When Sony came out and announced the Playstation 4, it was a big flarkin’ deal. They held a super private media get together at a posh location and live streamed the whole thing to the world. It was all very exciting, except for those of us who love racing games. We all were hoping that we would see Kazunori Yamauchi step out onto that stage and say “hey, we are 90% done with Gran Turismo 6!” Instead, we got was a trailer (an awesome trailer but still a just a trailer) for “Drive Club” which looks great but does not have the gravitas behind it that a well established franchise such as Gran Turismo does. While there is obviously still a chance Gran Turismo 6 will be announced at E3 2013, I have yet to hear anything that would indicate its going to happen.
Since that Sony meeting passed the world gaming community has been waiting for Microsoft to make its move. Well, they finally announced that…that they will make an announcement. Xbox will be holding an event next month on May 21st and many predict that it will introduce the next generation Xbox to the world. Exciting for gamers in general but what’s in it for us racing fans? Well I’ll tell you…
At a location that I can’t tell you about, a person/ninja whom I cannot name, back flipped out of the shadows and told me that it is nearly certain that Forza Motorsport 5 will be announced along with the new Xbox. It is unknown if this will happen at the May 21st event, at E3, or in a stand alone event but the word is it will be announced within the same time frame.
You might be asking why I would trust a ninja who stalks the shadows. Well this particular ninja happens to be a very well connected insider in the gamming community. However, since neither Microsoft, Turn 10 Studios, nor Dan Greenawalt have made any announcements or even hits on the matter I still have to chalk this up to rumor and speculation.
But if I were a betting man I would put every dime of my savings, which adds up to…a dime that we will get some kind of official word about the next Forza Motorsport title sometime between May 21st and E3 2013!
The newest Forza Horizon DLC, AKA “Bondurant Car Pack” brings some serious muscle from all points of the globe. Seriously, this pack has cars from Italy, America, Europe, and Japan! That is a lot of diversity for a 6 car pack! Ok, ok I will stop wasting your time now. Just look below for the car pack list and video preview. If you like what you see then you can pick up the Bondurant Car Pack for 400 Microsoft Points AKA 5 bucks.
Ok, so it took me a little longer than everyone else but my review of Forza Horizon is finally here. I got the game early last week thanks to Turn 10 Studios and Playground Games and all the while I have been diving into this new Forza-venture, doing my best to analyze what Playground Games created. I can say today I finally have formed a solid opinion! So, is Horizon really worth all the hype that everyone (including myself) has given it? Is it really just another “arcade racer”? Will this be a black eye on the face of Forza Motorsport’s legacy? Or is it every bit what many of us hoped it would be? Scroll down and to find out what I think. Also stay tuned this week for a special treat I am putting together just for you guys!
Today the Forza Horizon demo was officially released on Xbox Live so that the world can get a taste of whats to come on October 23rd 2012. Today was also the day I got a package in the mail. Watch the video below to see what was inside!
It is officially October and that means three things: free candy, SEMA, and Forza Horizon! Horizon hits shelves on October 23rd but Turn 10 Studios has announced that the demo will land in the Xbox Live Marketplace on October 9th. Better yet, when you download the demo you will get a free 2013 Dodge Viper GT-S DLC car with a special livery when you buy the full version of the game and play online! The demo will feature a few events from the Horizon festival and a section of Horizon’s open world will be available to explore. Once players complete the Horizon events in the demo, those events will then become a part of “rivals mode” which will allow players to set their times against each other.
To celebrate the demo announcement Turn 10 Studios released a new full trailer for Horizon and Episode 2 of “behind the scenes” in which we find out how the team scouted several areas of Colorado to help create Horzion’s setting and get more information about the much talked about “barn finds” that will be a part of the game. Watch it all below.
Turn 10 Studios is giving Forza Horizon the limited edition treatment and are prepared to throw in a ton of extra goodies for those who drop the extra cash for the privlage. First of all starting today, Forza Horizon can be pre-ordered and when it is gamers automatically get a DLC code for a Forza Horizon themed Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 in Forza Motorsport 4. That little gift comes with both the limited edition and the regular one.
Pre-order customers will also get a “token” to instantly unlock one of the following cars: 2012 Aston Martin Virage, 2011 Mercedes Bens SLS AMG, 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia, and the 2010 Nissan 370Z. Once customers use their token, the car they pick will be instantly available to them in Forza Horizon. This token is also available to all pre-orders: limited edition or regular.
So, what exclusive goodies does the Limited Collector’s Edition come with? First of all you get a 5 car DLC pack right away (the car list will be announced later), 5 exclusive car liveries, “VIP” community membership, and a VIP “accellerator token pack”. The accelerator pack boosts your career along by giving early access to exotic cars, map unlocks, popularity boosts, and fast passes. In addition to all that, the game will also come in a special “steelbook” cover (as pictured above) instead of the regular green plastic case.
All in all it is not bad deal. If you pre-order you get two freebies no matter what, plus all the cool extra stuff with the Limited Collector’s Edition. However, if you are one of those people who are not about the pre-order thing for some reason then you can just wait until October 23rd (the official release date) to grab your copy.
“Forza Horizon” Pre-Order Details and Limited Collector’s Edition Unveiled
Pre-order “Forza Horizon” and hit the road in this year’s hottest racing game, “Forza Horizon,” available starting October 23
On October 23, it’s all about speed, style and freedom on the open road as “Forza Horizon”–recognized at E3 2012 by IGN, Destructoid, G4TV and Electronic Gaming Monthly as one of the most anticipated racing games of the year–hits the streets. Starting today, fans can pre-order the game at participating U.S. retailers and receive an Instant Incentive download code for a custom “Forza Horizon”-themed 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 that can be driven today in “Forza Motorsport 4:”*
2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392: Remember the days when American muscle was all about straight line speed and knock-you-back-in-your-seat acceleration? Those days have returned with the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392. With 470 horsepower and aggressive styling, the 2012 Dodge Challenger is beauty and brawn combined. Pre-order “Forza Horizon” and get your Dodge Challenger in “Forza Motorsport 4,” now at participating retailers.
In addition, fans who pre-order “Forza Horizon” at participating U.S. retailers will receive an additional token, while supplies last, to unlock one of the following four cars that will be instantly available when the game launches this October:
2012 Aston Martin Virage: Plush luxury meets awesome performance in the 2012 Aston Martin Virage. Comfortable enough for a long Sunday drive, yet sporting a blistering 490 horsepower V12, the Virage continues Aston Martin’s legacy of creating cars that deliver prestige and performance.
2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: While Mercedes doesn’t refer to the new SLS AMG as the “Gullwing,” this car is absolutely the return of the famed automotive icon. With more than 560 horsepower, the SLS AMG is a track tamer nearly without equal, and its classic, sophisticated lines will attract car lovers of every stripe.
2010 Ferrari 458 Italia: A new Ferrari is always cause for celebration, and you can still hear the cheers from fans of the 458. The famed Italian automaker went above and beyond the call with this gorgeous example of road-devouring art. The 458 produces 562 horsepower and has a top speed over 200 mph, giving it the kind of performance needed to master the world’s greatest race tracks.
2010 Nissan 370Z: The long line of Z model cars has a prestigious history and loyal following, but anyone can appreciate the beauty and power of this Japanese masterpiece. The 370Z features grippy handling and drift-worthy rear wheel drive, motivated by a 3.7-liter, V6 with more than enough juice to excite even the most die-hard of sports car enthusiasts.
Become an Instant VIP with the Limited Collector’s Edition
Also available for pre-order today is the “Forza Horizon” Limited Collector’s Edition that includes a “Forza Horizon” branded Steelbook™ containing the game disc and a “Forza Horizon” Festival Ticket that grants access to a valuable assortment of exclusive in-game content, including VIP Membership for “Forza Horizon.”
VIP Membership opens up a new level of exciting content for “Forza Horizon” players, including an exclusive five-car VIP Pack available at launch (more details to be shared soon), special recognition in the Forza community and exclusive access to VIP-only in-game events.
The “Forza Horizon” Festival Ticket also unlocks additional digital content for “Forza Horizon,” accessible through Xbox LIVE, including:
Five-car Launch Day Add-on Pack (more details to be shared soon)
Five Exclusive “Forza Horizon” Limited Collector Edition Car Pack liveries
“Forza Horizon” Accelerator Token Pack**
* “Forza Motorsport 4” game and Xbox LIVE account required to activate.
** “Forza Horizon” Accelerator tokens will allow you to speed up your career with instant access to exotic cars, in-game popularity spikes, fast passes and instant map unlocks.
A few months ago Turn 10 studios released an incredibly vague trailer for a game they called “Forza Horizon“. The trailer was comprised of a few glamour shots of high end cars on a road that seemed to be in the middle of no where, traveling to some type of event. After that teaser trailer was released it left most with way more questions than answers. What is Forza Horizon? When is it coming out? Is this Forza 5? What’s with the party scenes? What if God was one of us? Ok maybe no one asked that last one but all the others queries were being thrown around forums all over the internet.
Well today I can officially give you some real answers to many of those questions. Yesterday I was invited to a very low key and very exclusive pre-E3 Forza Horizon event at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Los Angeles. At this event a handful of journalist including myself got a primer to what Forza Horizon is all about and more importantly we got to play an early build of the game before it will be exposed to the rest of the world on the E3 showfloor tomorrow so in this post I will give you some of the answers you may have been looking for, my impressions of the game, and some new screenshots! In a day or so we will have more content and an exclusive interview with the developers behind Forza Horizon. For now seek your answers below!
What is Forza Horizon?
The number one question after the super-vague teaser for Horizon was released was “What is Forza Horizon going to be?” The short answer is that Forza Horizon is going to be an open world “action-racing” game. Instead of sanctioned events happening at race tracks all around the world as in previous Forza games, in Horizon players will explore a somewhat imagined area of the Colorado Desert in a free open-world way. When I say open-world I mean that players are not restricted to race tracks or even the road. You will be given a large area and you can drive where ever you want, when ever you want to along highways and by ways of this magical area of Colorado. While on these roads you will encounter other AI controlled cars that may want to race you or are just part of normal traffic.
There will be something of a central hub called the “Horizon Festival.” The Horizon festival is the focus of the game and why you are out in the Colorado desert in the first place. In the context of the game’s story think of the Horizon Festival as a cross between the Goodwood Festival and the Coachella music festival with a dash of Gumball 3000 thrown in for additional flavor. It is where speed, music, and hoonage come together. From a functional standpoint the Horizon Festival is where all the different game modes live. Whenever you decide you want to end your drive around Colorado, you return to the Horizon Festival and from there you can enter car shows, join street races, or multi-player events like racing or some of the other “playground” modes that are popular in other Forza games like “cat & mouse” and much more.
Why did Turn 10 decide to make this game?
The overall mission statement of the Forza Motorsport franchise and the ultimate goal of the team at Turn 10 Studios is to, and I quote “Turn car-lovers into gamers and turn gamers into car lovers”. This mission as been at the core of everything that has been put into each Forza game to date. However, Dan Greenawalt (creative director) felt that perhaps maybe the simulator-based Forza games to date are not as “kid-friendly” as he would have liked them to be. For teenagers and older people all Forza games have been awesome but due to their hardcore, simulator nature may have been a bit daunting to the younger audience.
It was this thinking that inspired Forza Horizon. Turn 10 wanted to create something that had all the refinement that enthusiasts would expect from a Forza game but in a package that can be easy to pick up and play for just about anyone and still be a lot of fun. When I say “fun” I mean being rewarded for doing things that would otherwise get you thrown in jail or at the very least cause you to lose a race. In Forza Horizon smashing through road signs and picnic tables is encouraged. Drifting around a canyon road will earn you points, and just barely threading your way between two cars on a busy street is not frowned upon. Although just like any other racing game, crossing the line (when there is a line) first is always the ultimate goal. Now, the idea of an open world racing game like this is not new. It has been tried before by EA Games and their “Need For Speed” franchise and also by Atari with their “Test Drive” games but none of them have really pulled it off without having the problem of repetitiveness or a feel that was too “arcade-y” with unrealistic physics and over the top presentations.
Forza Horizon is how Turn 10 plans to succeed in this area where others have failed.
However, the guys at Turn 10 knew that to take on such a project would be too much with everything else they have going on so they brought in a new studio based in the UK called Playground Games to develop Forza Horizon.
Who or what is “Playground Games”?
As I mentioned, Playground Games is a small development studio based out of the UK. What is special about Playground Games is that they are a small team comprised of individuals to bring you some of the best racing games from across the pond like the Collin McRae series, DiRT, GRiD and more. As you may have guessed many of the Playground Games team came from Codemasters, the studio behind DiRT and the new crop of F1 games. Playground Games is headed by Ralph Fulton who was formerly a manager at Codemasters and significantly contributed to DiRT2 and F1 2010.
What cars will be in the game?
It is very likely that Forza Horizon will not have the same vast library of cars that Forza Motorsport 4 has, but Playground Games went to painstaking efforts to go through that same library to pick the cars they felt are the most unique and would be the most fun within the context of what Forza Horizon is going to be. An official car list has not been released but from the demo and the screenshots it seems confirmed that the new Dodge Viper will be in the game as well as the R34 Nissan Skyline, Nissan 370Z, and Ford GT will be in the game. It should also be noted that while Playground Games picked cars from the Forza library, each car in the game was still re-created from scratch specifically for Horizon but each car still has the same stunning detail that we come to expect from Forza games.
Is Forza Horizon “Forza Motorsport 5″? Should I be worried about the direction Turn 10 is going?
The answer to both of those questions is “No”. Forza Horizon is definitely not “Forza 5″ In fact, I can very safely assume that part of the reason why Turn 10 Studios put the project in the hands of Playground Games is so their core team can continue to work on the next Forza Motorsport game. That said, there is no reason to fear that the Forza experience that we have all come to know and love has suddenly turned into something completely different or that it will go away. Furthermore, fans of previous Forza games should not shy away from Horizon due to its premise. While the idea may sound like some of the games you’ve hated before, Forza Horizon is still a “Forza” game. I will explain what I mean by that.
As I mentioned earlier, I had a chance to get my hands on an early build of Forza Horizon. Like many of you out there, I feared that I may not like where Forza was heading with this title. After a few moments of playing the game myself I can say that I am a serious believer. When playing the demo I got to pilot the new Dodge Viper around the Horizon area of Colorado and it was awesome! I was racking up points for drafting, drifting, and smashing through things but at no time did I ever feel like I was playing a wonky arcade racer. The physics felt exactly like Forza. The controls are tight and responsive. There was no “floaty-ness” or delayed handling. All the precision and accuracy is still there. This is due in thanks because Playground Games had vast access to Turn 10 Studios physics engine including the same Pirelli tire physics data used in Forza Motorsport 4. All of that in an open world, “action racing” package and it all worked together beautifully. Even when I tried the demo with driving assists off the realism of the car’s physics and the wacky goals of the game still worked together perfectly. Also, players will finally get to drive at night in a Forza game. Since Horizon is an open world environment the time of day will gradually change from day to night as the players hang out and race in the virtual space. There will also be instances where players are encouraged to race off road on dirt, gravel, various other surfaces.
Another feature that I found fascinating but did not get to try was the kinect functionality. With the Xbox Kinect players of Forza Horizon will have a voice activated GPS system. Lets say you are out on the open road trying to find a specific location but got turned around. Simply say something like “GPS, Horizon Festival”. The green line that usually would normally show us the fastest way around a turn will now show up to guide players to their spoken destination. While it was not mentioned, we imagine that the Kinect will also have the same functionality that it does in Forza Motorsport 4 as well in regards to controlling cars with just your hands and no controller.
When is it coming out?
As of now Forza Horizon is set to release on October 23rd 2012 in the Americas and Asia. Europe will see Horizon released on October 26th 2012.
Well it is difficult to come to a solid conclusion based on my limited time with the game and other information that will still remain a mystery for at least another few months but what I can say based on my experience and what I have heard from both Turn 10 Studios and Playground games is that I think Forza Horizon will convert a lot of “hardcore” gamers who think they are too good for this type of thing as well as bring in that younger audience that Turn 10 is longing for. I will get some more time with the game on the E3 show floor and once I do I will give some more feedback on my experience.
Also stay tuned for an exclusive interview with Dan Greenawalt of Turn 10 Studios and Ralph Fulton of Playground games to get even more insight into Forza Horizon.
Mother’s Day, the release of the Avengers, the Indy 500, and my birthday all happen in the only three lettered month of the year which make’s May very, important. Today Turn 10 Studios just gave us another reason to look forward to next month as that is when the Top Gear DLC pack will be released on Xbox live! Cool right?! Unfortunately there are no two-engined limos or amphibious RVs in the 10 car pack but we do get the hopelessly fast Hennesy Venom GT and the immense awesomness of the Ford Transit Van! Yes the transit is finally coming to Forza! Can you imagine playing Top Gear soccer with that? You won’t have to imagine much longer as the Top Gear pack comes out on May 1st for 560 Microsoft Points AKA 7 bucks. Scroll below for the full car list and official trailer
If there is one thing that the guys at Turn 10 Studios strived for when making Forza Motorsport4 was authenticity. The team flew all over the world to visit race tracks and scan real live versions of all the cars you can play in the game. They also do extensive sound recording for each car to make sure that the exhaust note is just right. Generally speaking getting a car for sound recording is not very hard for them. They can rent or borrow just about any street car they need for recording. However they ran into a bit of a problem when they decided they wanted to put the legendary Mazda 787B 4-rotor LeMans winner in the game. It’s engine is so rare that the only way to get a recording was to go through Mazda and get one of the original race cars.
Getting Mazda to bring out one of the original cars is a feat in and of itself. However, that turned out to be only half the battle. Once the team got a 787B in their possession they realized that the 4-rotor’s wail was so powerful that it exceeded the limits of what their highly specialized audio equipment could capture! How did they manage? Check out the video below to find out.
Ever want to know how a Bugatti Veyron goes from some rich guy’s garage into your virtual Forza Motorsport garage? In the latest installment of their “Making Of” series the guys from Turn 10 Studios not only explain how they digitize cars into the game but how they find cars to digitize into the game in the first place. This is good stuff, watch below.