Microsoft confirmed at E3 that Forza Motorsport 8 won’t be coming this year. For the first time since 2011, there won’t be a major Forza release. Make no mistake though, this is a good thing.
When Forza Motorsport 5 was announced as an Xbox One launch title people obviously got excited. Microsoft’s staple racing franchise was coming to next-gen and was set to run at 1080p, 60 FPS. Back in 2013 that was a big deal for consoles. Six months later we finally got hands-on with Forza 5 and something became very quickly apparent. It wasn’t actually all that good.
Some of the most limited content we’ve ever seen in a Forza Motorsport game coupled with questionable microtransactions. It was big news back in the day just how much it would cost you to buy the Lotus E21 Formula 1 car. The game at launch? Around $60. The virtual F1 car? That would have set you back a further $40. I feel bad for anyone suckered into actually buying one of those things. By the end of Forza 5‘s lifespan I had eight of them, mostly collected through Microsoft’s Forza Rewards loyalty scheme.
A mere 14 tracks, compared to its predecessors 26, and just over 200 cars hardly made for the most complete experience. The tracks that were there did include some classics like Laguna Seca, Catalunya, and Spa but huge omissions were notable. Mugello, Infineon, Maple Valley, Sunset Peninsula, Twin Ring Motegi, and Tsukuba were all absent. With both Tsukuba and Fujumi Kaido dropped, the drifting community had to rely on the sub-par Bernese Alps to survive instead.
I have no doubt in my mind that if Forza Motorsport 8 had been released this year, we would see the same problems emerge in 2020. Playground Games would have rushed out a half-hearted, poor attempt at Horizon 5. It would likely have featured a smaller world, far fewer cars, and a poorly executed multiplayer. This delay should give Turn 10 Studios a genuine opportunity to make a great game and help Project Scarlett perform as well as possible upon release.
Game delays may be frustrating as a fan but they are an evil necessity in the industry. Too often are developers forced to hurry along projects to keep their company directors happy. The awful culture behind crunch time needs to stop sooner rather than later. The livelihood of those working on these games needs to be respected. Not only because its the right thing to do, but also because it results in some wonderful products. Insomniac Games are widely regarded as a tremendous company to work for and I don’t need to tell you how successful Ratchet & Clank once was.
Considering all of this, I’m thrilled that Microsoft has taken the choice to not push Forza Motorsport 8 out this year. I love the series about as much as anyone but this should mean their workers get to actually enjoy their jobs and I get a far better product at the end of it all. Those are the kind of things that are well worth waiting for.