This is it. October 1st. Before the month is out, the two most anticipated racing games of the year will be sitting on store shelves: Forza Horizon and Need for Speed Most Wanted. Both games offer open-worlds. Both games feature hidden cars for players to find. Both games explicitly reflect their developers’ previous work in an attempt to deliver something recognizable, but new.

Microsoft, Turn 10 Studios and Playground Games aren’t wasting a single October day in making their case for Forza Horizon as the racing game to beat this year. To that end, they have just released the Forza Horizon launch trailer – a full 22 days before the game actually launches on October 23rd. Additionally, details on the forthcoming Horizon playable demo have been revealed, and it promises to be a rewarding experience for Forza fans.

From the moment we got our first glimpse of Forza Horizon during E3 2012, it was clear that – like Forza Motorsport 4 before it – Horizon is a tremendously good looking game. Since that time, Turn 10 and Playground have offered a couple of behind-the-scenes looks at Horizon, exploring the game’s Colorado setting and features like night racing. Today’s launch trailer brings it all together: the music, the cars, the open-world just waiting to be explored.

Forza Horizon Launch Trailer and Demo

Players will have a chance to explore that open-world for themselves in the not-too-distant future. As revealed at the end of the launch trailer, a playable Forza Horizon demo debuts on Xbox LIVE October 9th – and it’s absolutely not a one car, one track proposition. Check out the details from Microsoft’s press release below.

“In the demo, players will get a chance to experience the Colorado of ‘Forza Horizon’, driving a number of different cars across a variety of different event types — from Horizon Festival events taking place in the dusty, dirt roads of the upper hills — to a climactic street race that find players winding up, around, and over the fictional Finley Dam.”

“Several of the events in the ‘Forza Horizon’ demo will automatically become Rivals Mode events after completing them, allowing ‘Forza’ fans to compete against one another to set the fastest time. In addition, players will be able to drive and explore a section of the overall game map to get a feel for the kinds of open-road adventure that is featured in the full version of ‘Forza Horizon.'”

All that content certainly sounds good, but the demo has even more to offer. Gamers who download and play the demo, and then buy the full version of Horizon, will be treated to a sweet bonus car: a specially designed custom 2013 SRT Viper GTS. That’s worth a download, don’t you think?

Ranters, what do you think of the Forza Horizon launch trailer? Are you looking forward to the game’s demo? Which of this Fall’s racing games are you most interested in playing? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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

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