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Forza Horizon 2: why heading to Nice was the right route

Horizon 2's heading to the city. For the Playground team, it's about time.


Straight-laced car sim Forza has never been a city game, but Horizon, its fun-loving half-brother, isn't too bothered with convention.

Horizon 2, releasing at the end of the month for both Xbox One and 360, has a full-blown representation of the southern French city of Nice for players to tear up in the franchise's ever-beautiful motors.

The new environment is the realisation of an ambition hung over from the original.

"I wish we could have done a city in the first game," creative director Ralph Fulton told VG247. "We had a large town, but it was certainly one of the things we wanted to do when we started this, to have a full, modern city."

Nice wasn't the only choice Playground looked at before deciding on where to build its buildings.

"We looked all over," said Fulton, "and there were a number of candidates, but Nice was our favourite. It's just such a beautiful city, and it's very iconic. It's great to have it in there."

Fulton presenting the Horizon gamescom demo. It opens with a drive down the Nice prom.

The inclusion of city environment in the sequel makes it significantly different from the original, which took place primarily in the Colorado outback.

"It's changes it up, and shows the versatility of Horizon 2, in that you can be driving through rural settings and beautiful countryside, but then we have a beautiful city as well," Fulton added.

City elements are great, but the countryside will always be important to Horizon, and it seems increasingly so in Horizon 2. We were shown sections where roads become essentially meaningless, with four-by-fours roaming to starting points using whichever paths - fields, in this case - they wished.

Fulton and his team were careful to choose areas with plenty of decent scenery.

"We picked a beautiful place, we picked a place with great driving roads," he said. "France and Italy worked."

Horizon 2 again incorporates the fictional "Horizon Festival," swapping out the US for the French south and Italian north. Nice included, the open-world racer is three times the size of the first game, and this time you get to speed past all those awesome, beach-side Nice cafés. The only downside is that you can't stop for an espresso. Shame.

Forza Horizon 2 releases for Xbox One and Xbox 360 on September 30.

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