Forza Horizon has turned out to be one of the best racing franchises in gaming today, with its stunning looks, immersive worlds, and addictive gameplay. The series is back again with Forza Horizon 3 and it’s taking players to a place they’ve yet to drive to.
Australia will be where Forza Horizon 3 takes place, and Playground Games went to great lengths to ensure accuracy and authenticity were embedded into its game world. This game will showcase some of the largest gameplay environments to date in the Forza Horizon series.
To help capture the type of authenticity that Playground Games wanted in Forza Horizon 3, some members of the studio made several trips to Australia. Ralph Fulton, who is the creative director at Playground Games, talked about how they sent folks down under to bring back data and information showcasing life there.
“They drove the roads, filming in HD everywhere they went, and they stopped to photograph everything we’d need to build the game: road surfaces, buildings, fences, trees, rocks, everything. We use a cutting-edge technique called ‘photogrammetry’, which allows us to turn hi-def photos of objects into game-ready 3D models, and that’s how the rocks and tree trunks, among other things, look so realistic in our game,” Fulton told Redbull.
Playground Games went to great lengths to capture true Australian data, instead of relying on Google Earth to feed them details. From the snippets of gameplay we’ve seen so far, it’s easy to see how the filled world of Forza Horizon 3 fits within what you would expect from Australia.
An element that was immediately striking when I first saw Forza Horizon 3 at E3 2016 was how real the game’s skies were. Gamers who are patient enough and wait for the cycles to pass through can see each day move from the morning to the nighttime. Fulton talked about how they created the skies of Australia.
“We also created an entirely new technique for capturing authentic Australian skies, using a custom-built 12K HDR camera rig, and we camped for the entire summer in a field capturing everything the sky did during that time. These images were brought back to the studio and fed through a custom process that streams the data into our system, producing the most dynamic, evolving skyscapes ever seen in a game.
“We have video screens in our studio which, throughout development, constantly played the videos we recorded driving all over Australia. That way, even the members of the team who weren’t able to visit Australia felt completely immersed in the world we were building,” Fulton said.
Forza Horizon 3 will debut this coming Sept. 27, and it will be the first time we’ve seen the series since 2014’s Forza Horizon 2. The game will be available on Xbox One and Windows 10.