Car fans date themselves by the first racing video game they remember playing. Some of us recall unwrapping Intellivision Auto Racing on Christmas morning (about as good as childhood ever got!). But no matter how old you are, if you game at all and you like cars, you’ve played Forza Motorsport—the most popular racing game on Xbox and arguably the champion of them all.
On September 15, ten years after the first Forza iteration appeared, Microsoft’s Turn 10 Studios released Forza Motorsport 6. It’s the best yet—460 cars, 26 racetracks, and capability of 24-car multiplayer. The environments are so rich with detail, it feels more real than watching F1 on TV. We crashed Turn 10 in Redmond, Washington, with our cameras to unearth the secrets behind how this game is made (it involves smashing up old washing machines in junkyards, no joke). Then we challenged the studio to put up their best player so we could hold a Forza smackdown—Microsoft vs. The Drive.
“We had no idea it would be this successful,” said John Wendl, Forza’s Content Director and one of the game’s founders. “Game development is a very tumultuous, volatile industry. When we worked on the first Forza, it was unproven. We designed the technology, the content, we built the team, everything from the ground up. We worked like we could be canceled at any second. Because we could of! There wasn’t much to lose at that point, except this core group of passionate guys that were waiting their whole careers to make this game.”
A decade later, 7 million people have played Forza. Let’s meet the men who made this racing juggernaut, then try to beat them at their own game.