The Racing Gods were smiling when the RG crew were invited to attend a meet and greet with Dan Greenawalt of Turn 10 studios in Dublin recently. Not only did we get a chance to meet the main man himself but we were also able to get our hands on the latest build of Forza 4. So as part of our double header special feature here’s some of the things you can expect to see in the upcoming Forza 4 game.
When Dan Greenawalt is talking about Forza Motorsport his passion for the game is clear to see and like many of us who hold the Forza series in such high regard, he is a true Petrol Head, which translates into his vision of what a racing game should be;
“Forza Motorsport 4 is about playing the game, the way you want to play.”
The game on the whole has been overhauled when compared to previous releases, yet it is still, at its core, a fantastic Racing Sim;“It’s about the cars and the passion that people have for cars”, and this is what Turn 10 are trying to inject into the game.
“Although it’s built on the Sim Engine, it’s about having fun”
When you get to see to some of the new features included as well as the new community features you really get the sense of just how much fun and, dare I say, how deep a racing game this is going to be; ”It’s not about playing all the cars in the game, although you are welcome to do that if you want, it’s about selecting the five to ten cars that speak to you”
It is in the World Tour Mode that this really becomes clear, as the game conforms to you and your car of choice, which means you only see races that relate to your current car. Dan previewed a 08 BMW M3 on the Ladera test track, with the race options set to History of M3 race, RWD Race, V8 Race. This feature applies to all vehicles and all levels in the game, so if you love JMD’s or Muscle cars you will only see races which are relevant to your car of choice. In an effort to inspire or create “Brand Loyalty” as you progress through the game, the parts for your selected manufacture become free! That’s a lovely word isn‘t it? In regards to levelling up, Turn 10 have turned their creative eye to this familiar feature and are attempting to offer the gamer a different perspective. In the past you were given a car, most of which were never used, but now as you progress through the levels you will be given a choice or cars to select, again reinforcing the brand loyalty concept. As Dan Greenawalt puts it; “Our main goal is to turn gamers into car lovers and turn car lovers into gamers”
As anyone who has played Forza in the past will know, the series has always boasted a strong community, with a wide variety of options that are available to racers, tuners, painters, and photographers, Forza 4 has not only tweaked these sections but they have strapped on a massive bloody turbo and stuck in a shot on NOS; “The most wealthy people in the Forza community now are not the winning racers, they’re the painters”
This is where the new community options come into play, with Car Clubs being one of most attention grabbing features in terms of scale and playability. Turn 10 have realised that not everyone out there is the next Sebastian Vettel, Tony Stewart or Matt Neal, some people have car skills in other areas such as painting or more importantly tuning and car set-up. By creating a Car Club your tuners can get to work on the settings, the painters create a unique look and the racers can, well, race and hopefully win for your collective. Another cool feature of the Car Club is the collective buying power of your group, with the ability to buy a car from the auction house which is then accessible to all members, offering a new batch of Forza players and Petrol Heads alike an exciting and initiative opportunity when it comes to the benefits of multiplayer.
Other online features include up to sixteen players hammering around a track and obviously, just like in life, not everyone is not going to finish first, so after a few hours of getting your arse handed to you, you may wish to leave the hardcore racing to the pros and slope off for some unadulterated fun. Well, Forza 4 has got you covered with the addition of the joyfully childish, Top Gear Football or Soccer if you prefer. Ok, I know what your thinking, what the fuck is football doing in a car game? If you haven’t seen it before, Top Gear Football first featured on the car show leviathan produced by the BBC, featuring Clarkson, May and Hammond and involves two teams all in identical cars, such as the Toyota Aygo or similar small city cars, a very big football and two goals, see below;
I think we can all agree that that does look unbelievably fun, even if the cars are a bit dull, but what if money was no option and you could build your own dream team? How about X5’s and Touregs in defence, Evos and Impreza’s as your midfield and Ferrari strikers, all decked out in your clubs colours with perfect settings thanks to your expert tuners?
As you would expect, Forza 4 looks stunning, amazingly so and with the addition of IBL or Image Based Lighting , which is a system by where the cars are lit by the environment in which it is situated, game painters and photographers will be wetting their pants with excitement. And this feature is used to great effect in the new feature Autovista. Autovista lets you explore some of the world’s most exclusive and expensive cars in sub six inch detail levels, allowing you can get right up close and even examine the carbon fibre around the engine bay. In short Forza 4 is car porn, it’s as simple as that, making this a game of true beauty. But the Autovista drool fest does not stop there, oh no! On top of gorgeous cars to look at, Turn 10 have teamed up again with Top Gear and you get a walk-through of the cars by legendary motor mouth Jeremy Clarkson which will have you laughing and crying at the same time. As Dan Greenawalt explains;“Turn 10 provides the play by play and Top Gear provide the colour commentary”. So if you still have no idea what Autovista is or who this Clarkson fella is, here’s is a great example of the two.
On the simulation side of things there have been a few new tweaks to the code which makes the AI a little tougher and Turn 10 are really focusing on realism, even turning to Pirelli for the tyre data. Pirelli tested different types of tyres with different heights, weights, compounds, pressure settings, and all of that collected data is going straight into the game untouched, leaving the player with an incredibly accurate driving experience.
Like a bunch of kids with a big packet of sweets, we were finally let loose on the game and although there was the usual awkward moment of no one wanting to make the first move, eventually some brave Sir Galahad stepped forward and took the bull by the horns, leading to a crowd assembling around him similar to what must happen when teenage girls find out Justin Bieber has popped out to the shops for a pint of milk. As a gallant knight began his play-through there were a multitude of “Wows” and “Cools”, all of which were more than justified, as we can tell you, the wait for Forza 4 has been well worth it and here is a rundown of our thoughts on some of the cars and tracks which we got our hands on:
Car: 08 Subaru Imrepza STI
Circuit: Hockenheimring Full Circuit
Game Mode: Hot Lap
This was my first time trying out the Kinect on Forza 4 so it took a little bit of getting used to as I swished my way through the car manufactures available to select my beast for this experience. Which is nothing short of the weirdest thing I have done, as the machine does all the acceleration and breaking for you all you have to do is steer, or wave your clenched fists up and down in a weird Macarena style dance. However, you can clip the apex of every corner just right with a little bit of practice, and after a few corners I got the hang of it. Although some gamers will dislike the lack of control, beyond steering via Kinect, what it does offer is an immersive driving experience which is blended with some old school arcade simulation.
Car: Acura NSX
Circuit: Bernese Alps Festival Circuit
Game Mode: VS 8 AI Race
After well and truly being bitten by the Kinect bug I was desperate to get back into another race and so I quickly chose the second car on the menu, the Acura with the NSX chassis designed by the late great Ayrton Senna, a mid range engine and rear wheel drive, which was perfect as I roared around the Bemese Alps Festival Circuit, with a huge smile plastered across my face. Although the lack of true simulation is felt here again, due to the lack of breaking or gear changes, it was still immensely enjoyable, as long as you don’t scratch your nose or sneeze, as doing so means your destined to end up in a whole lot of trouble.
Car: Mitsubishi Evo X
Circuit: Top Gear Test Track
Game Mode: Hot Lap
It’s the Top Gear test track, what more is there to say? It is, as you would expect, absolutely perfect and as I was flying around the Valhalla of test circuits in the Evo X, I noticed my gaming brothers in arms, Exciting Alien and Blind Side G, whom where standing over my shoulder, where laughing, a lot. It turns out, without realising, I had been calling out the each of the corners in a Clarkson style-y. This alone is worth the price of game because it will give you and a bunch of mates hours and hours of fun as you compete against each other in an ‘impression-off’ after a few pints.
Just in case you needed reminding Forza Motorsport 4 is released on in North America on October 11, 2011, in Europe on October 14, and the rest of the world on October 20