I just got out of a meeting with Dan Greenawalt at Turn 10 who is working on Forza Motorsport 2 for the XBox 360. For the uninitiated, Forza Motorsport is Microsoft's premiere racing simulation game. We got to see how far the game had come and aside from some graphical bugs, it seems like the game is shaping up well. Much of the game's focus revolves around a strong online presence which includes heavily customizable races, scalable difficulty and player generated content.
They haven't really tried to reinvent the wheel, but rather make the wheel more detailed and more useful. For example, instead of trying to do modeling for tires in different ways, they are doing something called 'Load Sensitivity' which is supposed to be a way to accurately model the tires of the car and track all sorts of information. This information is passed onto the players to increase how accurately the tires are represented, information like the temperature on different areas of the tire, speed, air pressure, wear, and camber are all measured and displayed if you want them to be. Damage modeling has also gotten a boost and pieces of the cars fly off when they take damage and have even more of an effect than they did in the first game. There aren't many games where you can clip the side mirror off and watch it bounce on the street.
The ultimate goal is to bring people who like cars who don't normally play games and gamers who might not be well versed in cars, together. Like the first game it employs a bunch of options so you can scale the difficulty, the harder you make the game, the more points and experience you'll get. But if you're not a huge car person and just like making things, you'll be able to choose from over 300 cars and apply all sorts of real world parts. Then you'll be able to add a custom paint job of about 4,000 layers of color and decals. Once you finish your dream car, you can take photos which will go on forozamotorsport.net or you can sell it in the auction house so you can start building your next masterpiece. One other neat aspect is if you just like painting cars and you want to make something unique, you can lock the paint setups you make to the cars or distribute them freely if you believe in an open source (or open paint, in this case) world. Dan also mentioned that new tracks and cars should come as downloadable content later on (and even made mention of possible new parts and gameplay modes, but nothing definite).
For me, Gran Turismo ends up being way too hard, but I played the first Forza game and had a lot of fun with it. I was able to find a sweet spot where it was hard, but not impossible like GT. I'm also a nut for tweaking out cars and being able to customize them...for me its almost better than racing (I know... I'm a girl like that...).
I'm looking forward to Forza 2's release in May, but what about you guys? Did anyone play Forza? Which do you like better Forza or Gran Turismo? What's the one feature you'd love to see in a driving simulation game?