally coming – the record-breaking Koenigsegg Jesko, available starting on New Year’s Eve.
If that wasn’t enough, we dropped a huge new game mode with a full route builder and a challenging new gauntlet. We call it the Super7 – a playlist of seven challenges for you to accomplish and climb up the ranks, gaining influence and new cars along the way. The challenge cards for each round of racing are all community built. That’s right – we introduced a Blueprint Builder mode, which allows you to drop ramps, loops, and even dinosaurs on to the map to create challenges anyone can try to beat. Overcome all these obstacles in the challenges set by the community, and you’ll be ready for High Roller mode when it releases in 2021.
But December had one more surprise in store – the Quadra Turbo-R V-TECH arrived at the Horizon Festival, all the way from Cyberpunk 2077’s Night City. We dropped the announcement during the 2020 Game Awards, and made the car available that same night via a race through Edinburgh called _.NIGHTCITY.EXE._
There will be plenty happening in 2021, but we couldn’t let this year end without looking back on the positives of 2020. It was a difficult year in many ways for so many of us – yet the creativity, competitive spirit, and sense of connection within the Forza community have kept us going all year long.
Thank you to all of our community for your support through 2020, and we wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and fun 2021. See you on the road!