E3ODUS [E3 2018 Preview]: Forza Horizon 4 / The Crew 2.
FORZA HORIZON 4 (Playground Games/Microsoft – Xbox One, PC – TBA 2018) – Cars. While racing games have clear-cut niche audiences there’s no doubt that when executed as well as a Forza game has over the past several years, the genre can and should be taken very seriously. I’m not much of a real life gearhead at all, but when it comes to the immersive beauty of getting behind a vehicle in wondrous 4K/HD detail — there’s nothing like it. After the visual spectacle that was Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport 7 last year (a studio I mistakenly called Take-Two on the last GHG podcast; forgive me), comes Playground’s Forza Horizon 4. Or at least we think so.
After the lush setting of the Australian outback that was in my personal 2016 GOTY (yes, that doesn’t say “racing,” “sports”, or “niche” before GOTY), Forza Horizon 3, many have claimed the Playground heading towards the UK— simply for the fact many British cars such as a London Black Cab and even 007’s Aston Martin were implemented in FM7; these fans are basing it on the Australian car carryover from FM6 to FH3. Hmm. And, just a week or so ago spec artwork spotlighting Hong Kong (and Tokyo) with Forza cars was nixed for being Xbox 360-era concept art. That’s a shame.
Perhaps the best “news” of all is that Playground Games, now owned by Microsoft, is working on a Fable game (we’d have a preview for that too, but.. really). What this could possibly equate to is that Xbox fans will receive — not only what should be the terrific, new magic-based exclusive RPG the console sorely needs, but — a next great Horizon game in delicious 4K just before that process, that will maximize the pure power and multi-processing horsepower of the Xbox One X.
But no matter what setting — although hopefully far different, maybe mountainous and very urban, and no matter what cool rides we get to play with (quads quads quads!), we’ll be blessed with yet another Forza Horizon game we can gladly call GOTY nominee.
THE CREW 2 (Ivory Tower/Ubisoft – PS4, X1, PC – June 29) – If nothing else, Ubisoft is tremendously loyal to its releases and their respective fanbases. As mentioned on our brand new video game show, The Geekdom Gamescast, we went over the Ubi-published titles that have gone from critical day one mishaps to respectable, and oftentimes cherished, games as a service.
The Crew 2 appears no different. What debuted at E3 in 2013 was a very promising car racing series in The Crew, perhaps one that a bit overly ambitious. Now, with much better technology, a responsive — and hella patient — community, and most importantly what seems like a crystal clear ambition, Ivory Tower’s plans for The Crew 2‘s post launch come in three pillars:
- Polish – Continuously refining and improving the “live” game The Crew 2 to their best efforts.
- Densification – Ensures that players always have a wide variety of activities, by continuously adding new events, skills, vehicles and features.
- Novelty — Larger “live” additions to The Crew, added for Densification purposes; September’s Gator Rush update sees a Hovercraft; December will see new PVP Lobbies; etc.
From the sounds of it, Ivory Tower is tempering their expectations for launch quite a bit. This is both a smart and conscience decision from the developer, which saw their ambitiousness kill the launch of the prior title that probably steered a large number of would-be players away from what wound up a solid product (the original’s post launch expansions, Wild Run and Calling All Units, are said to be fun as hell). Expect an announcement for The Crew 2‘s Open Beta on Monday at Ubisoft’s E3 press conference.