Forza Motorsport speeds to factory

Microsoft's "ultrarealistic" racer finally out of the shop; game drives onto the Xbox May 3, following multiple red lights in development.

It's been bumper-to-bumper development traffic for racers this year. Several top-tier driving games scheduled for release in 2004 have been pulled over during their creations, including Sony's Gran Turismo 4 and Rockstar's Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition. Though those two titles were both released this year, Microsoft's Forza Motorsport still has yet to cross the retail finish line. Originally scheduled for a December 2004 release, Forza Motorsport has had a quartet of release dates, the most recent being next month.

At long last, it appears the delays are over. So gamers can finally look forward to getting behind the wheel of the racer next month. Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Forza Motorsport has gone gold and is on schedule for a May 3 release, exclusively on the Xbox.

The game was recently seen as part of Microsoft's demonstration of the next edition of Xbox Live at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in early March. Chief XNA architect J Allard showed how gamers will be able to purchase custom rims, new paint jobs, engines, and other auto parts for their rides through the new marketplace feature. Instead of purchasing a full package of items for a lump sum, gamers can pick and choose their parts and pay a microtransaction to keep their cars fresh and customized.

Forza Motorsport will boast more than 230 cars from 60 real manufacturers, including Audi, Lotus, and Ferrari. The game will feature online play over Xbox Live, in addition to downloadable ghosts and a multitude of leaderboards. Unlike most driving simulations, Forza was granted permission to use real-time damage modeling by car manufacturers.

Forza Motorsport is rated "E" for Everyone and will retail for $49.99. For more information on the game, pop the hood on GameSpot's previous coverage.

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