This is a “Letter to Turn 10” to be posted to the link below given via Forza Discord, as directed by Forza Monthly (March 8th, 2019) with Dan Greenwald calling for suggestions for the Next Motorsport;
https://support.forzamotorsport.net/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=360000166434. I’m interested in what the forum thinks, and thank you in advance for your support (likes) and positive comments…
Looking back at over decade of playing Forza on Xbox, and considering (as many have already) “Am I better off investing my time and money in PlayStation for the next generation”. For last few years I’ve been disappointed as Forza Motorsport seems to be less focused on Motorsport and Racing, and more on popular culture and a diverse collection of cars. From a business perspective, it’s reasonable for turn10 to target what they believe will result in the biggest market ($$), but not when you consider Playground is doing the same but doing it much better.
Maybe I’m just getting too old for the demographic, and Turn10 are willing to sacrifice the traditional player base in exchange for new players, and believe that market is big enough to support both titles. In my opinion, the Motorsport franchise has missed an opportunity to become a more serious Motorsport title as a point of differentiation from Horizon, and to respond to increased competition from GT Sport, Project Cars, Assetto, Etc.
Horizon = Just Good Fun / Arcade / New & Causal Players / Mass Market / Low per person spend.
Motorsport = Serious but rewarding / Sim / Existing Players / Niche Market / High per person spend.
The following is my list of suggestions for the next Motorsport. My main goal in sharing this list is to a) gather support for more “Motorsport” in Motorsport, and b) attempt to open communication, hoping for an indication where Turn10 see the Motorsport franchise is heading. So Here goes;
1. The definitive; FORZA MOTORSPORT ; On the new console, the new title can be simply FORZA MOTORSPORT. A final special hardcopy release, premium pricing and removal of unnecessary content (see point 18 & 19) to make room and budget for new features. Continuously expanded with content improvements and paid DLC (see point 2 & 3).
2. Motorsport DLC ; Paid expansions featuring 8 new cars (1 New Division) and 1 new track from a current Motorsport series. IMSA, V8 Supercars, Formula 1, Indy car, BTCC, DTM, Super GT, World Time attack, Autocross, Rallycross, NHRA drag racing, Formula Drift …. There are so many championships in which Turn 10 could enter a promotional partnership. Bundle with relevant content updates (features not in game at launch) such as Flags, Pit stop aminations, Tyre compounds, Race Engineer, Aero Parts, etc. The FM6 NASCAR expansion with Miami speedway and proximity arrow update was great and something similar would be most welcome for FM7.
3. Car packs DLC ; In addition to expansions, Monthly Car Packs provide regular content and income to support the franchise. Smaller packs of 5 cars with more detail and features, but no more SUV’s, Hot wheels, 4x4’s, limos, etc, leave that to Horizon. Here the cars should meet 1 of 3 criteria, A) Race cars that fit into an existing division (not Forza Specials), B) Road cars that you’ll reasonably expect on a track day or amateur event, C) Newly released performance cars including latest hypercars, muscle cars, sports cars, etc.
4. Zero to Hero Career; Start in a “reasonably priced car”, progress through local track days, Regional club trophy, National touring cars and eventually complete for international world championships (e.g Formula 1). Minimum difficulty and prize money should increase each tier encouraging players to improve. Much tighter economy that will give some meaning and consequence to purchase and career decisions, only after a few seasons of a successful Pro Racing career should you afford to have a 50 Supercar garage like Lewis Hamilton. Rental cars for multiplayer pay same as owned cars and can have tunes applied.
5. Sponsorship System ; Sponsorship system that grows as you progress, rewarding strong results, clean driving and loyalty to a manufacturer (reduces for poor results, damage, switching teams). Unlockable rewards via this feature including credit bonuses, purchase discounts, unique decals & liveries, and special parts (see point 13). FM6 manufacturer loyalty system was much more satisfying than FM7 collection tiers, nobody wants the game to force the player to buy a bunch of cars they’re not interested in.
6. Custom Championships ; Let us choose, the discipline, No. of races, Circuits, No of laps, Qualifying (see point 11), Strategy (see point 10), Select AI cars, Rules and Restrictions (override homologation). Championship should be based on cumulative points system. Horizon 3 did this well with Blueprints.
7. Expand on League Racing ; Currently the public hoppers are a mess, but leagues are generally better due to its level system and I welcome the new Race regulations. In addition, the Driver Level System needs some sort of “sportsmanship” component that add weight to clean racing. Group all players according to Level, minimum difficulty and limited assists at higher levels… and please Ghost lapped cars. GT Sport does this well.
8. Licences ; Brief instructional videos and practical test on racing technique & etiquette such as; racing lines, braking zones, planning overtakes, passing backmarkers, reasonable defending, regulations and penalties. Again GT Sport does this well.
9. Online Adjudication ; current vote to kick system doesn’t work. A system where a player can nominate another player to be kicked much like voting for a track. Reason for nomination, No collisions, No of dirty laps, and sportsmanship rating (see point 7) should be displayed on voting side menu. If more than 50% of lobby is in favour player is kicked and notification and reply send to the race marshal program automatically. In-game rewards for active race marshal participants.
10. Optional Strategy for Long Races ; Animated Pit stops, Tyre wear & strategy (Hard, Soft, Wet), Dynamic Fuel consumption, Race engineer via Radio, Qualifying (see point 12), Mechanical issues (see point 13), Sector splits & lap Delta (time not distance). F1 2018 does this well.
11. AI Performance ; Difficulty at the moment is equivalent to just giving the AI more Horsepower. I think Forza should model the AI cars using data (Racing lines, braking points, Lap time, etc) from FRC participants, use this as the reference lap for “Pro” difficulty. Then add or reduce Ballast weight to AI cars reducing or increasing their PI score e.g Unbeatable +5 PI, Pro +0 PI, expert -10PI, etc. AI in grid will vary another 0-5 Points from maximum PI set by difficulty, eg. M.Rossi will be -0 additional PI. Using Ballast weight will proportionally increase/decrease speed, braking, and cornering and result in more realistic experience than current system.
12. Qualifying and Testing ; Any serious Motorsport title must include qualifying. Further, a leading Motorsport title must have the option complete a race weekend (in career). An option to complete “free practice” to compare your sector times and fine tune your car & strategy (see point 10) before the race. Player can adjust difficulty if required before optional to qualifying “shoot out”, one flying lap that determines your starting position on the grid. Traditional AI such as M.Rossi near the top to give that sense of rivalry that the Drivatar system doesn’t quite capture (see point 11).
13. Realistic Upgrades & Engineering; Not a fan of the current Homologation system as it restricts tuning which is big part of why many play Forza. Homologate racing series like GT3, LMP, NASCAR, etc. but leave track day / road car stuff reasonably open within the class system. There needs to be more realistic compromises when upgrading, perhaps displayed as a reliability factor from 1 to 10. Reward balanced tuning and development similar to real world Motorsport Engineers. Extremes should compromise durability and drive-ability. E.g A 900hp time attack tune will eat tyres, fuel and risk engine failure when entered into a 10+ lap race. Ridiculous things like a V8 AWD willies jeep has no place in serious Motorsport title, put it in Horizon.
14. R&D Special Parts; One-use Special Parts (Forza Edition Parts?) that doesn’t increase PI (e.g. FE Exhaust with +2hp perk) for HARD earnt achievements (eg. complete 200 laps for Porsche) for players to be slightly more competitive with their favourite car. Current Forza Edition cars with silly wings and CR bonus are don’t feel special and make for a disappointing reward. Let us build our own “special” cars. Like an RPG title, R&D parts will increase end game incentive to keep playing long after career is finished and may also add a new dimension to the auction house.
15. Adjustable Race Parts ; New upgrades such as race TSC, ABS, Aero, Swaybars and Brake Bias that unlock the ability to adjust during race. e.g. TCS level 0-10 adjusted via D-Pad. Steering ratio, angle and linearity adjustment in tuning menu would be great also. Track adjustment added to Horizon 4 is excellent even if it is just cosmetic, please bring to Motorsport ASAP.
16. Race Car Preparation ; Weight Reduction and Chassis Menu in more detail and has corresponding visual upgrade in workshop environment. Removing back seats and road accessories (ariels, indicators, badges, etc), and fitting race components such as Roll cage, Lexan windows, cooling ducts, Mirrors, side or rear exit Exhausts, Race seats, Steering wheels, Gauges, GT6 did this well with pre-sets available for certain road cars.
17. Wind Tunnel; Aero Menu in more detail set a wind tunnel environment complete with big fans, toggle smoke lines, toggle wind speed, and a read out of data such as; Drag, Downforce, Lift, and front/rear balance. New real world aero parts (APR, Voltex, Etc) such as Wings, Splitters, Flat floors, Fenders, Diffusers, Canards, Vents. Need for Speed did the visual side well.
18. Delete Unrealistic Cars ; SUV’s, 4x4’s, Vans, Trucks, Limos, etc are waste of space, They belong in Horizon not Motorsport. Add cars though DLC (See point 2 & 3) like Mines R34, Grp A Sierra Cosworth, HKS Evo Time Attack, Ferrari F2004 F1, Aston Martin Valkyrie, AMG Project One, etc. In General, LESS QUANTITY AND MORE QUALITY. 400 cars with twice the features is better than 800 cars with half that.
19. Real World Tracks; Delete unpopular ribbons from base game (Dubai, Rio, Top Gear) and replace with Layouts associated with Real World Motorsport through Paid DLC (see point 2). Suggestions; Tsukuba (Time Attack), Imola (GT), Adelaide (V8SC), Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (F1), Pikes Peak (Hill climb), Zanderzort (DTM), etc. Priority given to tracks with Historic configurations and those raced in multiple motorsport series supported by the game. E.g Adelaide street circuit would support V8 supercar, Group A, 90’s F1, GT cars and even trophy trucks with some ramps…
20. Dial up the Grip; For some reason Forza tyre model has become very “slidey” since FM4, FFB and other changes have been great but please dial up grip levels across the board for more realistic handling. Particularly noticeable in FM7 with homologation forced “street” and “sport” tyres, they just feel like driving on ice compared to my experience with modern tyres.
21. Selectable and Paintable Race Gear ; Sorry but GT Sports Helmet and Suit system is just miles better than the gimmick we got in FM7. Will provide an attractive new feature for the existing paint community. Leave the costumes and skinny jeans to Horizon.
To summarise, as a Veteran Forza player, I would love to see Forza Motorsport to return as the No.1 MOTORSPORT title for console, and I believe Turn10 have the potential and resources to achieve that. However, If players are expected to hold out for possibly another 2 years, Turn 10 need to decide which direction they are taking and start communicating that ASAP. Turn10 has already lost the goodwill of many existing players (those already jumped to GT Sport), getting them to stay will require a defined commitment that their loyalty will be rewarded.
Motorsport should not be trying to compete with Horizon, Motorsport needs to return to being Xbox’s answer to Grand Tourismo. After all, that was the reason I purchased my first Xbox all those years ago after polyphony digital dropped the ball.
Thank you for reading.