New Xbox 360 Driving Game, “Forza Horizon,” Is Set in Colorado
Adam Pettifer writes for Your Local Guardian that “Forza Horizon” “centres around a music and racing festival called, er, the Horizon Festival that takes place in Colorado.” The intro to the game shows your character hearing a radio announcement that the next 10 cars to arrive will be granted places in the Horizon Festival’s races.
“We started doing some quite deep research on just short of 30 real-world locations all over the world. There was one clear winner. That was Colorado in the United States,” says Ralph Fulton, creative director. “It combined all these things — legendary driving roads and fantastic scenery.”
Chris Downey, the game’s lead environment artist, says, “The goal of our first reference trip was really to get an idea of what Colorado was like and just the general makeup of the terrain that was there.”
Terrance Newell, the game’s art director, says, “We came back with video and like, no less than 50,000 pictures.”
“Our goal always to was build our own take on Colorado,” Fulton says.
Then, over scenes from the game, there are voice-overs of the three men as they say: “That festival, wow, it’s sexy every time.” “The lakeside area, with the snow-capped mountains, the plains, to the foothills, and forests, and canyons — it’s just epic diversity.” “Redrock is probably my favorite scene in the game.”
While Wired’s Rigney loves the look of the game, he says:
But something is rotten in Denver. I was checking out a Ferrari in the game’s auto shop, and the game’s narrator popped in to let me know about one of the game’s pricier features.
‘What, you don’t have enough credits?’ she cooed. ‘Why not buy a car token or two? You really need that car you’ve been drooling over.’
Rigney points out that the game’s tokens cost “real-life” money, with each one being worth a dollar. When you buy them in bulk, they are discounted, with a “mega pack” of 105 costing $75. “Is it just me,” Rigney writes, “or does Forza sound just like a freemium game?” He says that unlike other games that charge money for digital items, like “FarmVille,” “Forza” is not free, but costs $60 to buy.
He adds that being “hit up” for money during a free game is expected and not considered an imposition. “In contrast, being asked for more money at every turn while playing something that already cost $60 can really rub players the wrong way,” he writes.
Your Local Guardian’s Pettifer extols the game’s virtues:
There are no circuits in the game. No race tracks. No ovals and definitely no Nordschleife. It’s all about the open road. The beautiful, open scenery of Colorado is very well rendered. You will travel through vast swathes of scrubland, through towns, past dams, over and under bridges and more. The roads are challenging enough to actually require forethought about braking, turning points etc. But they are open enough to enjoy breaking free in every car and really revving them out, right up through all of their gears.
The game’s “open world feel” is bolstered by the option of three radio stations you can listen to while driving, with a great selection of songs, including indie, metal, drum and base, and dustup, Pettifer writes. And, as you are driving, the DJs on those stations keep you informed about events in the game’s world and the Horizon Festival. Pettifer says that the racing is “exciting and pretty tense,” and he calls Forza Horizon “a great game that has exceeded my expectations for it.”