At a Microsoft showcase during E3 2012, Playground Games' Ralph Fulton demonstrated the upcoming Forza Horizon and divulged many of the game's key features. Here's what we know so far:
- The Forza 4 physics engine underpins Forza Horizon, and Horizon can even be played in full simulation mode with assists off.
- Exact comments on the Forza Horizon's framerate would not be given, and while the game was smooth and rich in detail it didn't quite look like it was running at 60fps - other online reports have stated it's 30fps.
- The game began development 2 years ago after Playground Games' Ralph Fulton met Turn 10's Dan Greenawalt in LA to discuss ideas on how to broaden the Forza franchise.
- The idea behind the open-world Forza Horizon is that it's part racer, part autoshow and part summer festival - known in-game as the Horizon festival.
- UK DJ Rob Da Bank was consulted on how to give the game its festival feel.
- In-game actions can score you points, and the aim of the game is to notch up enough points to become the most popular racer in the festival.
- There are 30 different skills and combos you can pull off to get points. Ones spotted in the demo were: Drift, Air, Burnout, E-Drift, Wreckage, Landscaping, Near Miss, Speed, and Mach I.
- The game starts with you in 250th place in the festival, with you overtaking other AI players in the rankings as you rack up points.
- The game is set in Colorado, and currently has 206 different roads to drive.
- One of the events seen was the Speed Zone, which challenges you to drive as fast as possible down a certain stretch of road. Your fastest times will be tracked and published on the leaderboards, and the game will make use of Forza's Car Clubs and Rivals mode to update you with your friends' best times.
- The game features a 20km draw distance, and Playground Games promises that you can drive to any area in the game if you can see it.
- The Forza physics engine updates 360 times per second.
- Forza Horizon has 65 different surface types, including off-road types like farm tracks and dirt trails.
- The roads will feature both civilian traffic and other racers from the Horizon festival.
- Forza Horizon has a dynamic time of day system.
- The game can paint the series' familiar green arrows to your next destination, and these objectives can also be set with Kinect Voice Commands.
- Cars can be purchased with in-game credits and real-money Car Tokens, just like in Forza 4.
- The full car roster isn't currently finalised, but so far we saw Bugatti and BMV garages.
- All the single-player game types can also be played online.
- Rivals mode will be updated every month after launch to keep things fresh.
- Forza 4's playground multiplayer modes, which Turn 10 states are just as popular online as the straight racing events, will also be around in Forza Horizon's multiplayer mode, albeit with some changes.
Forza Horizon will be released for Xbox 360 on October 23.