We're a little less than two months away from the first new Forza Motorsport in six years, and in typical Turn 10 Studios fashion, the developer is drip-feeding plenty of the game's content ahead of launch. A big part of that is the racing sim's repertoire of tracks, of course, and alongside the likes of Road America, Mid-Ohio, and Kyalami stands a mainstay of the franchise's history: the fan-favorite Maple Valley Raceway. It's back in the upcoming eighth installment, and it's never looked better.
Of course, that's what you'd expect, given Turn 10's mantra of how it's rebuilt the next entry "from the ground up" to take advantage of the horsepower provided by the latest Xbox Series consoles. We've seen Maple Valley in the new Motorsport before—it actually played a central role in reintroducing the game about a year ago, as Turn 10 Creative Director Chris Esaki took us around the track to showcase the studio's efforts to replicate weather and day/night cycle effects for all of the game's courses.
This peek at Maple Valley is much shorter, but it does confirm a few things. Unlike the approach Gran Turismo developer Polyphony Digital recently took with its own beloved fictional circuits, Trial Mountain and Deep Forest Raceway, Turn 10 hasn't messed with Maple's shape in any serious way. That's sure to please longtime fans. The track's famous crossover also now features a conventional tied-arch bridge, as opposed to the rustic covered bridge of Forza Motorsport 4, or its more modernist take from FM7. Personally, that's a little disappointing—Maple Valley's cozy autumn vibe is key to its charm—but it's hardly a deal-breaker.
Turn 10's track reveals began last week with footage of Grand Oak Raceway, another fictional locale that resembles a simplified, shorter version of old-school Silverstone with its long straights and gentle curves. The emphasis on original tracks is refreshing to see, though if Turn 10 is indeed listening and conducting audience surveys for future content, might I recommend that Alpine Ring from the very first Forza has been unfairly forgotten for almost two decades now. Also, allow me to add my voice to the chorus of fans asking what the hell ever happened to Fujimi Kaido. My sim-racing friend Chris Rosales wants answers, and so do I.
There's plenty of time to bicker over tracks that deserve to make comebacks, though. For now, let's be happy that Forza Motorsport is returning to us on October 10, after so many moons away. Remember: this was once an every-other-year franchise for Microsoft. The series certainly began to run out of steam through the Xbox One generation, so let's hope the long absence has enabled it to return with a fresh vision, and maybe even a new model for the S15 Silvia. Look—we tease because we care.