Forza's obsession with reusing models is comical yet depressing at this point

Asset reuse is a common thing seen in game development. It saves loads of time that can be better allocated to other areas the game needs work in. There’s very little shame in asset reuse, and assuming it’s carefully done, is one of the most efficient and time saving methods of development. Nearly any game that’s a sequel or continuation reuses assets in some way, whether it’s models, scripts or animations.

However, myself and many other players notice Forza’s stubborn and worrying overuse of this development method, far beyond what’s even remotely excusable, especially for an established game franchise with 12 titles and 2 studios under it’s belt.

Let’s talk about the most glaring issues: The car models. Now with driving games car models are a very important aspect, and since the same cars will keep appearing in games throughout the franchise, there’s little shame in simply copying over the exact same car model from a previous game and simply doing some graphical work on it.

However, there comes a time when the model is simply too old and must be rescanned or completely remade. This is to keep the model fresh and new, and to keep it in line with the other models. Many game franchises scrapped it’s entire car list and started over for the eighth generation of consoles. Need For Speed went through a soft reboot, with every car in it’s 2015 release being a laser-accurate scanned model. It may not have had the plethora of cars from earlier titles, but the visual fidelity, attention to detail, and car customization was fantastic and a certain generational upgrade.

A little late to the party, Gran Turismo Sport was the first GT entry on these new consoles and released in 2017. Like Need For Speed, every car model in this game was remade to a stunning degree. It may not have had over 1,000 cars like the previous title, but every car was made nearly 1:1 with it’s real counterpart.

Now that both NFS and GT have had titles building off these games, asset reuse has come into play. The models for certain cars are the exact same across NFS 2015 and up. Same with GT Sport. However, Forza’s case with reusing assets is completely inexcusable on any remote degree. You want to know why Forza’s the exception for this being bad?

Forza never had a “generational reset” for it’s car models. In 2023, we’re still using models taken from the earliest games in the franchise, some as old as the original Forza Motorsport from 2005. That’s right. Back in 2000’s, laser scanning wasn’t commonplace, and every car was modeled by photo reference. This means many cars have inaccurate details, textures, and body proportions. While these models have been slightly “refreshed” over the years, they still lack the detail and quality newer models made for Forza have. In 2023, Forza players are rolling around in car models old enough to be legally classified as adults. No, that’s not a hyperbole.

Personally, what’s insulting to me is the game’s laughable lack of customization options. Let’s take the dreaded “Forza Aero”. First seen in Motorsport 5, it’s a universal wing that fits on virtually every car in the game. The only problem? It’s universally seen as an ugly and hideous wing by the entire community. Every inch of that monstrosity conflicts with one another. It’s style hardly matches any cars. It’s sharp edges contrast with it’s curved ones. The wire-thin risers make it look like a 20$ buy off Ebay. The middle of the wing has this ugly hump for seemingly no reason. The sudden curve is to help with downforce but it’s so abrupt and steep it looks bad.

Keep in mind since Motorsport 5, the game which this eyesore was introduced, customization has been sorely lacking. With the lack of customization on the large majority of cars, this was the ONLY option available for all of them. Motorsport launched in 2013, ten years ago as of writing this. With the universally panned critiques of the wing and ten years of time, surely the Forza devs have implemented many other universal wing types to combat this, right? Nope. Not a single other wing has been ever developed to fit on every car. Keep in mind, the Forza Aero is the only actually adjustable wing in the game. If you do have the luck of owning one of the small handful of cars with other wing options, they can’t be tuned to get the most downforce, even if the wing’s real life equivalent can. If you want to get the most downforce out of your car, you MUST use the hideous Forza Aero. You have NO OTHER option.

By far what’s so insulting yet comical about this all, is the refusal to reuse assets to the playerbases benefit. We’ve been seeing the same models recycled over and over again for 20 years at this point, but the developers have designed and added hundreds of new assets in that time that could be masterfully repurposed and reused to enhance the customization, but they just don’t. These are all virtual models, ones that can be disassembled, stretched, resized, and recolored. Forza has added a multitude of custom built show and race cars, each one teeming with asset reuse potential. Take Ken Block’s (god rest his soul) custom Mustang. The car build is absolutely ridiculous, with a custom widebody, stripped interior, and a dangerously powerful twin-turbocharged engine. The iconic hood with each turbo sticking out of it and spitting ridiculous flames is an example.

That hood was built to fit on a sixties Mustang. We have not one, but TWO sixties Mustangs. What’s stopping you from making that a hood option when you twin turbocharge an old Mustang in Forza? What’s stopping you from repurposing the dozen or so widebodies from the Formula Drift cars and reworking them as options for their stock counterparts? What’s stopping them from reusing the stripped interiors as visual upgrades for weight reduction? Keep in mind, any licensing issues could easily be countered by altering the visual model. Remove the brand logos, recolor the seats, it doesn’t matter.

What I just described above was an excellent and clever way to bring more customization options to Forza. But they just seemingly can’t even do that. They copy and reuse outdated assets, but not even to the playerbase’s benefit. The same outdated car models, the same outdated customization, the same outdated crap over and over again for over 15 years at this point. It’s cheap, insulting, and shows just how much this franchise has fallen from grace. They don’t care anymore and I’m pretty sure they haven’t since Motorsport 5 dropped all those years ago.

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Seeing the Motorsport 4 MX-5 model in the same video where they showcase their attention to detail and graphical enhancements pretty much killed my excitement for the game. Was hoping these models were behind us but I can’t convince myself to purchase on launch if they’re going to use legacy models.

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I was hoping for new models for these cars too. It’s disappointing to see the outdated BMW E30 and other vehicles in “next generation” game built “from ground up”.

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Despite playing forza since the original Motorsport on the original xbox, I guess I don’t have an eye for what makes these models so bad. However, the fact that the atrocious Forza wing is still being used vs anything remotely aesthetically pleasing is very disappointing.

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Well what were you expecting? I was kinda hoping they’d be a WIP thing but I guess this is what we’re getting in this case.

The 3D designers should go find these models personally and scan them (if they are not damaged).

Nissan’s Heritage museum could be an ideal option, since they have preserved cars there. And there’s plenty of preserved cars that they could totally remodel them there (with permission).

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Novaly I completley agree with everything you’re saying, some car models are absolutley horrible.
I think the 22B, R32 GTR, MK4 Golf and S15 are the worst, they are so bad I never want to use them because they are a disgrace to their real life counterparts. I really hope they have remodeled those cars!

And the forza aero too, in the latest gameplay they still use the same ugly wing but I really hope they change it before release.

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Some models are just inaccurate in proportions and other basic things like tail light shape, etc. Others are just low polygon. Meaning, they aren’t as detailed as they could be given the increased rendering power modern consoles and PCs have compared to when the original model was made.

This is a Facebook photo comparison another poster found and posted on another topic comparing models between Gran Turismo and Forza:

Think of it like the guns in a FPS. You don’t have to be a weapons master or “gun nut” to know when something looks “off”, or looks dated compared to seeing the same weapon in other shooters. Think the low poly AK47 from 1999’s Counter-Strike to a modern, highly accurate and functioning render in Escape from Tarkov.

At this point, it’s not an issue of quantity vs. quality. T10 is a first party studio, backed by a multi-trillion dollar company (Microsoft). They should have enough resources and time to remake all the models at least, every five years barring licensing agreements. But they don’t. Because it’s easier to grab a digital asset from 15 years ago, apply modern day Ray Tracing materials on it and call it “new”.

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Yeah but did you see how shiny the chrome was on the ten year old wings uprights. Wow. That’s definitely what I look for in a racing game right there. Polished up decade old assets

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Gran Turismo 6 had customizable wings 10 bloody years ago. Choose from like 5 or 6 risers, 7 or 8 main plates, and 7 or 8 end plates. This made for 100s of possible wing combinations on nearly ever car. In Forza we have 1. Not to mention many of their ‘amazing new things’ that are to be in the new Motorsport were all things that gt6 had 10 years ago.

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As bad as the NFS games are, they absolutely kill it in the customization department.

It blows my mind how many body kits and accessories one car will have compared to Forza, or even other games.

If Horizon (and by extension Motorsport) invested that much time and effort into customization, it would be unrivaled. Hands down. But the fact they’re still using the Forza Aero wing from 15 years ago + A distinct lack of customization means they’re either lazy, and/or severely limited by what they can license which is a shame if true?

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Completely agree. While it’s not feasible to remodel however many hundreds of cars this game will have, they should at least go back and upgrade the worst offenders and the models that predate laser scanning. That way you can keep the large car list but still phase out older models over time.

Problem is, I don’t see them ever doing this without a brand new release, seeing as this is likely THE motorsport game for this whole generation, nothing will change.

My personal pet peeve is the R34. It’s not anywhere near as inaccurate as the r32, silvia, or anything like that, but there’s just some annoying reflection warping between the low poly rear lights that could literally just be fixed with an extra edge or two. It’d probably take more time to deal with updating the files than actually fixing the model.

Issues like these are everywhere though and often much worse. At this point, I’m just hoping we can at least mod the models on PC.
ForzaHorizon5_AJEJeDagAH

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I would bet serious cash that modding will never happen on any Forza IP.

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it was already kinda possible in horizon 3. Now with the ‘new’ engine and a release on steam, there’s a slim but not impossible chance it’ll be possible for at least offline mods?

almost definitely copium but its not impossible

I was speaking from an “official” stance on modding. Modding is a logistic and legal nightmare for companies, and Kunos had gone through a bit of a legal bind because they allowed it in Assetto Corsa. EA hated it with a passion. I’m betting MS is no different in it’s stance.

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While I’m not too bothered by the Forza aero stuff because I don’t do a lot of tuning, what it symbolizes is troublesome.

I just don’t like the feeling that I’m this close to buying a new console and new TV (although that’s for more than just better image quality; I want my TV to consume less energy and my old Pana plasma is brutal for that) mainly to play this game (and whatever the next GTA and DiRT Rally/WRC game ends up being) and doing so to buy a game with ancient assets just feels really cheap to me. Who knows what else is going on under that ray traced sheen?

On the surface, I look at it like I’m enabling the devs’ laziness in this regard – unless that’s wrong.

I know the feeling around here is that being a tier 1 studio (however official a designation that is) at MS, T10 has like an unlimited budget. I don’t know if that’s true, in fact far from it; the pandemic and resultant economic hardship has been really hard on folks – see: MS’ recent layoffs – and even T10 may not be as flush as we think and some corners had to be cut. And we’re going to have to live with that.

This is a game that needs to capture the casual fan – I think we all know that by now – and the casual fan probably doesn’t really care about adjusting a wing, as long as they have a non-adjustable Rocket Bunny or Wings West or Jun option to choose from, because it looks cool.

Regarding the OP’s comment on licensing certain parts: I think there’s more to it than just whether or not there’s an OEM logo on the Hoonicorn’s turbo snail. I’m fairly certain an argument can be made even if just the resemblance is close enough. Copyright law and royalty payment is sticky, sticky business.

Where does that leave me and my want for this game? Not sure. My excitement diminished after the Dev showcase but bounced back a bit after the Forza Monthly interview. Will have to see.

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I definitely agree about the customization. It’s seriously lacking. The car models don’t really bother me much, though (except for geometry issues that muck up livery creation). Like that BMW comparison shot - to me the big difference is that the shot on the bottom has better lighting.

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WOW I didn’t know the E30 was actually that bad, the gt model looks miles better! Especially the headlight textures. I think T10 seriously needs to remodel a bunch of cars!

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I found this on Reddit. I’m excited for FM8 and although I’ve often said that people can’t complain about a game they haven’t played yet, I can’t stop wondering why the new game doesn’t look better than the old FM4:


For more pictures:

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This goes without saying, but I have seen some crazy takes out there so I’m gonna say it anyway. Obviously, old car models aside, the next motorsport still looks miles better than any previous forza and while even the newer cars can’t compete with the likes of GT7, the tracks are easily the highest quality I’ve ever seen in any racing game.

Everything about this new game looks incredible (visually), which is why it’s so jarring to then see such terrible car models plopped into an otherwise cutting-edge game.

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Built from the ground up…

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