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Forza Motorsport 8 Is Poised to Be Microsoft’s Most Immersive Racing Sim Yet

Forza Motorsport 8 is driving to new heights, with ray tracing and weather conditions creating a more realistic driving experience than ever.

Debuting in 2005, the Forza franchise has been one of the premier driving simulators in video games. Though it’s ostensibly a racing game, those expecting an experience along the lines of Mario Kart are sure to be surprised. Eschewing fantastic or destruction-based elements for pure realism, Forza is second only to actually climbing into the driver’s seat of a real car.

That precedent continues with the upcoming eighth entry in the series. Simply titled Forza Motorsport, this tentative reboot is set to come out almost two decades after the original. It promises to bring with it even greater attention to detail, making the driving experience smoother and more true-to-life. With these new gaming elements combined, Forza 8 could easily become one of the most hypnotic and immersive driving games yet.

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The latest game in the racing series was recently shown off at the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022, and it couldn’t look more beautiful. Chris Esaki, the creative director of Forza Motorsport 8, has spoken at length about new features in the upcoming game that are sure to set it apart from the competition. One of these new elements is a day and night system, which has the game realistically change its daily chronology. This will alter the temperature and affect the weather conditions of a driving track, which in turn heavily affects driving itself.

Furthermore, the tires on each car now boast eight points of ground contact, having had only one in previous entries. Tires have dynamic rubbering, so tracks can actually get sticky from tires being worn off on them. Vehicle damage will also be a factor, with dings, dents, bumps and bruises not only seen in gameplay but felt, too.

Visual elements include the much-touted ray tracing, a graphical feature in video games that enhances the lighting. With ray tracing, every shine and shadow presents itself realistically, making gameplay feel no different from actual laps around a real-world track. Ray tracing is always active during gameplay, not just in replays or in shots where it would be easier to portray. Esaki emphasized that there would be “global illumination,” which calculates the lighting bouncing off of surfaces to portray an object’s reflections and shadows. Whether the cars are in pristine condition or begin taking damage, the lighting on display will bring every inch of the chassis to life as if it’s parked outside.

Ray tracing is a huge graphical selling point in next-gen games for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, and a realistic racing game is one of the best places to show it off. Adding to this is the fact that all the stages in Forza Motorsport 8 have been built from the ground up to accommodate this next-gen feature, including returning tracks from previous games.

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Ray tracing, weather conditions and wear-and-tear all go a long way in making Forza Motorsport 8 one of the most immersive and realistic racing experiences in gaming yet. By having the adrenaline-fueled drive look just like the real thing, players will enjoy a deeper level of immersion. Of course, if the game just painted a pretty picture, it wouldn’t be enough.

Thankfully, features affecting the gameplay only further enhance players’ experience. Weather affects both how a car handles and the track itself, so players will have to be wary of how they drive a car, no different from real life. This includes adapting to rain, snow and sun or lack thereof. Traction and grip are important to staying in the race, and with eight points of tire contact and different tire compounds (hard, soft and medium) available, they’re now more vital to the Forza experience than ever.

Sadly, gamers still have some time to wait until they can take the game and its new features for a test drive. Forza Motorsport 8 doesn’t have a confirmed release date yet outside sometime in the third quarter of 2023. By then, its PlayStation rival Gran Turismo 7 will be yesterday’s model, making room for Forza to realistically tear up the track.

Timothy Blake Donohoo is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he majored in Communication and minored in Creative Writing.

A professional freelance writer and marketing expert, he’s written marketing copy and retail listings for companies such as Viatek.

In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing video games, watching documentaries and catching up on the latest Vaporwave and Electro-Swing musical releases.

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