Forza Horizon 2 at Gamescom 2014

Shaun Cole On August 12, 2014
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This article come to us from the FORZA HORIZON website:

More than 300,000 people will be attending this week’s massive Gamescom convention in Cologne, Germany and all of them will have a chance to experience Forza Horizon 2 on the show floor at the Xbox booth. No need for jealousy, however! If you’re looking for the latest Forza news coming out of Cologne, you’ve come to the right place.

Earlier today, we gave fans a big update on the latest news in the Forza franchise. For Forza Motorsport 5, that includes a brand new content update available today, complete with a trailer load of new cars (all arriving for free in the game), cool contests, and more (for all the details,see the full story here).

With Forza Horizon 2, Playground Games has turned its sights on its most ambitious project yet. Of course the game is all about fun, freedom, the beauty of southern Europe but, this week, we’re focused in on the connected features that make Horizon 2 such a fantastic social experience. Let’s kick off our special look at Forza Horizon 2 at Gamescom 2014 with a a closer look at the game’s connected features.

Online in a Flash

Car culture and festival culture are inherently social experiences. We wanted Forza Horizon 2 to feel the same way – something that’s best experienced together with your friends. That certainly means great ways to compete with and against your friends. If you’re a racer, you’ll have plenty of race events to enter. If you love to hot-lap, we’ve got tons of Rivals events for you where you can compete asynchronously against players all over the world in hundreds of events (and more added each month). If you want to play cooperatively, you can check out our Online Free Roam mode. In addition, Horizon 2 makes it easy to compare your performance against your friends – with leaderboards for everything from speed trap cameras to Rivals events, and more.

But it’s not just about competing. Our vision for the connected experience in Forza Horizon 2 is a game that allows you to play online with your friends however you want. Car Meets, a new feature in Horizon 2, bring these social features to life. At a Car Meet, you can show off your UGC creations in a real-world setting and, if you like someone else’s design, you can download that livery or tuning setup, or purchase the car in its exact specs, complete with livery and tune. You’ll find Car Meet locations spread throughout the world of Horizon 2. Here you can get to know your fellow Horizon 2 players, organize impromptu race events while you’re waiting for your friends to join you online, share tips on tuning and driving, and more.

Clubs are another powerful, flexible tool in Horizon 2 that let you play with others how you wish. Clubs exist to bring people together. You might rally together with fellow fans to a certain manufacturer, or form a club solely devoted to drifting, or painting, or photography. We don’t prescribe how you should use Clubs – that’s up to you. Your Club can be private, public, invite-only, or open to friends. You can set up the leadership structure of your club however you please. You can use the Club Noticeboard for whatever you wish – setting up Free Roam sessions, issuing Rivals Challenges, and more. If you’re competitive you can compete with your Club-mates on the Club Ladder – a weekly leaderboard which charts everyone’s contribution to the club. Or you can compete with other Clubs on the Global Club Leaderboard. In the end your Club is what you make it.

Once you’ve gathered your buddies online, and you make the decision to go online, we make that process simple and seamless – no waiting and no lobbies. With just a press of a button you are online with your friends joining you in your world and, from there, the fun is only starting. You can join your friends for a Online Road Trip, travelling from city to city in a guided gameplay experience that includes awesome championship races and playground games before the entire group gets to vote on where to head next in the world. If you’re looking for pure freedom with your friends, you can tackle the game’s Online Free Roam mode, where you and your buddies are free to travel anywhere you want at any time, participating in events when and where you see fit or simply cruising the highways and bi-ways of southern Europe at your own pace.

While online racing events will be plentiful in Horizon 2, they’re far from the only thing available to you and your friends. The popular playground games like King and Infected return, this time with dedicated areas that have been purpose-built for getting the most out of these action-packed games. In King, one player becomes the “King” at the start of a match and tries to keep it as long as possible. All of the rest of the players are trying to catch him or her and “King” status transfers once someone makes contact with the “King.” At the end of the match, the player who has kept “King” status the longest is the winner. “Infected” is King’s” polar opposite: When the game begins one player is infected and can transfer “infected” status by running in to others. In the end, the last uninfected player standing is the winner. Both “King” and “Infected” are great alternatives to traditional racing; events that reward quick reflexes and smart car choices as well.

A Beautiful Trip

Southern Europe comes to life in Forza Horizon 2 and Playground has pulled out all the stops to make sure that one of the most beautiful areas of the world is represented in all its evocative, colorful glory in the game. You probably already know that Horizon 2 is running off the Forza Motorsport 5 graphics engine. Playground has taken that technology and scaled it to the game’s massive open world, at any time of day and in any weather condition.


Dynamic weather changes the look of the world and the feel of the cars you’ll be driving but it’s not the only visual innovation in the game. Playground has implemented Forward Plus rendering as the game’s dynamic lighting solution – one of the first console games to use this technology. Forward Plus rendering enable us to pour thousands of individual dynamic lights into a scene – not just headlights, the sun and the moon, but the thousands of lights which bring the glittering city of Nice to life, and the spectacular pyrotechnics of the Horizon Festival itself.

Freedom of Choice

Freedom can be found throughout Forza Horizon 2. It’s as fundamental to the game as horsepower and squealing tires are to the cars you’ll drive. Freedom means the largest and most varied car list of any game this year; more than 200 cars available at launch at no additional charge, including cars from practically every corner of car culture; from screaming supercars to rough and ready offroaders and all points in between. For more on our ever-growing list of cars, check out our Forza Horizon 2 Cars story, updated weekly with new cars!

Freedom also means a massive open world to explore; a world that is three times as large as the original Horizon, in terms of drivable play space. You can go where you want – crashing through fences and mowing down fields as you race and explore with your friends. Playground has taken all of that open space and filled it with awesome things to do – from new event types like Hill Climbs, Cross Country Races, Bucket List challenges, barn finds, and so much more. In all, there are 168 different championships in the world, containing more than 700 individual events for you to compete in.

In Solo play, the game structure takes you on an epic road trip through Southern Europe. You’ll leave the Horizon Festival in the car of your choice, road trip to a destination and compete in a Championship there. When the Championship is complete, you’ll pick a new car, and the Road Trip moves on to the next destination. You’re always moving around the world and discovering new places, and you’re always selecting new cars to get you there. Your goal is to win enough Championships to qualify for the Horizon Finale, where you’ll bid to become the Horizon Champion in a spectacular endurance race. Where becoming Champion was the end of the original Horizon game, here it’s just the beginning. Once you’re the Champion, you’ll be placed in charge of the Road Trip, and it’s up to you where it goes next.

We’ve also got a great soundtrack, once again curated by BBC DJ Rob da Bank, with more than double the number of radio stations compared to the original game, covering a huge swath of music styles and tastes.


While beauty and freedom are crucial concepts to getting what Forza Horizon 2 is all about, and those social features look to push the racing genre forward in exciting news ways, the heart of Horizon 2 is fun. Kicking it on the open roads in the world’s best cars; an easy-to-learn driving model with enormous depth and variety and an approach to gameplay that rewards players as much for driving with style as it does for winning races.

When playing you’ll earn skill points – think of them as the modern equivalent to Kudos from the Project Gotham Racing series – which you can use to unlock Perks that will give you distinct advantages in the game. For example, you can unlock a Perk that will give you a credit bonus when players downloads your UGC tune or livery, or a different Perk that will allow you to instantly fast travel throughout the world. Which Perks you unlock when is up to you and, the more Skill Points you earn, the more Perks you’ll be able to access.

Finally there are Drivatars, which fill your world when playing solo. Wherever you are in the world, you’ll see the Drivatars of your friends and Rivals and you can challenge those Drivatar-controlled cars at any time in impromptu head-to-head races. Drivatars don’t just learn how you drive in Horizon 2 – they learn where you like to go. Follow one and you might discover an entirely new area of the world (as well as cool new unlockables). Drivatars inject personality in your world and you’ll be surrounded by your friends in the cars they love most, using the tunes and liveries they’ve downloaded for their favorite cars.

Beauty, fun, freedom and connected. That’s Forza Horizon 2. Stay tuned for our next Car Announcement, coming up on Wednesday, August 13, and keep your eyes on for more Forza Horizon 2 news in the coming weeks!


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