During this year’s E3 conference, Microsoft unveiled Forza Horizon III which will be set entirely Down Under. It’s being billed as the largest, most diverse and beautiful open world the Forza team has ever built. Well, duh! It’s bloody Australia, innit! But just how Aussie is this game going to be in reality? We asked the art director Benjamin Penrose to spill the beans. As it turns out, Fazza 3 is pretty flamin’ Aussie…
The third entry in the Forza Horizon series ushers in a host of new features and gameplay modes, including automated Cross-Play support for Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs in the same game session. There’s also a new four-player campaign co-op mode and more than 350 vehicles at launch, including the Lamborghini Centenario and the yet-to-be-released 2017 Ford Raptor.
But really, we just want to know whether the game “gets” Australia. So we asked Benjamin Penrose to state his case. Here are the seven most Australian things in the game…
#1 Every state is featured, ya nobs!
“We have a bunch of unique ecotypes in the game that are all representative of real locations in Australia. We have rainforests, we’ve for the Gold Coast’s Surfer’s Paradise as an urban city environment, we’ve got sections of Coober Pedy, some gorge areas including Ormiston gorge, and some general outback loveliness. So there’s lots of variety in terms of environment that we’ve crammed in this time and they’re all genuine Aussie locations.”
#2 The sky is Aussie AS!
“The thing that is 100 per cent from Australia is all of the skies in the game. All the stuff you’re seeing was captured in location in Australia. We custom built a 12k camera rig, sent a guy out and he camped out in a field with those cameras and was there for 24 hours capturing photos to create a time-lapse. So all the time of day stuff, the way the clouds move, the way sunsets evolve over time; it’s all the real deal.”
#3 It’s got a flamin’ 1951 Holden Ute. Streuth!
“There’s a bigger focus on Australian vehicles this time around. We couldn’t [set a game] in Australia without having some genuine Australian heroes. So we’ve got the oldest Holden Ute in there. We’ve got the ’74 Sandman and of course the latest and greatest utes from Holden. All the Australian cars include full cockpit views, working lights and wipers and can be explored fully in ForzaVista mode.”
#4 It’s (probably) got Barnesy and the Oils!
“The way we started thinking about music for Horizon has evolved. We actually had a big initiatve for Horizon 3 which was letting people drive to the music they love. So the way we’ve done that is a two-pronged approach. Firstly, we’ve got more radio stations than we’ve ever had before with more Australian music than before. [Note: Microsoft is still clearing licencing for these tracks so they weren’t allowed to mention them.] We also have Rude Radio intergrated into it so you can upload your own MP3s and tracks from your personal music selection onto your One Drive and stream it from a playlist.”
#5 All of the voice actors are dinki-di Aussies!
“We went out and got real Australians to do all the voice overs. We wanted to be authentic with this stuff. We did the [voice recording] work all over, but made sure we were using genuine Aussies.”
#6 It’s got ‘roos and crocs! Flamin’ heck!
“We went nuts with wildlife this time to really make the world feel alive. We’ve got rabbits, kangaroos, crocadiles and maybe even a few drop bears. The kangaroos were difficult to scuplture and scan: we had a whole animation team studying bounce cycles to get it right. There were a couple of times we watched the animation coming together and were thinking “do they really look like that?” They have a very unique way of moving.”
#7 You can do sick doughies, ya cants!
“Like in Forza 2, there will be gameplay location areas where we house all the multiplayer modes. We’ve also added custom built arenas. So this is the place to do burnouts and show off.”
So there you have it. Does it pass the sniff test? (Which is to say, does it smell like meat pies?) Let us know what you think in the comments!
Chris Jager travelled to E3 2016 as a guest of Microsoft.