The Turn 10 team loves cars. It’s evident by the passion in their voices when they talk about their games. Their ultimate goal is to make gamers into car lovers, and car lovers into gamers. While they have made a name for themselves with their Forza games, they are heading in a new direction with Forza Horizon.
The team wants everyone to know that Forza Horizon is not an arcade racer, but an action racing game. While they say the game will be accessible from the start, the car will be the star. In other arcade racers the cars feel the same, but you can feel the difference dramatically between the different cars in Forza Horizon.
The theme surrounding the game is the Horizon Festival set in Colorado. The festival is where car enthusiasts are meeting. If you have a hot car and want to show it off, this is the place to be. You can not only show off your car, but also drive other cars that you normally wouldn’t be able to. It’s a place where competition meets culture.
The team actually went to Colorado to get a look at the landscapes and see what they could do as far as creating races. Most of the time they just need to worry about the pavement, but Forza Horizon is an open world game with many different road types. Dirt roads are one of the challenges the team has to handle, as well as gravel and farm tracks. Even off-road racing events aren’t out of the question. The engine they are building is so advanced that it translates the action 360 times each second.
While the vistas of Colorado and the drivers in the races will provide a challenge, these roads aren’t deserted. There will be some AI cars on the road that will make those courses more interesting than the races on a track. You won’t be going against heavy traffic like the Burnout series, but you’ll still need to keep your eyes on the road for oncoming traffic.
Part of the reason that the Turn 10 team chose Colorado was the scenic views. They couldn’t believe the different colors across the state. The browns and reds of the rock formations, the green grass of the plains, the greys of the buildings in the city, they knew that the state would be a great place to capture the variety of cars that they were dealing with. It would be a challenge as well to capture the spirit of the state, but they certainly are up for the challenge. While some areas will be directly translated from roads in Colorado, other areas will be fabricated. With Kinect, you’ll be able to bring up the map on your GPS and ask it where certain areas are and where you can find certain events.
The team is taking their time selecting which cars are going to be found in Forza Horizon. They are asking themselves what particular cars they would be proud to own to show off at the Horizon Festival, and which cars will have features that will take advantage of the terrain. Only a few cars will be available at the start of the game. If you have a save game from Forza 3 or Forza 4, you’ll instantly unlock extra cars that you can use.
The developers promise to include an extensive multiplayer experience, even without any race tracks in this free roaming world. They will have races over specific sections of road, and you’ll be able to race against your friends and try to beat their best times. You won’t race against them at the same time, but asynchronously. When your friends are on the road, party games like Tag and Cat and Mouse will be available.
I have to wonder if Forza Horizons can escape the pitfalls of Test Drive Unlimited, and if they can integrate the single-player and multiplayer events simultaneously. More details of the game should be coming out soon though, because its release date of October 23, 2012 isn’t too far away.