13 Fast Facts About Forza Horizon 3
By Scott Butterworth | @Butterwomp on
What's on the horizon?
Massive World Map
The new Australian map is the largest and most diverse open world in Forza history. In fact, it's approximately twice as large as Horizon 2's map. More importantly, it contains a huge variety of environments, including beaches, jungles, the Outback, and a modern highrise city. This should translate to new driving experiences, namely off-roading and 4x4 racing. The world map we saw was dotted with dozens upon dozens of event icons, which Fulton says will take ''easily 100 hours or more'' to complete.
New Vehicle Types
Horizon 3 also contains more cars than its predecessors: 350 in total, with entirely new vehicle types like off-road buggies, trophy trucks, and even classic Australian muscle cars like the '74 Sandman.
Authentic Natural Beauty
In order to capture Australia's breathtaking natural beauty, the team created a custom 12K HDR camera rig and captured hours of footage of the Australian sky, which will allow the game's artists to create dynamically changing skies that match the weather and time of day. When you see some clouds rolling in, just remember, those are authentic Australian clouds.
The Horizon Festival Returns
Horizon's festival-focused career mode returns, but this time, you're in charge. Whereas previous games cast you as a newcomer, it's now your job to run the festival, deciding when to move or expand it. While it's not clear exactly how or to what extent you'll be able to exercise control over the festival, Fulton promises a full storyline within the campaign.
Customize Every Event
Though the broader impact of your new role as fest manager remains unclear for now, it does allow Horizon 3 to introduce a new feature: Horizon Blueprint. Basically, you can now customize nearly every aspect of every event--from the time of day to the required vehicle type. You can then rename the event and share the results with your friends. Your custom events will also appear as options when your friends activate event locations you've previously customized, though they can just stick with the default event created by the developers if they so choose.
Make New Events From Scratch
You can also create your own Bucket List Challenges entirely from scratch, employing the same tools the developers use. Chart a course, change the music, and complete the run yourself to set the difficulty. Once you've fine tuned your challenge (or beaten a friend's), you can then pass the event on to other players, which Fulton hopes will allow worthwhile challenges to essentially go viral.
Fully Cooperative Campaign
If simply sharing events isn't enough, you can also compete alongside your friends throughout the campaign thanks to the added four player co-op--a franchise first. According to Fulton, you can play as much or as little of the campaign in co-op as you want, but regardless of who's hosting or how long you play, all your progress will automatically transfer back to your own game, meaning you'll never have to complete the same content twice.
Hire Your Friends' Drivatars
When your friends aren't available, you can still include them in your game by ''hiring'' their Drivatars--which, as returning Horizon players know, are basically custom AI racers that mirror your driving habits. As the festival boss, you'll need to recruit star drivers to compete, and who better than the folks on your friends list, right? You'll earn rewards anytime your Drivatar is hired, so keep your lap times low and your win-rate high to remain an attractive competitor.
In addition to the usual collection of sprint races and time trial events, Horizon 3 now officially offers Danger Sign Jumps. As the name implies, you can find more than 50 ramps/jumps/cliffs scattered around Australia and compete to set distance records and more. These jumps are part of a ''suite of ambient gameplay,'' according to Fulton, which still includes challenges like Drift Zones and Speed Traps.
New Vehicle Customization Options
Horizon 3 also adds a wealth of new customization options such as rally and off-road parts. You'll find body kits and other officially licensed gear from new partners like Rocket Bunny, and can even choose the driver that appears inside your vehicle.
Upgraded Auction House and Storefront Tools
Forza's trademark Auction House and Storefront return, but both have been revamped to make finding rare cars and following your favorite custom livery creators easier than ever. This means additional filters and a new section reserved for elite painters whose creations are consistently rated five stars. You can even jump directly from the Auction House to the seller's Storefront, making it easier than ever for committed artists to grow their following.
Stream Your Own Music In-Game
Music remains an important part of the Horizon experience, so the team has added more radio stations that'll let you blast everything from hip hop to heavy rock (which, somehow, weren't options in previous games). There's even a Groove station that will let you stream your own music in-game, assuming it's saved to your Xbox One drive.
Xbox One and PC Cross-Play
Horizon 3 will launch simultaneously on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs--another franchise first. According to Fulton, developing for PC presented ''lots of exciting opportunities.'' For example, Horizon 3 supports both cross-saves and cross-play--meaning yes, PC and Xbox One players will be able to enjoy co-op together. Its also a cross-buy title, so if you pick up the digital version for either platform, you'll be able to play on the other platform as well for no extra charge.