Ten years ago, your choice for Xbox racing simulators was all but nonexistent, due to the relative newness of Microsoft’s first console. Microsoft Game Studios already had a solid arcade racing title, Bizarre Creations’ Project Gotham Racing, but they also wanted a title to compete with the popular Gran Turismo Series. For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we will be taking a look at Turn 10’s maiden title, Forza Motorsport.
In 2001, Turn 10 Studios was formed with one goal in mind: to create a great racing sim for the Xbox. Four years later, in 2005, Forza Motorsport was released worldwide. Featuring a car count of 231, and 17 environments, Forza gave racers a taste of everything. While Gran Turismo had more cars in its roster, Forza was able to secure manufacturers such as Porsche, Ferrari, and Koenigsegg, which were absent from Sony’s offering.
Another major element introduced in Forza was car customization. You could make modifications to cars that were unseen in other titles, such as the ability to swap out engines and drivetrains. Depending on what components you install in your car, you can extensively tune your car as well, to fit your liking.
Forza Motorsport also included a realistic damage model, which was quite rare for a console sim at the time. You could damage individual components of the car, and have authentic consequences (I.E. damaged brakes would increase stopping distance, body damage affects aerodynamics, etc). After races, you would actually have to pay for repairs to your car, which gives a further incentive to race clean as opposed to playing virtual bumper cars.
The career mode in Forza was also extensive, featuring a 70+ hour campaign. As you progress and level up, you earn more cars to park in your virtual garage, as well as the ability to run more races in other regions. With a wide variety of tracks to race on, you likely won’t find yourself bored in terms of content.
However, you may get a little bored of the ingame music during the lengthy career mode, with a rather limited set of songs. Luckily, you were able to rip songs from CDs and play them in Forza, which I actually used a lot, and have fond memories of.
Forza Motorsport was a true pioneer in the console sim racing industry, setting the footwork for the future of racing games as we know them. Say what you may about Forza and their sequels, but I personally feel that the first title definitely was an eye-opener as to what a racing title could be.
What is your favorite Forza title in the series? What would you like to see us cover next week?
Will’s Note: For a 12 year old kid, Forza was practically heaven for my car obsessed brain! One of my favorite moments in Forza Motorsport was when I was watching a replay, and my grandmother walked into the living room, and legitimately thought it was a real race! I then proceeded to show her a few races on the game, and just had fun spending time with her while racing.