Forza Horizon, the XBOX version of what goes on in your head when you’re procrastinating at work, is taking the fourth installment of the franchise to Great Britain later this year. Being a UK native, and having driven around a large chunk of the actual UK, I have a decent idea of what the game will be like, so here’s a guide as to what to expect.
I hope you all like rain, because rain is what you’re about to get.
Forza Horizon 4: High Tea Auto will have fancy changing seasons. A neat idea for countries that have weather other than seemingly never ending rain with occasional patches of skin melting sun. However, as the game accurately renders all four of the UK’s attempts at seasons to their most glorious extremes we can expect to see the following throughout a virtual year.
Spring: A fine time to drive your motor. Road users will be enjoying their cars in the brief moments of sun. It will mostly rain.
Summer: Seeing as the UK buys more convertibles than it has any right to do you can expect to see many bald spots wafting along in all manner of drop tops. As the season progresses the bald patches may become redder as owners always forget to put sun cream on them. Sunny days will be rare as it will mostly be raining.
Autumn: Rain, wind and misery will sweep the roads of Forza. Windscreens will fog at a moment’s notice and other drivers will be short on patience. Occasional sun will bring the convertibles out again, only now the bald spots will be covered in Thinsulate hats bought from the nearest petrol station to home because it’s bloody cold out.
Winter: The days will provide about seven seconds of natural light, all of it cloud covered and grey. The raindrops will be extra large and extra cold for the vast majority of the season. Sun will appear for two days and all other road users will comment about how glorious it is out. One day, two inches of snow will fall and render every driver unable to operate their cars sensibly. Four-by-four owners will brag about having an off roader, then, as they barrel in to a corner at 60 mph, forget they have summer tires on and crash in to a hedge. The nation stops moving for the duration of the adverse weather, costing the UK billions in lost labor.
Then there will be more rain.
The open road Forza Horizon 4: We Drive On The Left Here is where you’ll spend most of your time. The UK’s countryside is a stunning place to enjoy your car when the rain briefly stops—you’ll see rolling hills, trees change with the seasons, wildlife, and occasional roadkill.
The corners captivate, the straights are just long enough to excite, the single carriageway roads narrow enough to focus your attention on the job of driving your very best. Then you’ll get stuck behind a slow, wide tractor with no clear line of sight to and no straight long enough to ensure there’s a safe space to pass.
If it’s not a tractor it’s a caravan, a lorry trying to avoid main road traffic, or someone out for a snail’s pace Sunday drive in ‘old Bessie’. Because country lanes are lined with hedges, ditches, or drystone walls there’s no option to drive on the fields and undertake. It is agony. Then it rains for good measure, slowing progress further.
The UK’s cities are wonderful, bustling places offering just about everything you could possibly want. So long as you don’t drive in them. Forza Horizon 4: Why Are All The Cars So Small Here? will offer gamers the chance to explore the joys of rush hour in towns that have outgrown road networks designed for horses and carts, cyclists who point roughly at the ground in the direction they might go and pull out on you without looking, pedestrians crossing the road with headphones on and not looking to see if they’re about to get run over, cyclists riding wearing all black with no lights at night, “20 is plenty” 20 mph speed limits EVERYWHERE, speed cameras ready to give you a ticket at a moment’s notice, fines for putting a wheel in to a bus lane, busses blocking the road every few hundred yards, learner drivers stalling in front of you at every set of lights, potholes bigger than your forearm, and one way systems in city centres designed by people who appear to have never driven a car before.
Your 2,000 horsepower, rear-wheel drive converted 1960s Mini will be wasted there.
The UK’s motorway network is designed to keep drivers moving quickly and efficiently. It is rarely used as such, so Forza Horizon 4: Kinder Eggs Aren’t Illegal will, if motorways are included, likely show you the delights they offer.
While the national speed limit is 70 mph it’s rare to actually do it during daylight hours. If there’s been an accident the speed will drop so people can look at it. Endless 50 mph zones around roadworks that never seem to be staffed will cause frustration, as will the occasional speed camera. You’ll marvel at the idiocy of a driver doing 5mph less than everyone else in the middle lane while texting their significant other. Players may also experience the UK’s many ‘Smart’ motorways—speed limits that change at a moment’s notice to regulate traffic, turning speed cameras on in the process.
As with any country the outskirts of the UK’s big cities are a bit nasty. Large, soulless shops line your way as you enter or leave, each with large car parks to play in. Forza Horizon 4: There Are Pubs Here Older Than America has the opportunity to let players enjoy watching local youths in 1.0 liter lowered, fart-can equipped, front-drive hatchbacks race one another, do burnouts, and emulate drifting by putting McDonald’s trays under their rear wheels. Often with hilarious results.
Also, I wouldn’t park your shiny motor there. It may end up on bricks, keyed, or spat on by jealous onlookers.
Ah, the great British public… Never afraid to let you know what they’re thinking at any given time. Forza Horizon 4: It’s Called ‘Maths’ Here gives players the keys to all manner of exciting, powerful, exotic cars. Expect to have all manner of creative profanity thrown at you during your time in town. Cries of “Twat!,” “Fucking poser!,” “Arsebadger!,” “Wanker!,” “Shitehawk!,” and many more await you.
Pedestrians who hold back on the profanity will either pretend not to see you, roll their eyes, or be a gaggle of influencers who’ll surround your car as it’s stuck in rush hour and upload your pride and joy as “content” to their social media of choice. Shmee150 will not be among their number.
They just are. Stop off for tea and cake. Supporting local business helps keep the UK’s countryside alive.
There we have it, a small look at the UK’s driving culture and what Forza Horizon 4: I’m Actually Really Chuffed It’ll Be Set In My Homeland could bring to gamers when it’s released later in 2018. I mean, it won’t feature much, if any of that (apart from the rain). It’ll probably damn good fun and a reason for me to buy an XBOX, frankly.
Just watch the trailer–how cool does it look?!