Open worlds and driving games are a combination that just makes a lot of sense. There’s a reason so many people talk about the “open road” after all. The sense of freedom in simply blasting around the open world of Forza Horizon is something you just can’t get from a track-based racer, which shunts you between courses with nothing in between.
Forza Horizon 3 moves the experience to Australia, after previous stints in Colorado and the south of France/Italy. It’s a big departure from what’s come before in terms of the type of world players will get to drive around, as it was when Forza Horizon 2 shifted from the American countryside to a more street-based city focus.
The diversity that Playground Games looks for when creating each new entry in the Horizon arm of the Forza franchise is a big draw for fans. You can almost guarantee at this point that any new Horizon game will be a vastly different experience to the last. In this new game players can expect to be able to experience the Australian outback in all its glory, recreated by the team at Playground for maximum enjoyment.
“If you look at the architecture, the foliage, the wildlife you will recognise it as very authentically Australian but then what we have to do is piece that together into an open world. As much as we’d love to be, we’re not the tourist board. We need to make games that our players can get into and that work for progression and fun and great driving experiences.
The Forza Horizon series is all about laidback fun. One of its main draws is that it doesn’t take itself seriously – it’s not as much about competition as the Motorsport arm of the series. Yes, you can get into races with other cars in these games – in fact that’s a big part of how the progression works.
But sometimes those races will be against a train. Sometimes you’ll be racing a stunt plane, sometimes a blimp. In the gameplay demo shown at Microsoft’s E3 press event on Monday they showed a race against a jeep suspended from a helicopter. These races have always been massive amounts of fun to play in previous iterations, and they look great to play in Forza Horizon 3.
And then there’s the open road. Forza Horizon 3 will allow players to explore an approximation of Australia at their own pace. There are collectibles and plenty of challenges to defeat hidden throughout the map, no question. But sometimes it’s fun to just blast through the world in a fast car and enjoy the view.
Forza Horizon 3 launches for Xbox One and Windows 10 on September 27, 2016.