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Forza should turn onto a new road

Regular readers of the site will know how big a fan I am of racing games. I love them. My favourite racing games are the Forza titles (though I do love Codemasters output as well). We have been spoilt throughout this generation with alternating Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon titles each year. These games have, without exception, been superb. Is now the time to add another string to the Forza bow, though?

The Call of Duty franchise has been releasing a game every year since 2005. They started just using two studios but after a few years realised they needed to expand their roster. Could Forza follow suit and add a new franchise to its bow? It would seem like a good time. Adding a new title would allow the main series (Motorsport) to kick off the next generation. With the announcement of Forza Street for PC and Mobile, they’re clearly looking at expanding the franchise. So, what could they bring to the series?

Forza Street

The obvious choice is to flesh out Forza Street to become a full console title. This has been designed as a mobile title, that’s also on PC. It could easily become the idea for a full Xbox One game, though. Of course, one of the things that comes to mind when watching the trailer is Need for Speed. There hasn’t been a good Need for Speed title in quite a while. The idea of that style of arcade racing paired with the looks and handling of Forza is simply mouth-watering.

We’ve never really had a Forza title with a storyline but Microsoft has the resources to pull it off. Yes, there have been story elements to the Forza Horizon series but it’s never been the focus of the game. Obviously, the racing still needs to be the star of the show. There’s no reason it couldn’t have a gripping storyline alongside it, though. It could easily be based around street racing, or escaping the police, or performing high-speed heists.

They could even team up with the Fast and the Furious franchise and make a full game with that license. Clearly, there’s a connection there as we have had Forza Horizon 2 presents Fast & Furious. Not only that but there have been numerous branded vehicles from the film franchise added to the games. The high-speed shenanigans that the team in Fast & Furious get up to have been crying out to be made into a game. Doing it with the Forza geniuses behind the development would assure a certain level of quality from the start.

 

Forza Rally

Rallying is a very popular form of racing. It’s also a very popular sub-genre for racing games. There’s V-Rally­WRC, DiRT, Gravel, Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo, Dakar 18, and I’ve probably missed some others. Forza Horizon has already dabbled in rallying but never really gone all out on it. There was the Forza Horizon: Rally Expansion Pack for the first game. Subsequent Forza Horizon titles had rallying events as part of the main game. These have really been races across fields rather than proper rally events, though.

I would love to see them introduce a more specific, rally-focussed game. You could race on proper rally stages, dodging trees and sliding round gravel corners. A co-driver would be needed but that would be an easy thing to include. A little work would also need to be done to the handling system. This isn’t anything the team at Turn 10 couldn’t do in co-operation with the team developing it, though. It wouldn’t require a lot of work but so much of rallying is about sliding around corners. Obviously, there is drifting in Forza but sliding in a rally car necessitates a little more finesse.

With the marketplace being so crowded with rallying titles, this would have to be an exceptional title. However, Forza has such a great track record that we haven’t even had any average Forza games. I’m sure that if they put their minds to it they could create the best rallying title around.

 

PGR Forza

I loved the Project Gotham Racing games on Xbox 360 (and even the original Metropolis Street Racer on Dreamcast). I’ve always thought it was a real shame that the series didn’t continue. Forza Horizon uses some of the ideas behind that series. It grants you points for drifting, driving on the wrong side of the road, passing closely past other cars, travelling at high speed, and others. This is exactly what Project Gotham Racing used to do. The main concept of PGR was that it was about how you race, more than how fast you drive. You could win events without finishing in first place. While you gained points for being the first across the line it was added to the points you earned during the race. The racer with the most points was the person who won the event. The points were all part of the Kudos system.

The Kudos system allowed for some interesting events that have been copied in Forza Horizon. There were events where you had to pass through cone gates around a circuit within a time limit. Drift events were also featured. These were of course alongside the usual races and time trial events. If Forza was to go this route, I think they would have to remove these systems from Forza Horizon. It’s not like they’re a core system in that series, though. I don’t think I would be alone in wanting to see the Project Gotham Racing series make a return. If Microsoft wants to do it with the Forza name attached, that’s fine by me. Please, just give us some of that amazing Kudos system.

 

The Forza franchise has done a great job in elevating itself to become the best racing series on any platform. Both the Motorsport and Horizon brands have produced some of my favourite games. I do worry about burnout (not the Criterion games), though. Adding another franchise could help to avoid this. What area would you like to see Forza venture into? Do you think it doesn’t need another franchise? Why not share your thoughts in the comments down below.

Steve Clist
Joint Editor-in-Chief at our sister site XboxEnthusiast, Steve also has a serious love for Nintendo. His first console was an N64 and it was love at first sight. He may specialise in racing games but will give anything a shot. He's also a serious guitar player and musician. Basically, Steve rocks. Need we say more?

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