Forza Year in Review – 2021

Alan Walsh
Wednesday, December 22, 2021

 

Welcome to the 2021 Forza Year in Review! It’s been an incredible year for the Forza franchise. We invited players on the greatest open world driving adventure yet in Forza Horizon 5 and introduced them to the striking contrast and beauty of Mexico.

 

In this blog, we’re closing out 2021 by celebrating the last 12 months of Forza! In addition to Forza Horizon 5, we’ll share highlights from Forza Horizon 4, Forza Motorsport and Forza Street. Buckle up!

 

Forza Community Stats

 

If these stats are anything to go by, the Forza community was incredibly busy in 2021. From racing on-track in Forza Motorsport, to embarking upon the open world fun of Forza Horizon, and hitting the asphalt in Forza Street. Here’s a fun look at what players have been up to:

 

  • 3 trillion hours driven on the track and open road. How has your fuel not depleted yet?
  • 1.8 billion races completed. That’s a lot of trophies in the cabinet.
  • 2 billion cars owned. Now that’s a seriously impressive collection of cars.

 

Below are the five most popular cars in each title based on their race count:

 

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Motorsport 7

Forza Street

2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STi

1994 Hoonigan Ford Escort RS Cosworth WRC “Cossie V2”

2017 Renault R.S.17

2015 Ford Mustang GT

2015 Audi TTS Coupé

2011 Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Forza Edition

2015 Mercedes-Benz #24 Tankpool24 Racing Truck

2016 BMW M4 GTS

2016 Jeep Trailcat

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupé

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

2014 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4

2020 Toyota GR Supra

2014 Audi #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports R8 LMS ultra

1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302

2016 Lamborghini Centenario LP 770-4

2018 McLaren Senna

2018 Audi #1 Audi Sport RS 3 LMS

2017 Ford GT

 

These stats encompass Forza Horizon 5, Forza Horizon 4, Forza Motorsport 7, and Forza Street.

 

Forza Horizon 4

 

In March, the Forza franchise debuted on a new platform with Forza Horizon 4 on Steam. It was incredible to welcome an entirely new community to beautiful, historic Britain and we’re grateful to our long-standing Forza fans for helping them get acquainted.

 

Forza Horizon 4 introduced new diecast toy models through the Hot Wheels Legends Car Pack. With six custom-built cars from the international Hot Wheels Legends Tour – including the 2018 and 2019 winners – this pack has something for everyone. I was especially fond of the 2018 Hot Wheels 2Jetz, due to its unique form factor that perfectly encapsulates the 50-year legacy of Hot Wheels.

 

 

Super7 evolved with a new High Stakes mode that increased both the risk and reward. Players can bank their prizes after successfully completing each custom player-created challenge, but the further you go, the better the rewards. Losing all your lives has you forfeit everything. Whether you hold your nerve and win it all or quit while you’re ahead, you’d be remiss to leave empty handed.

 

We also introduced new cars to Forza Horizon 4’s Festival Playlist throughout the year, including the 1975 Citroën DS 23, the 2018 Saleen S1 and the 2017 VUHL 05RR – a lightweight sports car from Mexico that arrived just in time for Forza Horizon 5. My personal highlight from the lot? The 2007 Peugeot 207 Super 2000, which finally made its triumphant rally return to the Forza franchise.

 

 

This summer capped three years of monthly new Forza Horizon 4 content updates with Series 37. It’s true, seasons really do change everything! To ensure each week continues to be a fun experience for new and returning players, the Festival Playlist serves a remix of classic events and rewards. It’s an impressive highlight reel of everything that’s been added to the game since it launched in fall 2018.

 

Forza Horizon 5

 

During June’s Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2021, we unveiled the next eagerly awaited installment in Forza Horizon. Forza Horizon 5 introduced players to the vibrant, ever-evolving landscapes of Mexico and with seven minutes of gameplay, we highlighted story-driven Expeditions, the cooperative fun of Horizon Arcade and the creative possibilities of EventLab all set within Horizon’s largest and most diverse open world ever.

 

 

To dive further into the new features of Forza Horizon 5, we kicked off a brand-new livestream series titled Let's ¡Go! These biweekly broadcasts explored numerous aspects of the game including its skies and lighting, upgrades to car audio and customization, the biomes of Mexico, the Horizon Adventure campaign and multiplayer modes, as well as hours of never-before-seen gameplay. We even unveiled the 2020 Toyota GR Supra and the 1982 DeLorean DMC-12 live on air! Kudos to the teams who pulled together these livestreams biweekly from announce through launch.

 

In August, during the gamescom 2021 Xbox Stream, we unveiled our Forza Horizon 5 cover cars – the Mercedes-AMG ONE and the 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands, the opening moments of gameplay called the Initial Drive and the Xbox Wireless Controller – Forza Horizon 5 Limited Edition.

 

 

We collaborated with local artists such as Farid Rueda, Star27 and Raul Urias to produce bespoke murals for Forza Horizon 5. We also teamed up with actor Xolo Maridueña to create a Dia de los Muertos livery for the Corvette C8. It wouldn’t be a Horizon Festival without great music and to celebrate the authentic, diverse sounds of Forza Horizon 5, we shared Spotify playlists for each radio station and uploaded the game’s original compositions to our YouTube channel.

 

Adventure and fun times await in “The Getaway Driver,” a live-action trailer starring Cristo Fernández and Karol G that we debuted ahead of Forza Horizon 5’s release to celebrate its limitless fun driving action. We also teamed up with Sergio Perez to bring his Piñata challenge to life in both the real world and in Super7. As a symbol of tradition, piñatas represent moments of celebration with family and friends through their color, passion, and happiness.

 

 

Forza Horizon 5 also made great strides in accessibility with the inclusion of colorblind modes, game speed modification and the full customization over subtitles and text size. We’re also working on ASL/BSL support for a future update. Stay tuned for more details and visit Forza Support to discover how we’ve made Forza Horizon 5 inclusive, accessible, and customizable for everyone.

 

It was incredibly exciting for us to experience the launch of Forza Horizon 5 with our players. Thanks to everyone who has supported the game, we saw 10 million players in one week to make it the biggest launch in Xbox history. It’s been an incredible honor for us to share the rich culture and history of Mexico to the entire world.

 

 

If you’ve yet to explore Forza Horizon 5, it’s the perfect time to get started as the holiday season has arrived in Mexico with smashable snowmen, present collectibles, and an ice rink stadium! The Series 2 Update also introduced Secret Santa. Simply visit the holiday market in Mulegé and you might just find a present with your name on it. Pay it forward and help unlock the timely Santa Suit and the beloved 1962 Peel P50 for everyone by donating items acquired from the Forzathon Shop.

 

At the start of December, we shared a blog post outlining some pressing issues being encountered by both our players and game developers. Shortly thereafter, we released a new Forza Horizon 5 update and hotfix addressing numerous issues ranging from multiplayer to general game stability. We’re pleased with the results so far, but we continue to pay close attention to your feedback as we develop new fixes and improvements for future updates.

 

Forza Motorsport

 

2021 also marked an incredibly important milestone for Forza Motorsport – we hosted our first ever external playtests with select players in May and August, respectively. We’re grateful to everyone for their participation and helping us with this new approach to development as we test and refine core game features. The feedback you’ve shared with us is invaluable, and it’ll make the Forza Motorsport experience better for everyone.

 

Appearing on Forza Monthly throughout the year, Creative Director Chris Esaki shared the latest updates from our playtesting efforts and dove deep into the Motorsport multiplayer experience, car and track physics, and race strategy.

 

 

We are taking what has made Forza Motorsport great over the past 15 years and pairing it with new game concepts and new technologies. Our physics simulation is key to this experience, and they’ve taken a generational leap, with more changes from FM7 to now than all the changes we made from FM4 through FM7. Here’s some of the notable improvements our team has been working on:

 

  • Our tire collision model now has 48 times more fidelity. Previously, it had a single point of contact with the track surface and moved at 60 cycles per second. Our new model has eight points of contact with the track surface and is running at 360 cycles per second!
  • We’ve introduced hard, medium, and soft tire compounds and we’re looking to expand this overtime. Each compound has its own grip and wear characteristics. As part of race strategy, you’ll be able to change tire compounds and refuel when pitting.
  • Kerbs, which were somewhat coarse and unsettling, can now be approached with confidence. They feel smooth and natural to drive over as tires feel the road and feel the undulations in the kerb.
  • Players will need to adapt to environmental factors and how they change the gameplay to make every lap feel different. For instance, we’re working on track temperature and how that affects tire characteristics such as grip, pressure, and wear.
  • We’re creating a realistic simulation of real-world suspension that will be responsive and aligned with player expectations while retaining the “Forza feel” you know and love.

 

You’ve asked for deeper, more authentic multiplayer racing, and we set out to make that a reality in this new Forza Motorsport with a focus on growing skills and building communities. The structure of what we’ve been testing with the community is essentially a race weekend, featuring Open Practice, Qualifying and a Featured Race with a calendar of both active and upcoming events taking place around the world.

 

What happens on the track with our testers is some of the best feedback we can get and that’s why we’ve had community organizers such as TORA involved. With all the changes to tire compounds, tire wear and fuel, we’re also doubling down on endurance racing. In our last playtest, we had an Open Practice and Qualifying event up for hours. Players could practice and qualify when it most convenient for them, then leave and return for the main event.

 

 

This new approach to endurance racing provides us with unique scenarios to experiment with. For example, we can create qualifiers during the week and host the Featured Race on the weekend, or alternatively, qualify during the day and race at night.

 

We also want to help players unlock their fastest self through a new corner mastery system in Open Practice. It’s designed to better focus your practice sessions on the real tricky areas of the track like double apexes – we consider those your “enemies.” We’re shaping this corner mastery system into something more social and connected that goes beyond simple per track leaderboards and instead creates an experience where players compete and compare corner scores in real time.

 

We’ll have more to share about Forza Motorsport in the new year; stay tuned. In the meantime, our team is constantly experimenting and to reiterate, what we’ve been testing in 2021 is nowhere near final. We’ll continue to test as needed because we know how crucial the online racing experience is to our community and for us, it’s just as important to get this right.

 

Forza Motorsport 7

 

Let’s shift gears to Forza Motorsport 7. Over the year, we hosted frequent Rivals events to give players new opportunities to unlock rare and highly sought Driver Gear outfits as well as unique car liveries – including a pair inspired by our Forza Horizon 5 cover cars.

 

 

While Forza Motorsport 7 is now a legacy title and unavailable for sale, we’re continuing to release new Rivals challenges for our community. In addition to fun surprises and exclusive rewards, we also honoured the legacy of two late motorsport legends – Sabine Schmitz and Bob Bondurant who both received their own Rivals tributes as a celebration of their extraordinary contributions to racing.

 

In time for the holidays, we hosted the Forza Ugly Sweater Party! This Rivals event invited players to set their best times on the Bernese Alps Club Circuit driving a Dodge Viper ACR. Participants were sent the elusive Ugly Sweater Driver Gear and an accompanying Ugly Sweater livery for the Viper ACR. The fastest drivers in the top 40% also received 500,000 in-game credits!

 

Alternatively, if you’re looking to compete in community organized events, Alie Tacq provides the latest esports news and updates all-year around on Forza Monthly. It’s the best way to get involved in sanctioned racing and tournaments, so don’t miss out.

 

 

Finally, in collaboration with Xbox, the Special Olympics featured Forza Motorsport 7 in their inaugural ‘Gaming for Inclusion’ Tournament. We’re honoured to have been a part of this event and would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who participated. The competition was intense!

 

Forza Street

 

The Forza Street team continued to celebrate car culture with new themed showdown updates, from Aston Martin and Porsche to Summer Muscle and more. In addition, DeLorean returned to the Forza franchise with the 80s Showdown Update, and Audi made their Forza Street debut. Thanks to everyone for all of your support.

 

 

And that’s it! That’s the 2021 Forza Year in Review. Thank you, our wonderful community, who helped make this year so memorable. We cannot wait to see what the new year has in store for both the Forza franchise and our players. Until then, stay safe, have fun, and keep on driving.

 

On behalf of everyone on the Forza team: Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!