The playable area of Forza Horizon 2 will be three times bigger than that of the original game, Playground Games has revealed, with the player now able to take the race off-road and drive through forests, vineyards and up hills.

"We've taken the view that, if there isn't a barrier in the real-world, if there isn't a wall, there shouldn't be one in our game," creative director Ralph Fulton told IGN. "We want the player to be able to drive wherever he can in the real world."

"So that means that not only is the world of Forza Horizon 2 bigger than the one in Horizon, it also has three times more driveable area; a three-times bigger play space. Which means that you're no longer constrained to the road. You can take the road, or you can hoon off it, through a fence. Through a vineyard. Through a deep forest or up a hill. Suddenly we're really realising that sense of freedom that people feel is so important to Horizon."

The game's Southern European setting will let racers drive through the South of France and parts of Northern Italy, IGN adds, with over 700 events crammed across the game world. Finishing everything, Fulton says, will take players "well over 100 hours".

"We have far more content than we've ever had before," continues Fulton. "More than 700 events across the world, contributing to, I think a conservative 100 percent completion time of well over 100 hours. We have absolutely packed this game with racing, with non-racing, with discovery, and the ability to just point your car in any direction and just explore. So that's freedom."

It isn't yet clear whether the Xbox 360 version, which is being developed separately by Sumo Digital, will feature the same sized world as the Xbox One version.

The first screenshots of Forza Horizon 2 were revealed earlier today, offering an early glimpse at the game's new weather system.

The game launches on Xbox One and Xbox 360 this autumn, with the first teaser footage expected this Friday, June 6.