Forza Horizon :: Launch Party

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Last week Australia’s top motorsport bloggers and photographers received an exclusive invite to a very special launch event for the brand new Forza motorsport game, Forza Horizon. It is the first game in the series to leave the confines of the race track and take to the open road, in a massive game world that players can explore between races.

With no expense spared, I was flown up to Sydney for the day and given a media pass to the Australian International Motor Show. Inside I was blown away by the huge displays from all the top brands like Lamborghini, Jaguar and Mercedes just to name a few and some even larger displays from some of the Japanese staples…

After a few minutes of walking through the Motor Show I was directed to an incredible set up and after a friendly chat with some fellow photographers and car nuts, we were given our instructions and a brief overview of the new game.

Our host was former race car driver, Sarah Harley.

We were given a few rounds to familiarise ourselves with the new game before taking part in a bit of friendly competition.

Some of us used the spare time wisely and got a few practice laps of the game under our belt, while others got distracted with all the friendly promo girls handing out freebies and with smiles all round it is easy to see why people were having difficulty paying attention to the game on the screens behind them.

These girls were not afraid to pull a few funny faces and have a bit of fun in front of the camera. They were some of the best personalities we have come across at an event of this sort.

After getting distracted taking a few shots of the girls, it was now time for the rest of us to get behind the wheel (Xbox wireless controller :p) and take the game for a test drive.

In front of us were eight Xbox 360 consoles, each with individual screens and a row of bucket seats for each player.

Justin Fox of Zen Garage was trying his luck against some of the countries best talent, with the games’ fast paced action and arcade like driving aids switched on, it was anyone’s game!

Switch those aids off and there was a very competent driving simulator hidden underneath all those pesky traction control and braking systems.

Onto the competition…

We were split up into two groups of eight and then got to compete in two separate heats. I was in the second heat and believe it or not finished in a triumphant 2nd place!!

After a short three lap race, I was finding the game surprisingly easy to get into. Don’t be fooled though, the game does have its challenges and quite a few unforgiving corners that are eager to claim a distracted driver!

The graphics and handling are superb, it looks and feels like any next gen racer should.

The team behind the game took the same love for cars, speed and action from the previous titles from the series and chucked them all into a massive open world racer, with a simulation like quality handling and performance system.

After both groups of eight had finished their heats, it was time for the final. There were not only bragging rights at stake because there was also an Xbox 360 up for grabs! Throw in a copy of the game and a bottle of champagne and there was some serious loot up for grabs!!

The top drivers went head to head in a final three lap race. The track was a twisty road through a dense forest across the side of a mountain range. The track was tight with two massive straight sections for maximum speed!

With surfaces changing from tarmac to gravel and dirt constantly, the car often became quite a handful to navigate through tight corners. We got the hang of it after a while and soon everyone was power sliding their Lamborghini LP570-4 around the dirt sections of the track.

After holding second place for the majority of the first two laps, a group of cars had caught up to me and soon I was involved in what can only be described as all out war!!

After the demolition derby took place I managed to come out with only a few strips of my original paint still stuck to the car and crossed the checkered flag in 5th place.

First place along with all the spoils went to Rory from Downshift-Aus.  He had also made the trip interstate for the event and so it was a well deserved win, with some of the quickest and cleanest laps of the day!

After the final race we stayed back with a group of other photographers and battled it out in a few different cars and tried out some of the other tracks available. The game will be released on the 23.10.12 exclusively on Xbox 360 around the globe!

More on the Motor Show soon!

Thanks for reading,

– Gwyn.