Gaming fans at Goodwood Festival of Speed were among the first in the UK to play the new Xbox One X and Forza Motorsport 7.
Microsoft unveiled its new console, the most powerful ever made, at the E3 videogame conference in Los Angeles in June, and will release it to the public later this year.
On Saturday and Sunday, the company gave driving fans a chance to play the Xbox One X and the latest Forza game, also due out later this year, at Goodwood, one of the largest motorsport events in the world.
The game was playable in the Porsche Experience Centre, with drivers taking control of a Porsche 911 GT2 RS, the most powerful 911 ever made for the road. Players sat in a VRX iMotion driving simulator, which costs more than £40,000, is made with aircraft-grade stainless steel and polished aluminium bracketry, and features a D-box motion system and pressure sensitive brakes. The software installed on the simulator is able to communicate the real-life physics of different cars to the seat and steering wheel, so players felt like they were driving a real Porsche 911 GT2 RS.
Chris Bishop, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Xbox, said the latest Forza was the most realistic driving game in the series, containing a level of detail never seen before in either the track-based Motorsport or off-road Horizon franchises.
“We have definitely made this the biggest and best Forza ever, featuring 700 cars and 30 environments. Parts of the car shake and rattle as you drive, and we’ve also improved the sound to add a new level of immersion. We’ve really focused on recreating the thrill of real-life driving.”
Microsoft has used Forza Motorsport 7 to show off the Xbox One X’s six-teraflop engine and built-in supersampling, which give gamers better textures, smoother framerates and faster load times.
Bishop believes the new Xbox console is the perfect platform to showcase what the new Forza can do.
“When we took the Forza engine to the Xbox One X team, we put it on the new console and ran it at 60 frames per second, upped the resolution to native 4k and added HDR. We did all that and still had 30% processing power left. That was awesome; and it’s an exciting spot to be in.
“We took what we did on Forza Motorsport 6 and Forza Horizon 3 and re-engineered this latest game to be a native 4k title. It will look incredible whether it’s playing on Xbox or Windows 10 PC.
While driving is at the heart of Forza Motorsport 7, Bishop believes there is something for everyone to enjoy.
“It’s a petrolhead’s dream, but there’s also lots of fun to be had for everyone. My friends love the auction house [where you can buy and sell cars] and tuning the vehicles, for example. While you are waiting for the loading screen to finish in Forza 7, you can tune your car. Then it loads, you’re at the track and ready to race. The loading times feel so much faster because I can do stuff to my car to pass the time.
“A lot of people love the fact you can pick up a controller and play with your friends. You can just pick up and play, from any age. A lot of people appreciate the graphics, which will be amazing on the Xbox One X.
Benny Perkin, a presenter on Xbox’s official YouTube channel Xbox On, got to try out the new Forza, and also took part in Goodwood’s famous Hill Climb in a Porsche GT3.
The man behind the wheel for Benny’s adrenaline-filled, 1.16-mile experience was Gordon Robertson, Porsche’s Chief Driving Consultant and a 10-year veteran of the Hill Climb. His favourite car for completing the stretch is a Porsche 918 Spyder.
“You hit 130mph on one straight, and approach a bridge and a flint wall at 100mph. But it’s not just about the speed. It’s the launch off the line, and then you’re a matter of inches from the walls on cold tyres.
“You never quite know what you’re going to get, on Wednesday morning there was no grip on the first corner. It brings best out of every driver and the car they’re in.”
Forza Motorsport 7 will be released on October 3, exclusively on the Xbox One family of devices and Windows 10 PCs via Xbox Play Anywhere. Special editions include the Deluxe and Ultimate Editions, which contain exclusive, digital-only bonus content, VIP membership and access to the Day One Car Pack.