In the war for next-gen supremacy, no weapon has proven more valuable for Sony and Microsoft than first-party exclusives. Which is why when the Xbox One hit store shelves, it did so with a brand new installment in the company’s biggest racer, Forza Motorsport 5. That next-gen enthusiasm was tempered when Forza Horizon 2 was revealed to be coming to both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, but the developers are now confirming that while they may share a similar goal, the next-gen version of the game hasn’t been held back in the slightest.
The news that Forza Horizon 2 would still be releasing on Microsoft’s previous console was welcome for those who have yet to invest in the Xbox One (if at all), but the skepticism for those who had was easy to understand. To date, games released on both the previous and current generation of hardware have largely failed to stun as some had hoped, with the need to perform on all platforms cited as one explanation.
So if Forza 5 put the Xbox One’s horsepower to the test, was the Xbox 360 release a sign that Playground Games wouldn’t be given the same chance? Creative director Ralph Fulton explained the differences to Digital Spy, claiming that while Horizon 2 on Xbox 360 is still “based on the same themes,” the upgrade in hardware is impossible to ignore:
“There are things we are doing in Forza Horizon 2 on Xbox One that honestly couldn’t be done on any other console… Rather than thinking of them as the same game on different platforms, they are different games inspired by the same ideas.”
While that fact could be safely assumed – since an entirely different studio will be making the Xbox 360 version – it’s surprising to see Playground admit as much so early on. The facts of the situation are clear enough, since the new variable weather effects, and the implementation of Forza 5‘s ‘Drivatar’ system into Horizon 2‘s open world are something only possible with the Xbox One’s cloud-based computing.
But the decision to hand the Forza name to a new studio shows just how confident Microsoft is in the brand’s strength.
Sumo Digital (the studio tasked with the Xbox 360 version) has history with racing games, but with Horizon 2 coming as a pleasant surprise for many – taking the thrill and style of Forza into a new setting – it would seem the publisher isn’t willing to sacrifice sales. Microsoft or Playground aren’t likely to explain why Horizon and Motorsport received different treatment, but there seems no way to deny it: the Xbox One version of Horizon 2 will be the one to stun.
What do you think of Microsoft’s decision to split the release between two teams and platforms? Is it worthwhile to give another team a chance to capture the Forza spirit, or do you question the choice? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Forza Horizon 2 will be available on Xbox 360 and Xbox One September 30, 2014.
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Source: Digital Spy