I haven't really played much Forza since the second game, and my biggest concern going into a recent preview event here in San Francisco was what Turn 10 Studios was doing to bring the wayward back.
Forza 4's Car Club alleviated my concern, and in a way that I didn't expect. I'm not a member of any club or institution -- wary of elitism and membership -- so why did I find the Car Club so intoxicating?
Ostensibly, it's a more robust Autolog. You have friends, they join your club, you share cars with each other and engage in activities either against each other or against other clubs.
At the event, I appointed former Joystiq editor Xav de Matos (currently of Shacknews) as my caporegime. After about an hour of Forza 4's campaign, we each unlocked several cars. He checked out my Ford King Cobra and I perused his plethora of four cylinder hatchbacks. It was great that I got to sample cars I hadn't unlocked or purchased yet, and that I got to discover that we both had opinions on RWD versus FWD. There we were, two dudes who weren't real big car buffs, transformed via Forza 4's Car Club.
"The first channel is updated monthly," Greenwalt says. "There will be new things coming in there. We can set the race rules on the server, so challenges can be cockpit view only, or we could open it up. We can do whatever we want with it and we've got several different modes in there to play."
Being part of a Car Club in Forza Motosport 4 felt so much like my own personal Fast & Furious film, I had to ask Turn 10 creative director Dan Greenwalt one simple, yet entirely important question: Do you live your life a quarter-mile at a time?
"I've got twins. I live my life one school year at a time."