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March 20, 2007
GDC - Forza Motorsport 2 Preview

Forza Motorsport 2 - Preview

By Jason Van Horn

For men, it is probably one of their most prized possessions in the whole world if not their sole most prized. Yes, we are talking about the automobile. For the car enthusiast out there, they love nothing more than to see cars going around the same track over and over; washing their baby every weekend and giving it a wax job so it looks fresh and new; giving it that new pine scented air freshener to always keep her smelling nice; and they'll become enraged at the slightest nick or graze. If you've got a gear head in your life (or are one yourself) be prepared to say goodbye to reality once Forza Motorsport 2 ships out, because you'll be lost in the endless realism of this car nut's dream.

"Car lust" - it was the one single term that the developers wanted to stress about the game as they showed it off, and it seems as if that "car lust" is the exact thing they achieved based on the preview seen behind closed doors at this year's GDC. So let's get nailing out some of these facts: 300 cars. The Acura Integra, Ferrari, Porsche, Mazerati, '69 Camaro SS, and Classic European cars just to name a few of the cars to be included in the game, but that fails to mention the fact that every car in the game will be customizable.

The customizing ability of Forza 2 seems to be a huge selling point of the game, as they've included several things to not only improve your ability to customize your vehicles, but also the ways in which the community can come together to trade and share paint jobs. In general, if you played the first one you'll probably be familiar with the controls and abilities of the customizer, but the one new thing they made mention of was the ability to now select multiple layers of your paint job at one time and change them and move them around.

The developers actually delved a bit more into the community aspect of the customization feature than the actual customization ability of the game. For starters, you can now take a picture of your customized car and post it to the game's website so you can show off your pimped our ride and show why you are the best customizer out there. Much like Project Gotham Racing there will now be a Spectator mode, where you can jump in to watch these pretty, customized cars go round and round. Though you can do anything with the paint job, the developers stressed you'll only be able to change the guts of the car as to what would be possible for that car in real life. But you will now be able to finally swap drivetrains if you want. So what's the point of it all? Well, you'll get to make the ultimate car to smoke competitors and friends online and look good doing it, but you'll also be able to use the newly done Auction House to sell your cars. Now you'll be able to buy a car, paint it up, put it on auction, and have people bid on it with in-game credits. You can also give away cars for free, but hey, who doesn't want more money? In theory, you could buy a pretty average car, spruce it up all nice, make a nice bank of change on it, then use that money to buy the really good car you want in the game.

Okay, so the customization is covered, but what about the actual driving and racing? The physics for Forza 2 have been ratcheted up from the 60 FPS of the original to the 300 FPS for the sequel. And all that extra physics is going to make sure that everything in the game feels as realistic as possible, so you'll be feeling every bump as you tackle the 45 courses that will be available in the game (some reverses included in that). Actually, tires seemed to get a major acknowledgment this time around, as they worked with top tire designers to get info on the physics of how tires work, so you'll feel every bump, load sensitivity will be realized, and you'll get to see and experience real tire telemetry through the HUD system, which depending on which HUD you are using, will show off the telemetry of a wide variety of stats. Tires will also heat up based on pressure, which will affect the inner, middle, and outer portions of all your tires. Tire burns will also be seen on the track, but it is based on a time/amount system, so if you only did one tire burn throughout the whole race it will be there until the end of the race, but if you are burning up your tires from the beginning to the end of a race, the ones you might've left at the beginning will have disappeared for the later ones you placed down.

The Forza 2 developers also talked to us about how many people think car manufacturers are so protective of their mechanical babies that they won't let game designers crash them up and wreck them, but they said they have such a good relationship with all the companies represented in the game that they had no problem getting the okay to crash up these machines, because you'll be able to have fully damaged cars that slowly get worse and worse over time, and if your car is wrecked enough, will even fail to move and finish the race.

The developers also gave up some more general info, such as they have plans to have cars and tracks as downloadable content (though nothing about pricing or when this would start); Achievements won't really be for such things as number one ranked racer in the world, but more for how many cars you've collected; and though the game is still a racing simulation first and foremost, they did add increased assists to help the players adjust who may be more used to the arcade styled racers.


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