Forza Motorsport 7 released on October 3, 2017. On September 15, 2021, the game will be delisted from the Xbox store on console and PC, and removed from the Game Pass library.
In other words, if you never bought FM7, you have about a month and a half to snap up the game and its downloadable content before it all disappears for good, at least digitally. Such is the nature of game distribution in the age of online sales and temporary license terms.
Of course, this is far from the first instance of a Forza title being delisted, though what makes this particular case a little different is that there isn’t a new entry to take its place.
Before FM7, Microsoft and developer Turn 10 Studios were committed to an every-other-year release cycle for the franchise. That was mixed in with Forza Horizon, so every year you were either getting a new Motorsport sim or Horizon open-world racer.
It was a reliable cadence, though it was ultimately unsustainable. Games only ever take longer to make, and the biennial routine was manifesting increasingly iterative Forza releases. This was particularly an issue for the Motorsport side of things; unlike Horizon, the track-based simulations don’t have the luxury of inheriting an entirely new open world with every release that fundamentally alters the tone of the game.
And so playing FM5, then 6, then 7 began to elicit the same sensations you’d get dipping into the new Madden, FIFA or F1 installment every year. The same old bugbears never really go away, and aside from a few new cars and fewer new tracks, you’re essentially left with UI tweaks and a single-player campaign where all the same furniture’s been rearranged. That left Turn 10 with no choice but to take the time away necessary to realize a new experience with deeper changes, something they’re hard at work on right now.
Unfortunately in the interim, we’ll be momentarily left without a Motorsport title available on digital marketplaces. The good news is that if you do have FM7 or choose to buy it before September 15, you’ll still be able to participate in online multiplayer for the foreseeable future.
The challenges of preservation impact all games across all genres, but they’re especially damaging toward racing and sports titles, or those based on outside films, comics or TV properties. Most racing games these days incorporate licensed cars — unless you’re a monolith like Grand Theft Auto — and those licenses carry with them strict terms that run out. Microsoft could have extended the terms for longer if it really wanted to, as critic Chris Davis explained on Twitter, but that’s not really been how the company’s approached legacy Forza games over the years.
As physical sales become less common, the delisting of software from digital storefronts has resulted in the erasure of a lot of great racing games over the years — from previous Forza and Gran Turismo installments, to lesser-known one-offs like Driveclub that never really received the recognition they deserved in the time they were active. In Driveclub’s case, its servers have long since gone dark, which is especially tragic because the game’s genius relied upon its addictive online component. Without it, it’s barely even worth revisiting — if you can find a way to revisit it at all.
Therefore, if you suspect you may ever want to play Forza Motorsport 7 in the future, or worry you’ll wonder about what you might’ve missed out on years from now, snap it up while you still can. Microsoft has reduced the game’s price to just $20 for the Ultimate edition with all the DLC for the remainder of its time on sale, and that’s a dang good deal for a gigantic sim racer.