We have little more than a month to go until Forza Motorsport 6 hits the Xbox One and in a behind closed doors session at Gamescom in Cologne we found out even more about the driving game sequel that will set it apart from its predecessors.
During E3, developer Turn 10 touched upon rain effects and how water on the track will affect driving. That was expanded upon at Gamescom.
For example, rain will only really occur on tracks where it makes sense, such as Silverstone in the UK and Germany's Nürburgring. And as such, those tracks were prioritised when it came to laser scan them and test each element for friction response, in both dry and wet conditions.
That's why, when it rains in Forza 6, cars handle exactly as expected, depending on the amount of water gathered and on what surface. Even the painted road markers have a different friction property to the tarmac. And with the exact same undulations on the overall track as appear on the actual counterpart, puddles occur exactly where they would for real. And where there are puddles, there is the risk of aqua-planing.
Hitting a body of water at speed can completely take grip out of the equation - just watch any of the rain-soaked Formula One races over the years, where cars zip across puddles and off the course. It all makes for a more realistic, but more importantly, more difficult racing experience.
Night time races come to the Forza series for the first time too, with such stark realism that you get the impression that being a real racing driver is as hard a job as you are likely to get. You can barely see anything in front of you at night, even with full headlamps, and it is mainly instinct that gets a driver around the track successfully.
But the addition to the franchise that we're most excited about is leagues. Multiplayer racing is great, especially when you can have up to 24 cars in an online race, with Turn 10 boasting that there will be no drop on the 1080p 60 frames per second action. However, grouping players into similar styles and categories, and then giving them leagues to compete in with similarly skilled opponents is a masterstroke.
There is a career mode and drivatars, plus a whole series of showcase challenges and racers presented by celebrities including ex-Top Gear illumni, but working your way through a league table to become the best - there is no better way to qualify your abilities. That's where you'll find us from day one of release. And 450 and more ForzaVista cars might help sell copies, but we feel it will be the leagues that get players coming back time and time again.
Microsoft also revealed during Gamescom that it will be releasing a Forza Motorsport 6 Xbox One bundle with a 1TB hard drive and blue skin inspired by the Ford GT, which features in the game. It will hit the streets on 18 September (in the UK) at the same time as the standalone game.