Q&A: Turn 10 on Forza 2's 11 new rides

Lead designer Dan Greenawalt chats about upcoming downloadable content pack for Xbox 360-exclusive racer.

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Released in May of this year, Forza Motorsport 2 continues to thrive not just through its vibrant community of online racers, paint-scheme designs, and active-auction system, but through Turn 10's support of the game through downloadable content as well. The first DLC pack was released back in August and featured a handful of cars as a free download. Now, the team at Turn 10 is preparing the next DLC pack, which will feature 11 new cars (one of which, the 2007 SEAT Leon Cupra, will be a free download). The download pack is due for release at the end of September and will cost 400 Xbox Live Marketplace points.

A full list of cars being added to Forza 2 is as follows.

- 2007 SEAT Leon Cupra (FREE DOWNLOAD)

- 2006 Audi R10 (#8 Audi Sport Team Joest) Prototype

- 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Hemi

- 2006 Dodge Challenger Concept

- 2006 Honda Civic Si Coupe

- 2007 Honda Civic Type-R

- 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400

- 2006 Lamborghini Miura Concept

- 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997)

- 2007 Saturn Sky Red Line

- 2007 SEAT Leon Supercup

Audi R10 Prototype
Audi R10 Prototype

We recently spoke with Forza 2's lead designer Dan Greenawalt to get some insight on what went into creating this DLC pack, and what we might expect from the Turn 10 crew in the future.

GameSpot: This will be the second downloadable set of cars for Forza 2. How was fan response to the first set, and what did you want to do with DLC pack number 2?

Dan Greenawalt: After we shipped Forza Motorsport 2, the team took a well-deserved hiatus. As soon as we got back, we started DLC production. Our first release was the Nissan Pack plus the Peugeot 908 race car. That first pack served several purposes for Turn 10. First, it was an important test bed for our DLC processes, tech, and code. Second, it set up the Nissan of North America Sponsored Tournament that recently kicked off over Xbox Live. And finally, it delivered the new Peugeot 908 race car, which was part of a big Forza Motorsport/Xbox 360/Peugeot Sport promotion in France.

Fan response to the first pack was great, especially as it related to the Nissan Tournament. Personally, I was really excited about the Peugeot 908. I had a chance to see that car unveiled at the Paris Auto Show--it's an amazing piece of technology and design. It's also the first race car in the game that can be taken into the Paint Shop. We've seen some amazing liveries come out of the community with that car.

GS: Is there a theme to the second DLC pack for the game? What will we find in this set?

DG: That first pack was all business. Now that we have the code and processes down, this second pack is our first real attempt at premium DLC. I wouldn't say that there is an overarching theme to this entire pack. However, there are some minithemes to it. We wanted to include some new models we didn't have time to build for Forza Motorsport 2, including a couple concept cars. Once we started looking at those concept cars, we thought it would be cool to provide some historical backstory. For example, this pack includes the Lamborghini Miura Concept show car as well as the old '60s Miura that inspired it. We also have the new Dodge Challenger concept and the old 1970 Challenger Hemi that inspired it.

GS: Tell us about the different cars in this download. How do the cars vary in terms of class, performance index, and so on? Any particular favorite or unusual model that Forza fans should check out right away?

Porsche GT3 RS
Porsche GT3 RS

DG: One of Forza's strengths is its diversity. This pack really highlights that diversity. We've got a race-ready turbo diesel (the Audi R10) right next to a low-performance class inline 4 (the Honda Civic Si Coupe) with tons of upgrade potential. This pack contains cars with classic tires and race compounds. It's got front-weighted front-wheel drive (Honda Civic Type-R) and rear-weighted rear-wheel drive (Porsche 911 GT3 RS). It's got America muscle (Dodge Challenger) and rally-inspired European hot hatches (SEAT Leon Cupra). If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Porsche GT3 RS--what an amazing car. With 415 horsepower, an 8,400rpm redline, and a performance-tuned exhaust, the GT3 RS provides a driving experience (street or circuit) that is truly extraordinary.

GS: Were any of the cars in this DLC pack originally meant for the disc version of Forza 2, or were these all meant for DLC?

DG: Several of these cars have been on the car list at one point or another--that list was over 1,000 cars at different points in preproduction. However, these cars were not built until after the game shipped. It takes a really long time to build and test a high-poly car model that supports upgrades, painting, and damage. As a result, we have to be very careful about what we invest in. It's also extremely difficult to get the amount of reference we need for new cars, and especially concept cars. Often the manufacturers don't have the data finalized until the car goes into final production. Our most reliable way to get reference is to contact a real owner (rather than a manufacturer) and arrange to capture the car, including a dyno session to get the audio.

GS: How does the team decide what cars get put in these packs? Is it knock-down, drag-out brawls in the Turn 10 conference rooms, or is there a slightly more scientific approach?

DG: [Laughs.] Knock-down, drag-out brawls, as well as some bribery.

GS: In terms of development, how long does it take for a typical car model to go from concept to playable in Forza 2? How does that compare to the original Forza?

DG: Generally, its takes a car 11 to 12 production weeks to go from reference complete to playable in the build with a full team of car artists, data researchers, and sound designers working on it. We have several of these teams, so this work can happen simultaneously on different cars. Also, we can speed up the production of each car by combining several car teams onto one car--as we did for the cars of the Nissan and Peugeot pack. However, it can get really bogged down if we can't find or capture a good reference.

Lamborghini Miura
Lamborghini Miura

In the original Forza Motorsport, it took a smaller car team 6 to 7 production weeks to make each car. It's easy to inflate production numbers by counting them in man-years. For example, a team of 6 people working for 11 weeks to build a car equals more than one man-year to complete. However, that kind of mathematical tomfoolery is pointless. To answer your question best, I'd say it takes four times as many man-hours, but we do it in only twice the time by applying more people and technology. Needless to say, 300-plus cars equal an army of artists, researchers, sound designers, and testers, as well as some cool tech.

GS: Do you have an idea of how many cars will eventually be created for Forza 2 when it's all said and done? At what point does the team move away from DLC development and turn its full attention to Forza 3?

DG: DLC packs are like birthday presents for the game and the community--a big part of enjoying it is the surprise. That said, it's safe to say that we'll have several more gifts to share with the Forza community before we turn our energies full time to working on the next Forza.

GS: The last DLC car pack kicked off a Nissan-themed tournament. Will we see something similar for this DLC pack?

DG: We don't have anything scheduled, but [Turn 10 community manager] Che [Chou] and the community team are coming up with cool new twists on tournaments and time-attack scoreboards every week. Some of the more obvious competitions will involve customization contests and hotlap challenges for these new cars, but they're also working on a bigger initiative to bring together the painting and tuning/racing subcultures within the Forza community. There are several ideas I've heard so far on the table--the most interesting one is where we have tournaments that are sponsored by the best artists on the scene and the winners of the tourney receive rare, one-of-a-kind cars from these artists.

GS: After this release, we'll have two DLC car packs. When can we expect new tracks or other goodies in Forza 2? Care to drop any hints on what you have planned next?

DG: We have a lot more in store for the rabid Forza community. It's much easier to "quickly" turn around a cars pack than a track pack. Of course, "quickly" being a relative term in next-gen game production. Tracks take upwards of 3 to 5 months to build, plus testing and iteration time--not to mention the reference collection and coordination trips. That said, DLC tracks are on the way. We started working on DLC tracks at the same time we started the Nissan pack.

GS: Thanks for your time, Dan.

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