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A Closer Look At 'Forza Horizon 3'

Thanks to the Xbox Play Anywhere feature, Forza Horizon 3 will be available not just on the Xbox One, but also on Windows 10 PCs. At E3, the developers provided us with a deeper look at what to expect in the latest series entry from Playground Games.

Down Under

We knew from the game’s initial reveal at the Xbox E3 briefing that it would take place in Australia. However, creative director Ralph Fulton provided more details about the location, specifically its size. The map for Forza Horizon 3 will be twice the size of the Southern France/Northern Italy setting in Forza Horizon 2. A bigger map also means a larger selection of cars. The new game will have 350 cars at launch, which is 150 more vehicles than its predecessor.

Fulton also took pride in the game graphics. At one point in the session he mentioned that the sky in the game was actually footage taken from a high-dynamic range (HDR) 12K camera used by the developers when they visited Australia. Obviously, this means that those buying the new Xbox One S later this year will be able to take advantage of the game’s HDR visual quality, which expands the contrast between darks and lights (if you own a TV that supports the feature).

Take Control Of The Festival

Instead of joining the annual Horizon Festival as a participant, the new game will put you in charge of the popular racing event. Aside from joining in on the prebuilt races and championships, this means that you can craft several events of your own with a new feature called “Horizon Blueprint.” You can create your own championship series and manipulate its traits, such as the name, car eligibility, race route and weather. You can also grab some of your friends’ custom championship races and add them to your own Horizon Festival.

However, it doesn’t stop there. You can also create your own set of Bucket List Challenges. Just like the championships, you can choose the car and route for the challenge. Before you send it to your friends and the Forza community, you’ll need to try it out first to ensure that you can actually finish the route in your specific vehicle.

There are also new ways to compete with your friends, one of which is a series of high and lengthy jumps throughout the map. You can set a record for the highest and farthest jump for your friends to beat with a car of your choice. Just like the speed zones in the previous game, Playground Games also added a drift zone so you’ll have another leaderboard to compete in during your time in the festival.

The “Driveatar” system has been used in all Forza titles since its introduction in Forza Motorsport 5. This feature allows the computer to learn your driving skills and habits, and then mimic them so that it can upload your driving “personality” as a computer AI in other players’ games. Obviously, the Driveatar system is back in Forza Horizon 3, but it takes on a bigger role than just your opponents in a race do. You can “hire” your friends’ Driveatar to join your crew as you climb the ranks of the Horizon festival’s elite racers. Fulton didn’t go into details as to how the mechanics of this would work in the game, but we’re sure to find out more in the coming months before the game comes out.

Purchase, Customize, Play

Fulton said that the latest entry in the series had a “big overhaul” in car customization. You’ll be able to add body kits to your favorite vehicle for the first time. There are also more traits to customize for each car, such as the license plate and even the sound of its horn. You can even tailor the main character avatar so that it resembles you in the digital Outback.

The game’s Storefront is another feature back from Forza Horizon 2. In this menu, you can grab custom designs and vinyls from other players. The developers also brought back the Auction House area so that you can buy and sell vehicles to other players.

With the Play Anywhere feature, you can also play four-player co-op on PC or on the Xbox One. If you don’t like the in-game music, you can add your own playlist to the game. However, you’ll need to put all your songs in OneDrive before it’s imported into Forza Horizon 3.

One major criticism of Forza Motorsport 6: Apex (Turn 10 Studio's attempt to bring the Forza series to PC) was that it didn’t include wheel support at launch. In fact, Turn 10 is still working on the feature this summer. However, Fulton said that Forza Horizon 3 would support racing wheels at launch.

Prepare For The Festival

Forza Horizon 3 will be the second entry in the series to make its way to the PC. However, its large map, wide car selection and multiple event customization options are a far cry from what Turn 10 created for the PC, not to mention that Apex is currently still in open beta.

When Forza Horizon 3 comes out, it won’t be in any beta stage whatsoever. It will be a full, finalized game, and if it delivers on its many features, it could attract a wider audience of racing fans on the PC. That is, if you’re running Windows 10.

NameForza Horizon 3
TypeRacing
DeveloperPlayground Games
PublisherMicrosoft
PlatformsPC, Xbox One
Release DateSeptember 27, 2016
Where To BuyXbox StoreBest BuyTargetWalmartGameStop

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  • joshyboy82
    So... can this be a Test Drive Unlimited replacement? Or should I keep waiting for some studio to pick up the reins?
    Reply
  • LLove
    I absolutely adored Unlimited 2! And I've played Horizon 2 to completion, and it is also great. I would definitely recommend getting Horizon 3. I'm case you didn't know. The game The Crew was made by some of the same people that made Test Drive games. Its kind of a spiritual successor. While the map is mind boggingly huge, it doesn't compare graphically, or feel of driving to Horizon. I'm not sure if we'll ever see Unlimited 3.
    Reply
  • joshyboy82
    18213105 said:
    I absolutely adored Unlimited 2! And I've played Horizon 2 to completion, and it is also great. I would definitely recommend getting Horizon 3. I'm case you didn't know. The game The Crew was made by some of the same people that made Test Drive games. Its kind of a spiritual successor. While the map is mind boggingly huge, it doesn't compare graphically, or feel of driving to Horizon. I'm not sure if we'll ever see Unlimited 3.
    I still play Unlimited 2, but 1 was the ground-breaker of the genre, and though they're both graphically similar, I like the attention paid to one island. I'd love a company to buy of the lost 2k rights to the TD series, and make a third. Until then, I get my fix on Grid (not the same game genre, but a good racing game on pc) and ponder buying Project cars all the time. I'm just happier with open world, own pace versus tracks and perfect apexes.
    Reply
  • David Dewis
    I liked the Horizon series when I had my Xbox 360, but since getting my Oculus Rift, I don't think I could go back to racing on a monitor. While the resolution is an issue for some, the depth perception is invaluable as is the ability to check Mirrors and blind spots quickly and naturally. Would love to see Microsoft implement some kind of VR support, especially with increasing rumours of a MS/Oculus partnership with Xbox Scorpio.
    Reply
  • jenesuispasbavard
    So will Xbox Live Gold be required to play these Xbox Anywhere games online? I just switched to a PS4 because of future Xbox exclusives coming to Windows too, and my Gold subscription expires before Forza Horizon 3 comes out ;_;
    Reply