At Microsoft's E3 press conference on Sunday, the company announced Forza Horizon 4. Going against popular fan predictions and requests that this year's open-world racing game take place somewhere in Asia, Horizon 4 is headed to developer Playground Games' home of Britain.
The headline feature this time around is the addition of dynamic seasons that not only change the appearance and driving conditions of the English countryside but also available game routes and events. It's unclear how often in-game seasons will shift but the stark differences between each period are evident. You might start your Horizon 4 campaign in beautifully clear, dry summer weather but log on again a while later to find yourself in a full-on January blizzard.
What's more, weather condition changes will be synchronized to all players worldwide, which makes sense since Horizon 4's virtual sandbox will, by default at least, be an online "shared world." Yes, this game will replace the AI cars that populated past games, or "Drivatars" in Forza parlance, with real, live, online players.
Need for Speed from 2015 had a similar set up that was widely criticized for prohibiting players from playing at all offline or properly pausing the game to, y'know, go to the washroom. ("You can't pause an online game, mom!") Here's to hoping this year's Forza has an offline mode for introverts or is at least a little better executed.
Here's a short trailer starring Horizon 4's cover car, the McLaren Senna.
The game will feature more than 450 cars at launch. On Xbox One X, players will now be given the option to play in a new 60 frames per second mode, presumably, in exchange for a lower pixel count from the default, native 4K.
Forza Horizon 4 will be released October 2, 2018 on Xbox One and Windows 10. Xbox Game Pass holders will have full access the day it comes out as part of their subscription. Those who pony up and pre-order the Ultimate Edition can play early on September 28.