For Australia, one of the biggest titles of the year is arguably Turn 10 and Playground Games’ Forza Horizon 3, which will put us behind the wheel as we head across the oh-so-familiar terrains of the land down under. Aside from getting to play the now pretty famous E3 reveal demo, creative director Ralph Fulton gave us an in-depth look at what the game is truly about and what kind of gameplay features we might expect from the game as we near its September 27th release date.
Starting off with the basics, Forza Horizon 3’s different types of cars within its 350-car roster are the heart of the game, as every bit of different terrain in Horizon’s outback requires a different approach. Suspension is key here and even though we all like to fool around with a Lamborghini in ridiculous types of terrain every now and then it might not be the best idea to continue these ridiculous practices as we head into a race against opponents who are clearly more prepared for the bumpy ride that lies ahead. The fun thing about this list of vehicles, however, is that it feels inherently Australian, as off-road buggies, three-wheelers, and other outrageous un-Forza-like vehicles make their entrance in what seems to be this franchise’s most standalone title yet, as the Horizon festival reaches new heights.Speaking of the Horizon Festival, this time round you’ll be put in the driver’s seat of the event as Horizon 3 puts you in charge of the now famous festival. Choosing locations and races, it’s your call where the festival goes and what goes on during the events. This is where the Blueprint system comes into play, which lets you either create and/or play events made by your friends that will become a part of the festival. These events can be customized by location, vehicle type, and weather and above all that, these events all function as official Horizon Festival races, which means that every single completed event will count towards your progress in the game. Along with this, you can hire the Drivatars of your friends to compete in your festival, though you’ll be limited to 4 of them at a time, so choose wisely!
What’s up next is the addition of the Forzathon system, which sets out to continuously breathe new life into the game as players are brought weekly competitions where they can win prizes such as cars that aren’t available to unlock in the main game itself. “It’s not just about the game that we ship on day one. It’s about the game we’re adding to.” Fulton said as he also noted that in the week of October 14th, players will be able to win a Nissan Silvia S14, which, for example, is a car that has been highly requested by the Forza community in the past few years. You can bid on these cars in the auction houses when the winners potentially sell them, but it’s safe to say that it’ll cost you a lot more than usual…But, new additions aside, I wouldn’t be able to finish this preview without noting the visual fidelity of this stunning piece of work. Presented on a 55-inch 4K screen, I was blown away by the vast open world that the dev team was presenting. Using a physical render system, a sky based off of 12K HDR footage of the actual Australian sky and tons of enhancements, Horizon 3 is showcased in a way that we’ve never seen before in the franchise. Showcasing beautiful environments, including some authentic locations, Forza Horizon 3 is a representation of Australia that doesn’t just respect its source material but celebrates it in a great way.
Forza Horizon hits Xbox One and PC on September 27. The game will be available as part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program and will support both cross-save and cross-play.