Though it’d been expected for a few months now, one of the highlights of Xbox’s E3 Briefing was the announcement of Forza Horizon 4, the latest edition in the arcade spin-off series of Forza Motorsport, and arguably the better series. Just face the facts, Motorsport is boring. Free roam racing through lovingly recreated rural and urban environments is the new hotness.
This fourth iteration takes the series to Britain, which will likely play havoc with any American gamers not used to driving on the other side of the road. The gameplay trailer gave us a good look at the changing seasons and how they’ll affect gameplay, along with the announcement that Horizon 4 will feature an online world populated with fellow players as standard.
Of course, we’re cheeky sods, and there are some things that we want Playground Games and Forza Horizon 4 to deliver upon. Here are the seven things we’d like to see from the upcoming racer.
1. The Brexit Bus
Put it in there Playground, you cowards.
2. Seriously, more themed vehicles
We don’t actually expect Playground Games to deliver on the Brexit bus, just like we don’t expect the Conservatives to deliver on any of their Brexit promises, but let’s not make this political. The trailer for the game showcased a number of interesting vehicles, including a massive hovercraft practically bulldozing its way through the countryside.
The Forza games have always experimented with more non-traditional vehicles. Forza Horizon 3 allowed you to race around in the Warthog from Halo, and Horizon 4 looks set to be no different, but we do want more. Specifically something more British. If we can’t do sick jumps across the fields of Britain in a Hackney Cab or a Double Decker bus, then what’s the point?
3. More Showcase Events
Some of the best highlights of the Forza Horizon games are the inclusion of Showcase Events, which are special races against unique opponents. Previous games have seen you race against planes, trains and other automobiles, and the potential is there for some fantastic events with Forza Horizon 4.
Off the cuff, we could think of a race against The Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Display Team, along with a race against the Virgin Train line, which would be easy considering the trains are always delayed. Talk about a free win. Bonus points if they include an Italian Job themed race with everyone in a Mini Cooper S. That’s just low hanging fruit.
4. More Cities
The majority of the trailer and gameplay presentation was spent showing off the idyllic British countryside, which looks beautiful, but only Edinburgh has been confirmed as an urban environment so far. Though Horizon games usually focus more on the countryside rather than the cities, we do think there’s some great possibilities in exploring other cities.
The obvious answer would be London, though if it was truly accurate, you’d be spending five hours caught in a traffic jam on the M25. Instead, we hope Playground Games incorporates the likes of Manchester and Liverpool into the game, cities that offer fantastic urban architecture with history and culture in spades. The idea of racing around the Albert Dock at 150 mph is a tantalising one.
5. Online As An Option
The idea of a shared world that combines all players is a fantastic one, as it instantly makes the environment feel more alive. AI racers are fine, but they just don’t have that layer of unpredictability that comes with a random player doing their best Dukes of Hazzard impression through the nearest barn. That’s obviously much more exciting.
That being said, taking things online automatically attracts that kind of troll who ruins the experience for everyone. The one who has a truck with all the upgrades that just bullies all the other players because the only way they can enjoy things is at the expense of others. You know, pricks.
For Forza Horizon 4, Playground Games should introduce measures that allow players to enjoy the frenetic nature of the online experience without worrying about being griefed every five seconds. Something similar to the Passive Mode in GTA Online that makes you immune to shenanigans would be welcomed here.
6. Use That Online Mode To Their Advantage
While we’re at it, let’s just borrow more ideas. When free roaming in GTA Online, random events occur that task the players with getting the fastest speed, longest jump distance and so on. Making events like that a key feature of Forza Horizon 4, offering prizes in the form of credits, will make the online world more compelling.
But they could always do more on a grander scale. Periodically, the game could designate a portion of the map for a large event, like a 20 player game of tag. Players could then be given an option using the quick navigation menu on the d-pad, which again feeds into the other point that Playground should ensure that the online world accommodates all players.
7. No Mods
A more serious one here, but one that’s worth mentioning. In Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport 7, the team radically changed up the game’s formula by introducing prize crates. These crates messed with the in-game reward economy, as the ability to customise your difficulty to earn more money was replaced by mods.
Mods made the game more or less difficult, changing your credit payout as a result, but they had to be earned randomly through these crates. This practice made one of Forza’s most unique features practically redundant as a result, and soured many players on the game, and rightly so.
The prize crates themselves aren’t necessarily the issue here. The Horizon games have been utilising a random prize draw system when you level up to grant cash rewards and cars to the player for a while now, and it should continue. However, the idea of granting game-changing mods randomly is a terrible one, and one that Forza would do well to move away from in the future.