The new Ford GT supercar was the undoubted star of the recent Detroit auto show.
While rumours of a new GT had circulated beforehand, nothing quite prepared the assembled crowds for a sight of the real thing.
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Shortly after the car's unveiling, it was announced that Ford's flagship would also be the cover star of the new Forza Motorsport 6 game currently in development.
We wanted to find out how the hottest car in motoring right now was selected to head up one of the world's most popular videogame series, so got in contact with developers Turn 10 Studios, and the firm's Community Manager Brian Ekberg.
evo: What’s the story behind the new Ford and the cover image…where did conversations start?
Brian Ekberg: To be part of the worldwide debut of the Ford GT at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit – and to confirm that people will experience the car for the first time in Forza 6 is really a dream come true and an amazing opportunity for Forza fans. This is also a great chance for Ford to get in front of millions of Forza fans and to show off what is so special about the new Ford GT, and all of the Ford Performance cars and trucks that will be making their debut in Forza Motorsport 6.
For Forza, we pride ourselves on maintaining excellent relationships with all of our car manufacturing partners. We are always working with different automotive brands to bring cool stuff into our games, whether that means awesome contests for our fans or debuting new cars in our game. For us, the reveal of the all-new Ford GT as the cover car for Forza Motorsport 6 has been a tremendous experience.
As for the Forza 6 image shown at Detroit, we worked closely with Ford on a variety of different angles and lighting choices to create an image that speaks to the power and prestige of the Ford GT.
evo: Did Ford give you access to the car? Was it mapped using the same techniques as Forza 5?
BE: Ford has been a fantastic partner. We were briefed on the new Ford GT very early in its conceptual phase, and we’ve been working with the Ford Performance team practically every step of the way, watching the car evolve over time into its current design.
As a result, we’ve had unprecedented access to the new Ford GT, including CAD data and actual physical access to the car itself. This has allowed us to capture the Ford GT with the same level of interior and exterior detail and accuracy that is the standard in the Forza Motorsport series.
evo: The McLaren P1 was very much the star of Forza 5, do you think a car like the Ford GT can compete?
BE: We loved working with McLaren for Forza Motorsport 5 and the P1 is an amazing car and worthy follow-up to their legendary McLaren F1.
In some ways, the Ford GT has much the same mission as the P1 – to meet and improve upon the legacy of an iconic performance car, beloved by fans all over the world. Personally I think the Ford GT is up to the task and I can’t wait for players to experience the car in Forza 6 to judge for themselves.
evo: What was the most challenging part of getting the new cover art put together?
BE: One of the most difficult things was choosing the “best” angle to shoot the Ford GT from – there are really no bad choices! The car looks amazing from every angle but each vantage point also highlights different aspects of its design and heritage.
We wanted to capture some of the more iconic aspects of the front of the car while still highlighting some groundbreaking new elements like the radical flying buttresses that connect the roof with the rear fenders. While the image we showed at NAIAS may not be our final cover shot for Forza 6, I think it does a great job of showing off what is so special about the GT.
evo: In Forza 5 what vehicle took you the longest to get into the game?
BE: We have a refined process for building cars in Forza – each car takes a team of artists and engineers roughly six months to ingest into the game.
While that "ingestion" process is predictable, what isn’t predictable is exactly how we get access to the cars we bring into the game. We use any method we can to source cars – working with manufacturing partners, contacting private owners and museums, etc.
One of the biggest wins for the team in Forza 5 was the 1966 Chaparral #66 Chaparral Cars 2E – a car that had profound influence on race car design in the 1960s and beyond. That’s a car we’ve wanted in the Forza series for years now – and the original car only exists in the Petroleum Museum, in Midland, Texas. We were finally able to contact the 2E creator Jim Hall, fly out to the museum and source the car, bringing this amazing piece of motorsport history into the game.
evo: How did translating the new Ford GT compare to Forza 5? (Was there anything different about the import process?)
BE: The process for sourcing and ingesting cars has largely remained the same – we have a number of different methods for sourcing cars, depending on what kind of access is available to us. That includes everything from laser scanning cars to traditional photography and CAD data.
In the case of the Ford GT, because we have been building the car as it has come together, it meant we have stayed in constant contact with our partners at Ford to make sure that we are all in sync with the latest developments to the real car so we could reflect those features in Forza.
evo: It’s early days yet, but is there anything you can say about the visuals and technology that you hope to implement with Forza 6?
BE: We know that fans are eager to see the game, and we’re excited to debut gameplay and share more information later this year at E3.
evo: The performance data for the Ford GT is phenomenal. Is there a lot of pressure to make it feel worthy of those numbers in the game?
BE: We take the job of bringing cars to life in Forza very seriously. It’s our job to make each car in a Forza game feel unique. That’s as true for your more modest "daily driver" as it is for ultra-performance cars like the Ford GT.
Every car receives precisely the same amount of care and attention because we know that every car in our game is someone’s favorite car of all time. We want to honor that and make sure that everyone who plays Forza understands why each car in our game is special.