Developer Turn 10 Studios Publisher Microsoft Studios Format PC, Xbox One Release September 27
Forza Horizon 3, Sea Of Thieves, Dead Rising 4, Gears Of War 4, Scalebound, Cuphead, State Of Decay 2, Halo Wars 2, Recore
Forza Horizon 2 took the first meaningful steps towards justifying the series’ name by pulling down the barriers which lined its forebear’s roads, allowing players to freely explore a compact distillation of southern Europe. With Forza Horizon 3, Turn 10 is offering what could be the best skies to ever grace a videogame. These skies were made possible by the hard-done-by portion of the team who had to spend an entire summer in Australia, the setting for this latest series instalment, capturing the view above them with a custom-built 12K HDR camera rig. The group camped in a field and took thousands of images which were then fed into the studio’s bespoke tech to be spat out in the game as beautiful, dynamic skyscapes. The results are astonishing, clouds rolling across above as weather fronts form and bring with them wet and stormy conditions. The tech also means that the entire sky functions as an HDR light source (a feature
further enhanced by Xbox One S’s HDR capabilities), lending the game an uncommonly naturalistic look as all those Australian rays bounce off the aluminium and carbon of the game’s 350 cars.
The new map is twice the size of Forza Horizon 2’ s and, according to a slightly more woolly Turn 10 metric, twice as diverse too. Expect to thunder over rolling hills, across the outback, through rainforests, along beaches and weave your way through the streets of a high-rise city. From our brief stint at the wheel, Horizon 3 appears to have abandoned the previous game’s Forza 5- inspired floatiness for Forza
6’ s more planted solidity. It’s all just as accessible and forgiving as you’d expect, though, and abusing a supercar’s suspension on the beach is as intoxicating as bouncing a sturdy pickup along dirt tracks.
An appealing twist places you in charge of the Horizon Festival this time around, giving you the power to decide when and where to set up new venues, which events are included, and even hiring and firing your friends’ Drivatars as star drivers. Their achievements go towards your own progression as festival boss, but since there are only four slots you can decide to give underperforming acquaintances the boot. This focus on customisation spills over into the new Blueprints feature, too, which lets you tweak campaign events and share them with friends. And in a smart move, edited events are given the same weight as the official ones, so you’ll still progress your career if you choose to ignore a Turn 10-created event. Whether or not you’ll be harassed by slighted former employees during the race remains to be seen.
Horizon3 features a range of supercars along with the open-wheel racers shown here, so if you’ve ever wanted to trash an F40 on the beach, here’s the opportunity