Forza Horizon 2 Features a Kinect-Enabled Digital Assistant -- How Will You Use It?

Microsoft explains what kind of Kinect functionality its upcoming racer will offer.

Although Kinect is no longer something developers can rely on every Xbox One owner having, it's continuing to be put to use in certain games--and you can now count Forza Horizon 2 among them.

Microsoft's upcoming racing game will feature an "on-board digital assistant" known as ANNA that functions as a GPS. Microsoft tells GameSpot that, by using Kinect voice commands, you can set your destination by stating the name of the location you want to reach. Once you've done this, you'll be guided to your location by what Microsoft hilariously refers to as "the acclaimed Forza 'green line.'" This will likely sound familiar to players of the original Forza Horizon, which offered a similarly convenient, Kinect-enabled GPS feature on Xbox 360.

ANNA, set me a green line to the sky.

ANNA can also be used to find events you should play next based on your progress: by simply asking, "What should I do next?" you'll be given event recommendations. ANNA also tracks what friends are doing; should a friend start an Online Road Trip, for instance, you'll be alerted so that you can can easily join his or her game.

Horizon 2's Kinect functionality is limited to voice only--Microsoft says it "does not feature head-tracking or motion controls." (Last year's Forza 5 offered limited head-tracking for looking around a car's interior.) This follows Turn 10 creative director Ralph Fulton telling the Examiner that the game would feature a Kinect-enabled assistant who is "very intelligent and will suggest things to do in the game and give you a recap when you return to the games," as well as "alert you when friends are online."

The Xbox One version of Horizon 2 is primarily being developed by Playground Games, developer of the first Horizon, while Sumo Digital is handling the Xbox 360 version. The two will be "different games," albeit ones "inspired by the same ideas" when they're released on September 30. For more, check out GameSpot's E3 preview.

Does ANNA's Kinect functionality sound like a feature you'll use? Are there any uses for Kinect that you wish were included? Let us know in the comments below.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com
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97 comments
VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

I want to hear more about the differences between the two already If they are different enough, I'll end up buying both.

guydude3412
guydude3412

I thought the Kinect was completely useless in games. Honestly, the Kinect is great at adding little touches in games that are nice, like in dead rising 3. Games made for Kinect; not so much. This implementation of it is great. Reminds me of Cortana

Rafficus_III
Rafficus_III

Another Xbox article, another comment section with a handful of Sony fanboys being ridiculous for the sake of validation.

bourne714
bourne714

Damn, that actually sounds pretty damn cool.

eternal_napalm
eternal_napalm

Good to see the gimmicks are still very robust. At 30 fps, something X.boners say is "unplayable"

origkillmachine
origkillmachine

I'll use the hell out of it. This is the kind of stuff I'm glad to have kinect for. Calling the map and setting waypoints with voice? nice. I already use my Kinect for seamless voice chat in Forza 5.

THE_RECLAlMER
THE_RECLAlMER

I honestly love my Kinect. 


"Xbox Record That", "Xbox Scan A Code", "Xbox Snap", and "Xbox Mute/Unmute/Volume Up/Volume Down" (while gaming it is awesome) make the Kinect 100% worth the money for me.


The face scanning for profile sign in is pretty cool, too.

BelaidKL
BelaidKL

Do I use the Kinect? Yes.... But with the amount of controller features Microsoft are adding to the console I get the vibe that I'm no longer going to need it to use a lot of the features (Like Snap or Xbox Record)... That being said, I do like what it can do.. Wouldn't be too upset if the next iteration of the Xbox One came with a built in Kinect that merely registered voice commands and didn't have a camera... Because I haven't used a motion control since launch (not a real reason to)

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

kinect is pretty much useless in these kind of implementations. most of the times kinect won't even hear me or understand what we say… when friends come over, ofter it will think we are shouting "XBOX" and start doing commands when we are not…..

in the other hand, it's fun to use as leaning in BF4, for example. or for fitness itself.


but still, kinect > PS4 camera. now that thing is useless regardless.


(before you start throwing rocks, I do own both http://www.gamespot.com/images/1300-2544119)

liquidbutter
liquidbutter

The Kinect is great. That's why nobody at any of the E3 Press conferences mentioned it by name. Even for the games that require it.

srushtatxbl
srushtatxbl

People who protect the kinect saying that they couldnt imagne not having it for the xbox on function is lying to themselves. Even if you can start the xbox with the voice, the first thing you do after saying xbox on is to start up your controller and that starts up the console without the kinect so stop lying to yourselves.

Kinect was is and will always be crap. I tried to trade the kinect2 where i live at gamestop and they said they wont take it, ever because they wont sell it, ever.

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

Sorry, Microsoft, but I'm taking advantage of that trade-in from gamestop to get rid of this piece of crap.

GrenadeLauncher
GrenadeLauncher

Kinect guff. Zzzzzz.


In after Sevenizz, blackce, sammoth, sladakrobot and the rest of the Xbox tools come in to shill.

MajinSquall
MajinSquall

simple i won't because the kinect is crap and mine is stuffed in a draw with the rest of my unwanted crap i can't get rid of

Halo05
Halo05

I think the quickest and most correct answer to the headline is, "I won't use it."

ghost140
ghost140

All I hear about the uses for Kinect is its voice recognition/commands, nothing else. So in that case would not a built in microphone on the X1 work just as well or do we really need a $100 peripheral?

gunnmetal
gunnmetal

people say kinect is pointless but i use "xbox on" every single day lol or "xbox watch much music" im not even in the same room or xbox turn off then yes and it turns off my denon amp my tv and my xbox. so sweet just that its worth having. plus its hd camera with skype. 


who in here uses the "xbox on" voice command raise your hand.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

@guydude3412 All the voice command stuff they add to games is great... but I agree. The complete and utter lack of anything even resembling functional that was made specifically for the kinect (outside some quirky casual games like fruit ninja, and wreckateer) is a testament to how secondary and essentially useless this peripheral has become.

Really, we aren't doing anything more with this thing then we did with the PS2 eye toy, or an Xbox Communicator Headset.

godaintr3al
godaintr3al

30fps is the normal for a console open world game... Stupid...

MigGui
MigGui

@THE_RECLAlMER so basically, you paid $100 for a mic. I hope microsoft do something good with the device, which is pretty strong but underused today. you shouldn't need kinect to say "xbox do something", it could have a mic in itself or a headset.

eternal_napalm
eternal_napalm

The NSA loves you. They send their appreciation :)

ERRMAHGERD
ERRMAHGERD

@THE_RECLAlMER I'm not in the anti-kinect boat either. I'm not even an xbox guy, I'm on the PC side of things, but I honestly see the future in it.

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

@THE_RECLAlMER the face scanning is the best part I think. it's fast, easy and works like a charm.

rasterror
rasterror

@GrenadeLauncher So you're a Sony fanboy coming into an Xbox article and complaining about MS fanboys? Genius!

sammoth
sammoth

@ghost140  Nobody said you need it. It's purely optional. I use the voice command for some thing and hand gestures. Nothing wrong with having the option to use it.

s2i2p2i2o
s2i2p2i2o

@gunnmetal The voice feature is nice, but it still sucks that you need a Kinect to use it. Why not just have a mic built in for the console or controller? It's just so stupid.

TabularBeast
TabularBeast

@gunnmetal I am dependent on my Kinect now. Using my console without voice commands just doesn't feel the same. I am on my Xbox every day for at least 5-6 hours and I use voice commands a lot. They make everything more fun and easy.

rasterror
rasterror

@gunnmetal @eternal_napalm Wow! I thought he was 14. That's pretty pathetic. Maybe he'll meet someone desperate enough took move him out of his mommy's home.

THE_RECLAlMER
THE_RECLAlMER

@MigGui @THE_RECLAlMER Not exactly, man.


Xbox scan a code brings up the camera to scan a code instead of typing it in. Facial recognition also uses the camera. The camera can also see who is holding the controller and assign players based on that. Also the camera sees you put down the controller and if its not in use, will turn it off.


Anyway, though I understand where you're coming from, I don't think wearing a headset is as practical as having a Kinect, and a Kinect is pretty much "a mic in itself" except you can disconnect it, or now purchase one without it. Doesn't seem bad to me.


Its does a lot more than my PS camera, tbh.


Oh, and in Aus to get a PS4 ($550), and a PS Camera ($99) is more expensive than getting the Xbox with Kinect ($599).


Anyway, I love both my systems, and can see value in both.

bourne714
bourne714

Yea I can hear the guys at the NSA talking now, "we have been trying to get a lead on this guy for years. He's been wanted for not returning a copy of Skryim back to Redbox,, but today he showed up on our radar when he logged into his new Xbox One! We got him now!"

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

Inorite? Why world a peripheral induce such anger? You're only omitting a great feature. It's like driving a Cadillac without using any of the cool convenience features.

West123
West123

@sammoth @ghost140 that cant be your argument now...it was a mandatory buy for along time now its optional...but anyway im not a fanboy and i would own a xbox for forza but unfortunately xbox is not in my region i hope that changes 

gunnmetal
gunnmetal

@s2i2p2i2o @gunnmetal you can still have voice command with the mic, its motion capture skype and face recognision that wont work...

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

I *sigh* whenever I have to turn on or off other consoles without voice commands.

guydude3412
guydude3412

Well, the Kinect should honestly never leave casual games like you said and dance games. It does add these little quirks, and it adds to the overall experience. And for the voice commands, they are pretty cool. contrary to what many Sony fans say, it works 95% of the time. The only command that gives me trouble is Xbox, on. It doesn't work with a lot of background noise, which no voice recognition will, whether it be Xbox, playstation, siri, google now, or Cortana.

Edit: Forgot to mention that when people say they are yelling at it, they are usually saying the wrong command. Happens to me sometimes, then I remember the right command and it works fine

MigGui
MigGui

@THE_RECLAlMER @MigGui I understand it has its uses, the camera sees you and does some background stuff. but it's not what was promised, it was to become frontline in gaming, it hasn't delivered. now it's an overpriced auxiliary device that you pay $100 for it to see you and say "hello"... I really hope it goes beyond that, because it has lots of potential, much more than the camera, as you mentioned.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

But...why? Or, do you not even own an Xbox One?

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

Oh look, my stalker has arrived!

s2i2p2i2o
s2i2p2i2o

@gunnmetal @s2i2p2i2o I guess. i'm just not one of those who wants a camera on my laptop or phone. At least not one pointed at me. When I skype I'm usually in my chair in front of my computer, looking ....not-so-sexy, to say the least. :P