In the fourth installment of the open-world driving franchise, Forza Horizon 4, gamers and car enthusiasts will be motoring around jolly old England. FH4, set to come out October 2, 2018, takes place all around the United Kingdom, and brings the joy of not only driving stupid-fast cars but also watching the seasons change around you.
The Horizon franchise, a spinoff of Forza Motorsport series by Microsoft Studios, takes drivers off the racetrack and out into the world. The games focus on the fictitious Horizon Festival that blends music and cars into one mammoth event. Players complete a variety of races to progress through the campaign, while various side objectives—taking photographs, painting vehicles, tuning your rides, discovering rare cars—appear to make the world feel more real.
FH4 isn’t changing the winning formula; but it makes a few adjustments. Players will experience seasons for the first time in a Forza Horizon game. Each season will last one real-world week, giving gamers a new playing experience. This isn’t a simple aesthetic change: Lakes will freeze during winter while rivers dry up in the summer, transforming the landscape and opening up new areas of exploration as the calendar progresses. To wite, the developers refined the weather effects and the fine details of how different conditions affect your driving.
Game developer Playground Games is also changing how you play FH4. This time, there is a shared online world with none of the always-online headaches. Each server will feature up to 72 players who experience the same synchronized game. Other players won’t be able to crash into you or disrupt your gameplay unless you want them to. You can chat and interact with other players, too. And if all that online interaction isn’t your cup of tea, you can play FH4 with Drivatars enabled. This is Forza’s way of bridging real-world drivers with in-game AI—Forza uses the driving style of other players, through the Xbox Cloud, to create more realistic gaming experience for those playing alone. A robust multiplayer campaign is also available.
In FH4, players can experience Horizon Life, a new feature that allows them to play FH4 the way they want to. Gamers can buy homes, progress through the campaign as they see fit, and even get a job. No, you won’t put in eight hours flipping burgers—think of a high-speed taxi driver or stunt driver. In short, FH4 takes the franchise from a simple summer event and turns it into a life experience in the game.
You can’t talk about a racing game without mentioning the cars, and FH4 is filled with to choose from. While the list is exhaustive and full of new and classic cars you’ll love to drive, Mitsubishi is noticeable absent. Turn 10 Studios was unable to secure licensing rights to the automaker’s portfolio. However, players can choose from a slew of Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Fords, Vauxhalls, Aston Martins, and more. Each vehicle will have a unique skill tree, but as of now we have no details on how the system will work.
Customization is a huge part of the Forza Horizon experience, and FH4 continues that tradition. Alongside customizing cars, players can customize their characters with 14 available presets plus 500 apparel options and 50 emotes.
The campaigns have gotten even more expansive. In previous Forza games, you’d drive through the Colorado countryside or Australian Outback dodging traffic while searching for new gameplay missions that might include point-to-point racing, speed challenges, lap racing, or beat-the-clock races. You could just explore, too, looking for hidden missions, rare cars, or unique vistas. But the gameplay always revolved around the Horizon Festival.
FH4 changes that, immersing gamers in car culture. If a player wants to spend time painting and customizing cars, there will be a progression system in place to reward that player. The same goes for the game’s photo mode. FH4 is a game that lets players play how they want, even if that means not focusing on the racing while giving racing fans more missions, challenges, and rewards than ever before.
FH4 hits shelves October 2. Because the game is made by Microsoft, it’s exclusive to the , , and , as well as Windows PC. Three different editions are available: ($59.99), ($79.99) and ($99.99).
The Standard Edition comes with the FH4 Formula Drift Car Pack. The Deluxe comes with the FH4 Formula Drift Car Pack and FH4 Car Pass. The Ultimate Edition comes with all of the Deluxe Edition’s add-ons along with the FH4 Day One Car Pack, FH4 VIP, FH4 Expansion 1 and FH4 Expansion 2. The Expansion packs add new vehicles, locations, and gameplay while the car packs expand the game’s car selection, often adding 10 new and unique vehicles. The Expansion packs will debut in December 2018 and early 2019. Car Pass adds 42 new vehicles over 21 weeks – two a week while the Day One Car Pack adds 10 new vehicles. Expect additional car packs in the months after launch available as downloadable content.
Subscribers to Xbox Game Pass ($9.99/month) will have the Standard Edition game available for download Oct. 2 as part of the subscription service with no additional fees.