Forza Horizon 2 has been officially announced by MIcrosoft, ahead of its reveal at E3 next week.
Playground Games, the UK-based studio made up of former Codemasters employees among others, will once again be handling developer duties in collaboration with Forza Motorsport developer Turn10.
Rumours of a sequel to 2012's successful open world spin-off Forza Horizon (which we liked rather a lot) have been rife, so we can't say we didn't see this coming. However, we weren't expecting to learn of its existence before E3, nor did we expect it to be released for the Xbox 360 as well as the Xbox One.
But before you get too worried that the Xbox One version will be compromised for a cross-platform release on Xbox 360, IGN's Ryan McCaffey Tweeted that another studio will be developing Forza Horizon 2 on Xbox 360. Playground Games will be developing the Xbox One version using Forza 5's engine, so expect the graphics to be glorious.
While we were previously lead to believe Forza Horizon 2 would be set in America's Deep South thanks to some leaked concept artwork, it will actually be set in Southern Europe.
The developers say the setting will feature “incredible diversity” and “amazing vistas”, while the racing events will be centered around a music festival once again. Better start planning your epic Top Gear-style races and road trips.
Playground Games promise that Forza Horizon 2 will feature "hundreds of cars," a long-awaited weather system and the inclusion of Forza 5's Driveatar AI system.
Artwork has been released to coincide with the announcement, depicting a 2015 Lamborghini Huracán drifting down a dune, thus confirming its inclusion in the game. It also happens to be Forza Horizon 2's cover car star. You can always rely on a topical car to grace a Forza cover.
Looks like The Crew had better keep a close eye on its rear view mirror. While Forza Horizon 2's open world probably won't match the gargantuan scale of The Crew's scaled-down US, Forza Horizon 2 already has the advantage of weather effects and possibly more cars if the developer's claim of "hundreds" is anything to go by. The jury's out on which game will handle better, but both will presumably aspire to fit somewhere in-between arcade and simulation, if the original Forza Horizon was anything to go by. We also still love The Crew's aspirations to be a fully realised CARPG, so we await to see Microsoft explain what sets Forza Horizon 2 apart.
Expect more to be revealed at E3 next week.
I don't know about you, but this might have just swayed me to get an Xbox One…