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How Starfield’s developer helped make Forza Motorsport a better game

Forza Motorsport GM Dan Greenawalt on cooperation across Microsoft's first-party studios
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Forza Motorsport learned a few lessons from Forza Horizon, and even from other Microsoft first-party developers, such as Starfield’s Bethesda Game Studios.

That’s according to Turn 10 Studios general manager Dan Greenawalt, who recently spoke to GLHF during a Q&A with members of the press.

Forza Horizon’s influence feels quite evident to us as you start playing the game’s career mode, called Builders Cup.

The mode begins with an initial drive meant to welcome you into the game, and let you get to grips with the controls - precisely how Playground Games has handled its games’ opening hour or so over the years.

Forza Motorsport hands-on preview

“Yeah, Forza Horizon, Forza Motorsport, we are, in a way, sister studios, Playground and Turn 10, and we share a lot of people. We share a lot of ideas. We use an engine, the Forza Tech engine, so there’s a lot of technology that gets worked on, one that goes into the other,” Greenawalt told us.

“This idea of having kind of what we call an initial experience or a first-time experience and really giving people end-level content quickly, that’s around it. A lot of games do it, so you kind of see that all over the place. This was something we adopted back in Forza Motorsport 3 and then 4, and then Horizon. We were doing some live-action videos. We’ve done thrilling drives. We’ve done chill drives. And Forza Motorsport 7, we had to get into the truck, and then we had to get, you know, from one car to the X as you took on the character of these other drivers in our game, like M. Rossi. So this is something that’s been evolving over time.”

Forza Motorsport hands-on preview

Turn 10’s general manager also shared how cooperation across all Microsoft first-party studios, not just Xbox Game Studios, and not just over the same genres, has been instrumental when working on Forza Motorsport.

“I think the strength of these teams is that we collaborate so much on a lot of things, including technology, and we don’t tend to be referential towards just our own genre. We tend to look really broadly as part of the first-party family,” said Greenawalt. And that process even involved Starfield developer Bethesda Game Studios.

“We’re able to share ideas with Bethesda as well as with The Coalition and 343. And so as modern design comes into lots of genres, we can swap notes with other designers.”

Forza Motorsport preview screenshot

But “the heart of the inspiration for this really was falling in love with cars through skill and competition. It’s not just a casual drive with a Corvette. You see that opening video when the Corvette’s coming through, it’s bombing through that track, and the Corvettes are a pretty fast car. So you’re going through there, and we wanted to make it not so high stakes. So it’s not a race because it would have hurt the approachability for people. But it gives you this feeling of, like, that audio and all of that. But it’s intense. It’s much more intense. It’s not laid back like that. The thing is flying around the track. So it goes right to that vision of skill and competition and then utilizing and showing off all the new technology that we had for, like, 15 minutes.”

Forza Motorsport is releasing on October 10, 2023, for Windows PC and Xbox Series X|S. If you want to learn more about the game, you can read our Forza Motorsport hands-on preview.