Forza Horizon 4 Hands-on at E3 Small Image

E3 2018: Getting Our Hands Warm, Cold, and Dirty with the Forza Horizon 4 Seasons Demo

Leaving the Australian outback behind for the roads of Britain, Forza Horizon 4 picks up where its predecessor left off by continuing to redefine what to expect from open-world racing games. Now with a shared, synchronized world where time of day, weather, and seasons will change at the same time for everyone. Players will be challenged to explore a shifting landscape through muddy, icy, wet, and dry conditions with new and unique themed content and challenges as each of the four seasons change every week.

At this year’s E3 2018, I had a chance to get some hands-on time with the latest build of Forza Horizon 4 that showcased each of the game’s seasons in bite-size chunks: the crisp roadways of Autumn, the snow-covered hills of Winter, the slippery off-road tracks of Spring, and the clean roads and high speeds of Summer.

Forza Horizon 4 Forest Trucks

The great part of a feature-filled demo experience like this is that you can immediately get a sense for each vehicle’s controls, how they vary, and how each of the seasons will affect a car’s performance, either by expertly sliding by a rival across a frozen lake in the Winter in the RJ Anderson off-road race truck, or slinging mud through mountain backroads in a rallycross-spec Ford Fiesta, which also showed off one of the game’s signature showcases where a motocross stunt team jumped around me ala “Mad Max: Fury Road” as we bounded through the mud-soaked forests.

The demo also features four challenges for E3 attendees to complete, again giving a small sample size for some of the activities that are in store in Forza Horizon 4: setting a top speed in a Speed Trap, accomplishing a successful top-3 position, landing a big air jump, and then winning an outright sprint to the finish line. All this action was contained in one small section of the larger world map; it just felt that much larger as the seasons contributed to making the areas feel and drive that much more unique.

Forza Horizon 4 Winter House

The real star of the show is the game debut of the 2018 McLaren Senna, revealed yesterday during the Xbox E3 2018 briefing and can be seen in-person during its North American debut at the Mixer booth in the Los Angeles Convention Center during E3.

The immediate sense of speed of the Senna in-game is impressive – at times it felt like I was hanging on for dear life — as I weaved in-between pedestrian cars (and sheep) along the British countryside and, naturally, busting through stone dykes as I understeered a tight turn on the roadway. Like previous entries in the series, much of the environment in Forza Horizon 4 is destructible. It won’t stop you dead in your tracks but will impact your speed and vehicle performance when you do run into fences, walls, and shrubbery. And no, you can’t hit the sheep. We tried.

Forza Horizon 4 Autumn Drive

A lot of the series mainstays will return in Forza Horizon 4, like car collection and customization featuring over 450 vehicles from more than 100 manufactures, playing alone or joining in multiplayer races, and open-world freedom to drive and go where you want. New for Forza Horizon 4 will be a robust set of character customization options for clothing, accessories, and emotes.

While not shown during this demo, some of the newer features coming this year besides the impressive Seasons feature will be the option to create your own racing routes with the Route Creator to share to the larger Forza community, and Xbox One X players will have the option to play the game in native 4K at 30fps, or play in 60fps at a lower resolution.

Forza Horizon 4 Beach Bums

With a historic location like Britain to explore, a variety of seasons to challenge our racing aptitude, and new open-world challenges, there’s a lot to look forward to in Forza Horizon 4. We’ll have more to share on this exciting racing game soon. For all the latest news on Forza Horizon 4, Xbox One, and E3 2018 keep it locked to Xbox Wire.