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Forza Motorsport Year in Review 2015

Brian Ekberg
Friday, December 25, 2015

 

Welcome to the Forza Motorsport Year in Review, our annual look at the past year in Forza. With the ten-year anniversary of the Forza franchise, the launch of Forza Motorsport 6, and tons of awesome stuff surrounding these milestones, this was an eventful and fulfilling year. Take a look as we go through the year that was on a month-by-month basis. Enjoy!

 

JANUARY

If you were paying close attention while reading the first Forza Motorsport Week in Review of 2015, you might have seen a clue as to where things were heading. It was in that WIR, after all, that we posted a video from Ford celebrating 50 years of the Ford Mustang. Exactly three days later we were in Detroit, announcing the next great game in the Forza Motorsport series – Forza Motorsport 6 – at the North American International Auto Show along with our partners at Ford, who were unveiling the 2017 Ford GT. Isn’t it great when a plan comes together?

 

 

Thus began one of the coolest partnerships that I’ve been a part of since my time at Forza began. Two legendary companies coming together to innovate on some really cool stuff. It was all summed up nicely in this following video:

 

 

When we weren’t getting pumped for the eventual release of Forza 6, folks around Turn 10 were getting fired up for the Super Bowl – of which the local favorite Seattle Seahawks were taking part. While we don’t need to discuss how THAT turned out (He called a PASS!?) but we all knew that, with 2015 kicking off in stunning fashion, what was to follow for the rest of the year would be one to remember.

 

FEBRUARY

We kicked off February in fine fashion by throwing an online party with some of our favorite Forza players in the inaugural Forza All-Star Bash. With appearances by well-known Forza stars like Slaptrain, Domestic Mango, AR12Gaming and more, the All-Star Bash was a great time and featured an awesome liveried car that Forza 5 players could only get by watching the stream.

 

February also saw the release of the Top Gear Car Pack, which starred the 2015 Lexus RC F, a car that starred in a much ballyhooed drifting commercial that still raises eyebrows ten months later.

 

And it wouldn’t be February without some love in the air. Forza got romantic on two fronts. Remember these?

 

You still do.

 

The love letters keep coming from Johniwanna.

 

Forza superstar DomesticMango showed off his epic driving and video making skills in a video created in cooperation with BMW, called the “Virtual Driftmob:”

 

 

Finally, in February, and because we like surprising Forza fans around these parts, we debuted the trailer for our then-upcoming standalone expansion for Forza Horizon 2 – Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious.

 

 

MARCH

In 2015, March came in like a… Bug. Two Bugs in fact – the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GRC and the 1970 Volkswagen #1107 Desert Dingo Racing Stock Bug, two of the stars of the Rockstar Energy Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2 on Xbox One. The launch of those VWs also featured a great video starring Tanner Foust, talking about his Beetle GRC, which you can relive here:

 

 

A few weeks later we unleashed Mazdas on the world of Forza Horizon 2 with the Mazda MX-5 Car Pack, a free car pack for FH2 that featured three Mazda models, including the 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the 2005 Mazda Mazdaspeed MX-5, and Mazda’s latest sporty jewel, the 2016 Mazda MX-5. In fact, the release of the Mazda pack was just the start of “Forza + Mazda = Fun”… as two lucky Forza fans in particular would discover in June.

 

After being teased for a few weeks, we let loose the launch of the Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious standalone expansion, which was free for all players during the first two weeks of launch.

 

 

The end of March also saw the inaugural Forza Invitational livestream event, where we brought together some of the best racers in Forza, going up against the best that Turn 10 has to offer (that would be VoodooUomo, naturally).

 

APRIL

Just after the release of the Fast & Furious standalone expansion, the “Furious 7” movie was unleashed on the world, bringing with it a brand new batch of Fast & Furious filmic mayhem and an ending that served as a poignant tribute to Paul Walker and his on-screen character Brian O’Conner.

 

 

And we weren’t done with Fast & Furious yet! Also in April, we launched the Furious 7 Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2, bringing eight amazing cars from the film series into Forza Horizon 2 – from the rough and tumble Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to the Supra made famous in the original “The Fast & the Furious” movie.

 

“Furious 7” wasn’t the only movie tied to Forza in April, as we also ran a great interview with comedian and podcast host Adam Carolla in a very special edition of Heavy Metal Affliction focused on Carolla’s love of classic race cars and his own filmic project, “Winning: the Racing Life of Paul Newman.”

 

Finally we capped off April with our second Forza Invitational on our Twitch channel, once again bringing together some of the biggest names in the Forza racing community world. It was a more involved broadcast, with more streamers for more broadcast angles, and some stellar racing by the likes of RS Joeee, TX3 Laige and, the winner of all three broadcast races in the inaugural Invitational, BAM ASIX13.

 

MAY

May 3, 2015 was a significant day for Forza Motorsport fans, as it recognized as the ten-year anniversary of the release of the original Forza Motorsport on Xbox; a fact that certainly wasn’t missed by us here at Turn 10 and Xbox. Beginning in May, the Forza community shared their favorite memories of the first decade of Forza in a special thread on the Forza Forums and we would have lots of celebrations of Forza over the rest of 2015.

 

Forza Horizon 2 welcomed the Alpinestars Car Pack in May, which included a typically eccentric list of cars, including a classic wood-paneled Jeep Wagoneer, two Vettes, and the latest Audi TTS, among others. A few weeks later, the Forza Horizon 2 Pre-Order Car Pack was made available to players, featuring cars like the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, the Audi RS 4 Avant, and more.

 

 

One lucky Forza community member – TXR Laige – got a chance to go to the 2015 FIA Formula E DHL Berlin ePrix after winning a Rivals contest in Forza Motorsport 5 and even got a chance to meet a fellow French racing legend: Alain Prost!

 

Fast meets faster – TXR Laige and French racing legend Alain Prost at the 2015 Berlin Formula E e-Prix.

 

With E3 approaching, the folks here at Turn 10 were busy putting the final touches on our E3 2015 demo of Forza Motorsport 6, while the rest of the Forza community was busy speculating about what they would get to see about the game in just a few short weeks.

 

JUNE

Here was Forza Motorsport 6’s big moment in the spotlight… well, its second big moment, if you count the game’s announcement back in January. After going several months staying mum on the game, it was both refreshing and exciting to go to Los Angeles with a playable build. We came to L.A. with showbiz in mind, as did our friends at Ford, who brought their star – the 2017 Ford GT – front and center to make the Forza 6 E3 splash even bigger. Sure, Forza and automotive stagecraft at E3 go hand-in-hand but, for 2015’s Xbox Press Briefing, we took it one step further, lowering the Ford GT from the ceiling, inviting Henry Ford III to join us on stage, and then blowing the doors off the racing world with the biggest and baddest Forza E3 demo ever.

 

 

E3 was chock full of eager press and fans, all looking to get their hands on Forza 6 – and the appearance of the special triple screen hydraulic setup on the show floor, which was suitably epic. For long-time fans, Forza 6 represented a first – the first time players could race at night or in the rain in a Forza Motorsport game. Those are the kinds of milestones we take seriously and the team at Turn 10 worked incredibly hard to make sure that E3 attendees’ first experiences with night racing and wet-weather racing in Forza Motorsport 6 were unforgettable.

 

And it wasn’t just Forza Motorsport 6 at E3! In addition to blowing out the FM6 details, we also held the finals of our long-running Mazda racing contest in Forza Horizon 2 live at the L.A. Convention Center, with the result being not one but TWO 2016 Mazda MX-5 models being awarded to Forza community members! And let’s not forget that June was a huge month for Horizon 2 fans, with the release of the Porsche Expansion for Forza Horizon 2 and the Duracell Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2.

 

 

Add to all of that, a huge presence for Forza at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans (where we unveiled some sweet one-of-a-kind Ford-themed Xbox One controllers, inspired by legendary Ford race cars). In addition, June saw the first peek at the Forza Motorsport 6 Limited Edition Xbox One, complete with a sweet blue paint scheme, automotive start-up and shut-down sounds, and a custom controller that set the racing tone at first touch.

 

 

In addition, June saw us start a fun series with the Forza community’s own Raceboy77, who streamed a series of popular “driving lessons” with David Knauer, a developer here at Turn 10. “Raceboy’s Driving School” helped David improve his lap times considerably and Raceboy himself made the trip down to L.A. to see E3 (and Forza 6) in person for himself!

 

So, with E3 out of the way and the game in the industry limelight, we were finally on the downhill side of bringing Forza 6 to the world. September 15 would come quickly but first we had a fun summer ahead…

 

JULY

The march to the September 15th release of Forza 6 was officially on. What better way to kick off the month, than with the annual re-opening of the Forza Garage? Beginning in early July, we began the project of unveiling all of the 460+ cars that would ship in Forza 6 and we kicked things off in a big way with the news that the entire field from the 2014/2015 FIA Formula E series would be represented in Forza 6.

 

It wasn’t just cars either! In addition to new weekly updates with the Forza Garage series, we also were getting news about new tracks coming to Forza 6 like Lime Rock Park, Circuit of the Americas, and more.

 

July also saw the start of our Forza 6/IGN Livery contest, which called on the Forza painting community create to their best livery on a 2013 Ford Focus ST; the winning livery would make a very special appearance at Gamescom 2015, along with a special co-star (look for more on that story in our August recap, below). Our partnership with IGN continued with the release of the IGN Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2, bringing sweet rides like the 2014 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S to the balmy shores of southern France in Forza Horizon 2.

 

Porsche fans also got an extra treat in July; after the release of the Forza Horizon 2 Porsche Expansion Pack, we gave away two additional Porsche models via Forza Hub. This was a limited time offer so, if you missed out… sorry about that! Forza also played up big at Comic-Con 2015, where Forza Horizon 2 and Forza Motorsport 6 were on hand at the Xbox Lounge in the Grand Hyatt, and Forza Motorsport 5 made an appearance with a livestreamed fan contest courtesy of our friends at ESL.

 

She used to be with the guy in pajamas. Now she only has eyes for Forza.

 

Fans wait in line to take part in the Forza Motorsport 5 tournament at Comic-Con 2015.

 

AUGUST

There’s nothing like sharing a hot summer day with 450,000 of your closest friends. At least that’s what it felt like with Gamescom 2015, when the videogame world was centered in Cologne, Germany for the first week of August. Forza Motorsport 6 was naturally on hand along with the Ford GT, which made its way to Europe for a special showing at the Forza booth.

 

Forza Motorsport 6 had an especially eventful Gamescom week – not only was the Xbox booth packed with fans looking to give Forza 6 a first try, but we had some special events during the week as well. Most notably, the results of our Forza 6/IGN Design Contest, where the winning design on the 2016 Ford Focus RS by stuzib85 was shown off immediately after the Xbox Press Briefing, and photographed with Top Gear’s very own Stig.

 

In August we also welcomed the Playground Select Car Pack to Forza Horizon 2 and a special Josef Newgarden-focused edition of Heavy Metal Affliction, focused on the IndyCar driver and friend of Forza. With just a month to go before the official launch of Forza 6, August began the final push to release. We unveiled lots of cool reveals in the last month, including more cars revealed in the Forza Garage, new tracks unveiled, as well as the full achievements list and the unveiling of the new Mods feature.

 

Around 450,000 people came through the doors at Gamescom 2015. That’s a lot of game fans.

 

Tough to say which is cooler – the driver or the livery.

 

SEPTEMBER

With just a few weeks to go until the launch of Forza Motorsport 6, we kicked off the 2015 iteration of Forza Fuel. This time around, we put together a Rivals event that debuted in the Forza Motorsport 6 demo, an event that would eventually bring together some of the fastest and best-known Forza players in the world. That group would convene at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX, the same weekend as the “Lone Star Le Mans” sports car race to take part in the livestreamed Forza Fuel Finale, where the top Forza drivers in the world competed to win the ultimate prize – a real vs. virtual race on COTA against real-life race driver Benoît Tréluyer.

 

 

We also showed off one of the best commercials in recent Forza memory. Considering we’ve had some doozies in the past, that’s saying something. This spot, featuring a real-life Ford GT and a host of retro racing games, combined the raw abandon of racing with some amazing technology to make it all work together in a way that fans might not have expected.

 

 

For most of the world, Forza Motorsport 6 launched on September 15; for Ultimate Edition owners, that date was Friday, September 11, the first time in Forza history that early access was offered to fans. In addition, on September 10, we held our 12-hour marathon of Forza Motorsport 6, featuring a host of Turn 10 guests and loads of pure unadulterated Forza 6 gameplay.

 

And then, a week later, Forza 6 was launched worldwide and, with it, the launch of the Fast & Furious Car Pack for Forza 6, featuring ten amazing cars from the legendary action film franchise. Forza 6 players also had a chance to test their mettle against Rivals times set by Xbox’s own Phil Spencer and Formula One star Romain Grosjean with the Time to Shine Challenge. In addition, we held another contest – the “Drive to Win” Rivals event – which, in October, would send a group of lucky winners to Australia for the Bathurst 1000 race.

 

 

OCTOBER

October saw the announcement of our “Drive to Win” contest winners, several of which were lucky enough to go to Australia and attend the 2015 Bathurst 1000 – otherwise known as Australia’s “Great Race.” Our own Johniwanna accompanied the group and filed a comprehensive report from the race in his weekly “Rear View Mirror” column.

 

 

On the homefront, October saw the first big content update for Forza Motorsport 6, one that added a ton of fixes and improvements to the game. Alongside the content update, we also released the Logitech G Car Pack for Forza 6, a pack that included one of the more talked-about car additions in Forza history: the 2013 Cadillac XTS Limousine. Immediately upon release, we saw lots of videos of well-known Forza creators taking to the limo and making their own brands of automotive magic with this most unusual DLC addition.

 

 

With Forza 6 out in the wild, it was also great to see the quality of Forzatography continue to be incredibly high. New additions like rain racing and night racing in Forza Motorsport 6 meant for some incredibly dramatic photos coming from the Forza community. At the bottom of this article, check out the photos that took home our “Photo of the Year” top honors in both Forza Horizon 2 and Forza Motorsport 6.

 

And it wasn’t all Forza Motorsport 6 news in October. For those still enjoying Forza Horizon 2, we unveiled and released the Forza Horizon 2 Ten Year Car Pack, which included the same cars and designs featured in the pack for Forza Motorsport 6. In fact, that pack is still available for free – all you need to do is visit the Forza Hub app on Xbox One to download your pack today.

 

October also saw the beginning of our “Forza 6 All-Cars” photography project, the results of which we hope to be rolling out very soon, as well as our annual Halloween Bash, where the Forza community comes together to create awesome Halloween liveries and layer designs all in the (spooky) spirit of the season.

 

We capped off a very busy October celebrating the launch of Halo 5: Guardians, with a pair of Halo 5-inspired cars. Everyone received a 2015 Ford GT featuring a Locke livery and Forza 5 VIPs were treated to a bonus – the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350R with the Master Chief emblazoned on the side. Membership, after all, has its privileges.

 

 

NOVEMBER

From a pair of free Halo cars in October to a free Fallout 4 car in November… and one yet to come in 2016! In November, we launched the 1956 Ford F100 Fallout 4 Edition, with a livery created by the Community Team’s own Ayo Jube, and accompanied by an absolutely hilarious trailer:

 

 

In 2016, Fallout 4 players on Xbox One will be able to drive the Chryslus Rocket 69, a car that comes straight out of Fallout lore and should prove, if nothing else, a fascinating drive.

 

While these Fallout cars are famous among game fans, November saw the release of one of the most legendary cars for racing fans – the 1988 McLaren MP4/4. Driven by both Prost and Senna, the car proved to be not just a winning car, but one of the most dominant race cars in history. The MP4/4 joins GP cars from the 1960s and 1970s as stellar examples of the ever-increasing race heritage represented in Forza, and it’s just one of the cars in the eBay Motors Car Pack, November’s DLC offering for Forza 6. 

 

 

November also saw the release of the Fast & Furious Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2 as well as an exclusive showing of the “APEX: The Story of the Hypercar” film, in which our own Dan Greenawalt is featured the film is currently scheduled for general theatrical release sometime in December). In addition, in November we gifted out a Ford Focus, featuring the awesome livery (created by stuzib85) which won our summer Forza 6/IGN Livery Contest.

 

DECEMBER

And here we are, the final month of the year. While 2015 may be heading to a close in just a few days, December hasn’t seen us slow down one bit. First up, we released the Mobil 1 Car Pack for Forza 6, featuring one of the most requested cars from Forza players – the Koenigsegg One:1.

 

 

December also saw the launch of the Forza Hub app on Windows 10 PCs, bringing all the Hub features you’ve come to expect to a PC near you. In addition, we were also honored to be part of the unveiling of the remodeled Petersen Museum in Los Angeles, CA, where our own Johniwanna got a first-hand look at the newly renovated building and the vintage cars inside which he shared in Heavy Metal Affliction. In addition to housing a truly remarkable collection of cars, the Petersen also features a dedicated Forza Motorsport 6 exhibit, detailing how Turn 10 went about making the game. In addition, Petersen visitors can play a special custom demo of Forza 6, featuring cars that can be found in the museum itself. If you are in the L.A. area, you owe it to yourself to take a trip to the museum and see it for yourself.

 

Photos of the Year

In what has now become an annual tradition here in the Forza Motorsport Year in Review, we’d like to take a moment to show off the Photos of the Year, as voted on by members of the Turn 10 development team. This year, we feature one winning shot from Forza Horizon 2 and a winning shot from Forza Motorsport 6. Many congratulations to both thepigfarmer and daniel laruso 2, our two winners and to the entire photography community, who submitted so much amazing work over the past year. You made the job of picking a single winner a glorious (and gloriously difficult) task. Thank you!

 

Forza Horizon 2 Photo of the Year winner by thepigfarmer.

 

Forza Motorsport 6 Photo of the Year winner by daniel laruso 2.

 

That about wraps up our look at Forza’s 2015. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of the Forza community over the past year – we loved seeing your work and speaking to as many of you as we did this year. While 2015 was an epic year, 2016 promises to be fantastic as well. We’ll be back with our regular schedule of content starting the week of January 4. Until then, have a great holiday season, happy new year, and here’s to a great 2016!