During its E3 2012 Press Conference, Microsoft unveiled the first footage of Forza Horizon, the upcoming Forza Motorsport spin-off developed by newcomer Playground Games. As you’d expect from any game with the Forza name, Horizon looks absolutely gorgeous.

A number of screenshots have also been issued, and the game’s release date is now official: Forza Horizon launches October 23rd, 2012.

The first details of Forza Horizon appeared last March, when a gameplay-free “tone trailer” popped up online. Today’s trailer, by contrast, is all in-game footage, though it manages not to give away much about how Horizon actually plays. Fortunately, Microsoft’s press release offers a bit more info on the game.

“Forza Horizon combines the legendary Forza Motorsport authenticity you know and love with new action-based driving gameplay, rewarding you for your speed, skill and style behind the wheel. Drive the world’s most iconic cars as you compete in festival events, race for pink slips in white-knuckle street races, or just show off your skills to increase your popularity rank. Team up or compete with friends and rivals in a variety of online race types, as well as playground modes. However you drive, you’ll find an entirely new level of challenge and fun on the open road.”

Ranters, what do you think of your first look at Forza Horizon? Is this the kind of experience you want from the Forza franchise? Let us know in the comments below.

Forza Horizon releases October 23, 2012, exclusively for the Xbox 360.

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