The new Forza Motorsport has revealed more details about the online multiplayer mode. It’s not an unknown, as it’s one of the first few things that was discussed, but we now have finalised details on what to expect.
Featured Multiplayer and Private Multiplayer replace the hoppers and leagues seen in previous Forza Motorsport games.
Featured Multiplayer races are split between Spec Series and Open Series. Spec Series will see you take on tuned machines, mostly racing cars balanced for competition. The Open Series is a bring-what-you-drive series where as long as the car meets specific restrictions, you can drive your customised car there.
Cars can be rented if you don’t have the right one to enter an event, the drawback being you won’t gain any XP which is a really important thing in the new Forza Motorsport. However, in Spec Series (and Rivals), whether you own the car or rent one, the cars for that event will have a balance performance to ensure fair racing.
Featured Multiplayer races will rotate every week.
Multiplayer races follow a race weekend format where there is open practice, qualifying and then the feature race. Qualifying will determine your place on the grid.
Fascinatingly there are a few quality-of-life additions. You can tune the car to carry less fuel just for qualifying- lower fuel means lower weight which means a better-performing car usually. And you can use “skip lap” to start a practice or qualifying session on a rolling start, skipping the warmup of going out of the pits and doing a whole lap before you can start recording timed laps.
The Forza Racing Regulation (FRR) is the penalty system for Forza Motorsport. Debuted in Forza Motorsport 7, this time around the system has been overhauled with machine learning and can now identify more than 5000 unique racing incidents. This includes track cutting, intentional collisions and dirty driving. Once such incidents happen, FRR will dish out a penalty, and even disqualify a player from the race if it gets really bad.
With machine learning, the FRR can be further tuned down the line to learn new racing incidents, so expect the penalty system to be improved. Hopefully it’s not too trigger-happy like the early days of fellow sim racing game Gran Turismo Sport and Gran Turismo 7, which employs a similar penalty system (though without the machine learning bit).
With the penalty system, there are no odd tyre wall placements that were placed to prevent track cutting.
Each player will have a driver rating, one to indicate their level of skill (from 1,000 to 5,000), the other to indicate their level of Safety (using iRacing parlance here- GT calls this Sportsmanship). As you would expect in a game that is not Call Of Duty, matchmaking is determined by skill level. so expect to be matched with players around your skill level.
Every new player can race in the Qualifier Series. You’ll need to compete in these select races first for the game to determine your skill level.
The new Forza Motorsport will have online races with tyre and fuel strategy, where you need to do pit-stops mid-way to change tyres and refuel. Interesting to note that pit stops aren’t instanced, you see other cars driving into the pit box as well. Driving in and out of the pitlane is automated.
If you’re playing with friends, you can jump into Private Multiplayer and customise your lobby rules. There are presets, as well as complete customisation options to run your specific online lobby. Driver skill and safety ratings won’t be affected in Private Multiplayer, so if you want to recreate the chaotic online lobbies of past Forza, do it in Private Multiplayer.
Rivals, the time trial events where you can beat the ghost lap of a driver slightly faster than you, as well as normal time trials, are back. Rivals will give you a specific car to attempt, but time trial lets you run what you brung.
Spectator Mode, however, is not available for launch. This is mostly used for tournament runners and broadcasters. AI Drivers won’t be available in Featured Multiplayer. Split-screen multiplayer is also didn’t make the cut for launch.
Forza Motorsport has certainly took note at the competition, in particular Gran Turismo, and has definitely upped their game to produce a better representation of motorsport racing. FRR was only added at the tail end of Forza Motorsport 7, before that an average Forza lobby is a joke is you were looking for clean racing. There are rammers everywhere willing to send you into the Shadow Realm. Pit stops and race strategy is a completely new thing too for the series.
Forza Motorsport should be at least a bit more sim than arcade just with these changes to the multiplayer experience.
The game previously revealed its improved AI Drivatar, improved physics system as well as its “car-PG” elements.
Forza Motorsport (2023) will be out on October 10 for the Xbox Series X|S and PC (Steam, Microsoft Store). The game will launch day-1 on Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.