That Microsoft announced Forza Horizon 4 at E3 wasn't necessarily a surprise, but there was still plenty to be excited about. Xbox has a one-two punch of Forza games with a new one in each series, currently, every two years, though we don't know how long that may continue.
Forza Horizon 4 is not only official, it has been demonstrated to gamers and press in attendance at E3 and the finished article should be with us in just a matter of months. There's still a ton more to learn, but here's what we know so far.
Forza Horizon 4: What's new?
Playground Games is hosting regular live streams detailing Forza Horizon 4 and not only showing off gameplay but gradually releasing more of the fine details.
The recent stream from July 10 delivered a few new tasty treats:
Seasons are much more than just visual treats, the detail affects all aspects of the environment. For example, rivers and streams will have less water in summer than in winter, so any races taking you across these (think a British-style Forza Horizon 3 cross-country race) will have different effects depending on the time of year.
The potholes are real. British drivers will know what this means. But on a serious note, Playground's attention to detail goes right down to recreating real-life potholes with photogrammetry (high-resolution photos scanned into game).
There are castles in the game, with Bamburgh Castle being revealed on stream. Edinburgh Castle is one of the purchasable "homes" in the game, and besides being the most expensive, buying it will gift you a crown and a royal wave emote. Each of the homes you can buy in the game has its own unique unlockable perks.
Characters will have more than 500 clothing items to choose from to customize the in-game look, and the wardrobe is unisex, so both male and female characters have access to every item. There are also a bunch of special costumes and 50 Fortnite-esque emotes. Forza Horizon 4 will let you dab ... for better or worse.
The map is set to be revealed on the July 17 stream. To catch up on the most recent news check out the VOD over on Mixer.
Forza Horizon 4: Gameplay
Forza Horizon 4 will retain the open world nature that we've come to enjoy from the previous titles and adding to it with some new touches for 2018. The setting is a little less exotic for Forza Horizon 4, after locations such as Colorado, Southern Europe, and Australia, this year we'll be attacking the countryside of the UK.
One of the big new features will be the changing seasons, going a step further than dynamic weather which we were treated to in Forza Horizon 3. The full spectrum of British weather will be included across the varying parts of the country represented in the game, bringing their own unique challenges. And yes, it will still rain in summer.
Microsoft is also going to be leveraging its Mixer platform with Forza Horizon 4, though exact details are as yet unknown. It seems like one part will deliver in-game rewards for players who also stream to Mixer.
Forza Horizon 4 is also going to have a narrative approach to some of its gameplay, another new way of playing compared to previous years. The open world is always fun, but the way you played was always the same: Drive to an event, complete it, rinse, repeat.
There's also a big change to how the world is populated. Drivatars are still a thing and you will still race against them, but Forza Horizon 4 will feature a "shared world," where real players will see each other in free roam on shared servers.
Xbox One X owners will be pleased to know that the game will run at 4K, as well as having an optional 60 FPS mode. Either way, that McLaren Senna cover car will look stunning!
Forza Horizon 4: Pricing and availability
Forza Horizon 4 is set to launch on both Xbox One and Windows 10 with Play Anywhere support on October 2, 2018. Folks who buy the Ultimate Edition can begin playing early, though, beginning on September 28.
The Ultimate Edition costs $99.99 but besides early play time also includes the full regular game, Car Pass, VIP membership, the Day One car pack and two expansion packs when they're released. The expansions are due to launch in December 2018 and early 2019.
Also available is the Deluxe Edition which includes the Car Pass and a special Formula Drift Car Pack and will cost $79.99. This version is only available as a digital download.
The standard edition will only include the base game for $59.99 and will be available in both digital and physical forms alongside the Ultimate Edition.
What's next for Forza Horizon 4?
Traditional Forza fare will see a steady trickle of information releasing in the run-up to launch as Microsoft slowly reveals the entire car list. 450 cars in total from 100 licensed manufacturers will be in the game, with the McLaren Senna and the 1997 Land Rover Defender 90 gracing the cover.
We'd expect to have learned the full list by launch, but the next big stop for Forza Horizon 4 will be Gamescom in August. Here, press and gamers alike will likely have a chance to play a near-finished build of the game, as well as filling in more blanks on what we can expect once it hits our PCs and consoles.
Updated July 17, 2018: Updated with the latest details following the July 10 developer stream and links to the current car list.
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