Gamescom 2018: Forza Horizon 4 Hands-On Preview

August 23, 2018

Transcribed from notes taken by Adam Ghiggino

At Gamecom 2018, Rocket Chainsaw Editor and Founder, Adam Ghiggino, had the opportunity to try out Playground Games’ Forza Horizon 4. The game marks the second time the Horizon series been released on PC and the developers have listened to feedback and will provide what they hope will be the best Forza Horizon entry yet.

Set in Britain, the demo began with a car driving through a field of purple lilies. The colours were striking, which isn’t something one would normally expect from a British setting. The PC version will have a new Benchmark mode that allows you to optimise the game to suit your PC build. To name a few of the settings, you can turn on ultra widescreen support, configure FOV (Field of View), and can change graphical settings to go beyond Ultra. HDR, Dolby Atmos, Xbox Play Anywhere and Cross Play are also supported.

The big new feature for Forza Horizon 4 is Seasons, which allows content in the game to be played in four different ways. For example, playing a race in Autumn effects handling due to water puddles along the road and deformable sections of mud in the countryside. Winter brings snow and ice onto the race course. Seasons will last a week in-game, and will be the same for all players. New challenges and seasonal events will be added by the development team at the end of each season. Playground Games are promising that no two Winters or Springs will be the same, as at the end of every four-weeks (i.e., a four season cycle which is the the equivalent of an in-game year), a new update will be rolled out to bring new features to the experience. The idea is that if you buy the game in October this year, it will be unrecognisable the following year.

Forzathons make a return in Horizon 4, giving players something new to do every hour every week. The stock in the Forza Shop is constantly changing, so it sounds like there will be a lot of content for players to unlock.

Forza Horizon 3’s map was criticised for not having much verticality, but by including the Scottish Highlands in Forza Horizon 4, Playground Games have looked to actively address this. The Highlands will feature lots of bumpy hills and plains for off-road fun.

Clubs will also be returning, though Playground Games were honest in saying they hadn’t reached their original vision for the feature so far. However, with the introduction of clubs on the Xbox platform itself, the developer believes they can meet their original vision in Forza Horizon 4.

A brand new mode is Team Adventure, which is the first truly competitive online PvP mode for the Horizon series. This mode can only be played in teams, and is designed to make everyone feel important as all players will contribute to their team’s score rather than one really good player hogging all the glory. Teams will compete in special races and challenges, dubbed “adventures”. There is also a Ranked Adventure mode where teams compete in 10 qualified “adventures” and can change their position in a league ladder. Performing well means your team will score various in-game goodies, such as Super Wheel Spins and other items. Teams can have up to 25 members, though only 6 can compete in “adventures” at any time.

The demo ended with a look at the Halo Experience Showcase, which was leaked online a few weeks ago. In the event, you play as Halo protagonist Master Chief and take to the wheel of a Warthog. Your aim is to race to an extraction point with a Pelican. The race includes an array of Halo-themed props, with Covenant shields, weapon stashes and the Halo rings appearing in the background. Cortana radios in to talk about the English countryside while you drive, and banshees will fly by. It’s only a short experience, but a very cool one that will appeal to Halo fans.

Forza Horizon 4 is scheduled to be released on October 2 on Xbox One and PC. Players who purchase the Ultimate Edition will be granted early access from September 28.