(AP) -- The next installment of Microsoft's flagship racing franchise won't offer any clunkers.
When "Forza Motorsport 3" is released for the Xbox 360 in October, the latest edition of the popular driving simulator will feature hundreds of high-end cars. Since debuting on the original Xbox in 2005, the "Forza" games have thrust players inside virtual vehicles meticulously modeled after real rides, a painstaking process created by developer Turn 10 Studios.
"We put our hands on every car," said content director John Wendl.
The racing sequel will include over 400 automobiles, about 100 of which have never been parked in a "Forza" game. Several sport utility vehicles and classic muscle cars have been added, as well as 2010 models like the Fiat 500 Abarth SS and Audi R8. Wendl said the game's customization system would let players pimp out even the meekest of rides.
"You can do full engines swaps, along with suspension, brakes and all these other things that make the car way more high performance," Wendl said. "You can get a Honda Fit to a point where it's putting out close to a 1,000 horsepower, generating downforce and it's got racing slicks on it. It will beat up on a lot of cars in the game."
The third "Forza" game boasts over 100 tracks, from actual circuits such as France's Le Mans and Spain's Catalunya to fantasy tracks carved into the terrain of Italy's rugged Amalfi Coast and Spain's mountainous Montserrat region. Wendl said the real-world locales are copied "inch perfect" to their counterparts, but they're not as fun as the make-believe courses.
"Real race tracks tend not to be as visually interesting to look at because they're designed to be very safe," said Wendl. "They're designed for spectators, but we're in a video game. We don't have to worry about anybody getting hurt, so when we create fictional environments, we can build them to be visually dramatic and really fun to drive."
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