Forza Horizon 2

Great multiplayer racing enhanced by a glorious celebratory tone.

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Porsche making its way to Forza Horizon 2 tomorrow, confirmed for Forza Motorsport 6

Porsche is coming to Forza, with Horizon 2 getting a suite of Stuttgart's finest tomorrow, and with the famous marque also confirmed for Forza Motorsport 6.

EA's famously had a stranglehold on the licence in recent years, though its grip has softened a little. Forza Motorsport 4 received a pack of Porsche cars thanks to an agreement between EA and Microsoft that has been struck up again for the Xbox exclusive series.

For now, players can rejoice in a meaty bundle of cars in Forza Horizon 2 which takes in the 918 Spyder supercar as well as classic fare such as the 959 and 944 Turbo. 10 cars feature in total and will be live tomorrow for a price of $9.99 (about £7.99, though UK price hasn't been confirmed just yet).

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Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is a standalone expansion

Microsoft has revealed Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, a standalone expansion due out on Xbox One and Xbox 360 next month.

According to The AP, Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, which does not require the base game to play, is out 27th March and will be free until 10th April to promote the 3rd April North America launch of Furious 7, the latest film in the series. After 10th April the expansion will cost $10. We've asked Microsoft for UK-specific information.

Apparently the expansion is set before the movie, and you play as a driver in France who must source vehicles for mechanic Tej Parker, portrayed by Chris "Ludacris" Bridges in the films and game.

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Forza Horizon 2 Storm Island review

If Forza Horizon 2 was a Bestival for cars, all sun-kissed fields and long, breezy summer days, then Storm Island, Playground Games' first downloadable expansion for its Xbox One exclusive, is their Glastonbury; where the mud churns and the rain tumbles down while the wind whistles noisily through the trees.

Price and availability

Xbox One: £15.99, or £7.99 for Forza VIP Members

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Forza Horizon 2's first expansion introduces new cars, new area

Forza Horizon 2 is getting its first substantial expansion pack, with Storm Island set to introduce a whole new area on the map alongside 6 new cars and 80 new events.

A trailer, debuted on IGN, suggests there's an off-road emphasis in the Storm Island pack - a throwback to the rally-themed expansion for the first Forza Horizon. Extreme weather whips across the new area, with the mud being churned up by new raid cars and - be still my beating heart - a Metro 6R4, the glorious Group B variation of Austin's 80s classic.

Storm Island also brings with it new achievements which tot up to 500 gamerscore points, as well as an all-new mode called Rampage. It comes at the pretty significant price of $19.99 - though Forza VIP members will get a 50 per cent discount on that. It's due today on Xbox One, though is yet to show up on the Store. We're chasing Microsoft now to see how that price is going to translate in the UK and EU.

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Digital FoundryThe making of Forza Horizon 2

Digital Foundry goes head-to-head with Playground Games.

It's the tech interview we've been chasing down for a while now - especially in the wake of that superb playable demo, released a few weeks back. Forza Horizon 2 improves on the raw, unadulterated fun of its predecessor - an intoxicating fusion of arcade-style gameplay based on the intricate Forza Motorsport simulation - and melds it with some of the most impressive rendering technology yet seen on the eighth generation of games consoles.

UK chart: Shadow of Mordor biggest launch for a game based on Lord of the Rings

UK chart: Shadow of Mordor biggest launch for a game based on Lord of the Rings

Forza Horizon 2 third. Super Smash Bros. 3DS fourth. FIFA 15 still top.

Monolith's open world action game Shadow of Mordor has entered the UK chart in second place with the biggest launch for a game based on The Lord of the Rings in the UK.

Sales are split 56 per cent on PlayStation 4, 41 per cent on Xbox One and 3 per cent on PC. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions launch on 21st November.

Official sales data from Chart-Track shows EA's behemoth FIFA 15 still comfortable in first place despite a 70 per cent drop in sales. Remember, Chart-Track does not include downloads.

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Face-Off: Forza Horizon 2

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Forza Horizon 2

The end of the road for Xbox 360?

Now this is the last-gen conversion - or HD demaster, if you like - that we wanted to see. Forza Horizon 2 on Xbox One is a highlight of the new console era: a phenomenal package of state-of-the-art rendering technology, open-world gameplay and a brilliant driving simulation melded into an outstanding arcade-style racer. Could this remarkable achievement really translate across to the vintage 2005 Xbox 360 hardware?

When pre-release video eventually emerged on YouTube last week, initial impressions looked positive - against all odds, UK-based Sumo Digital appeared to have handed in a phenomenally close conversion. But could the Xbox 360 version stand up to Digital Foundry scrutiny? Loading up the Xbox 360 code and replicating that initial road trip to the Horizon festival in the Lamborghini Huracan shows Sumo Digital's work at its best - the initial blast through the coastal town of Castelletto reveals clear compromise, but the spirit of the experience is uncannily similar to the Xbox One title.

Pulling up at the festival tent and choosing your first car via two different takes on the car selection screen, we also see that the high-end vehicle modelling utilised by each version of the game is also very close to like-for-like. However, once the Forza Horizon festival begins proper, parity becomes a thing of the past: Playground Games goes one way on Xbox One, while Sumo Digital veers off in its own radically different direction on Xbox 360. What we have here are two versions that share assets, environments, concepts and themes - but in execution each release is to all intents and purposes a completely different game, and that's actually a very good thing.

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Forza Horizon 2 review

It's a counterintuitive truth about the current, strange state of racing games that drier simulation racers have endured - games like Gran Turismo, its opposite number Forza Motorsport, and the thriving PC sim scene - while the appetite for more flashy, exciting and accessible games seems to have dried up. This year, even EA's mass-market stalwart Need for Speed will be missing its first Christmas since 2001. That's all very well for enthusiasts like me, but the genre as a whole is in danger of entrenchment and exclusion - of losing sight of something as simple and important as sheer entertainment value.

Enter Playground Games. The young UK studio is on a mission to break this sad entropy by building a bridge between hardcore and populist, between the car games you get and the car games you dream about, between rubber and soul. 2012's Forza Horizon, an open-word spin-off for the Xbox-exclusive sseries, was a supremely good start, and its sequel does not deviate from its course by one turn of the wheel. This is a game that lays claim to the spirits of such past greats as Project Gotham Racing and Test Drive and seizes them with aplomb.

That's big talk, but Forza Horizon 2 is the work of a studio humming with enthusiasm and professional confidence. It's no revolution: this is an iterative, by-the-book sequel to a game that was already very good. Forza Horizon fans might find it all pretty familiar, but then Forza Horizon fans are hardly likely to mind that. Newcomers, meanwhile, will be blown away by a supposedly serious racing game that dares to be this romantic and thrilling. (It's telling that our YouTube editor Ian, who normally doesn't get on with racing games at all, is smitten with Horizon 2.)

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I love Forza Horizon. One of my favourite racing games of the last generation - hell, one of my favourite games of the last generation - Playground Games' spin-off expanded Microsoft's slick but rather dry racing sim into a glorious driving, well, playground set in the majestic scenery of Colorado. Its only failing was some rather undercooked online multiplayer. Can Forza Horizon 2 fix that?

As platform comparisons go, Forza Horizon 2 vs DriveClub promises to be one of the most exciting console clashes of this year's holiday season. There's certainly much in common between the two titles, with each boasting similarly advanced rendering features, tight online integration, and native 1080p visuals operating at a locked 30fps. But where Playground Games' Xbox sequel hopes to differentiate itself is in its focus on delivering a rich and unrestrained open world where players are free to explore and tackle challenges as they see fit. How well that would actually work wasn't clear until the release of the Forza Horizon 2 demo earlier this week - our first chance to get uninterrupted hands-on time with the game.

Forza Horizon 2 demo gets Xbox One release date

Forza Horizon 2 demo gets Xbox One release date

Take a test drive two weeks early.

You'll be able to download a demo version of Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One on 16th September, Microsoft has said.

That's exactly a fortnight before the game's official 30th September release.

The trial version will let you try out a handful of cars in Forza Horizon's sunny southern European setting - although exactly which vehicles and areas are unknown.

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There have probably been better times to be pitching around ideas for a new racing game than the summer of 2010. Following the release of Bizarre Creation's Blur and Black Rock Studios' Split/Second - both excellent, forward-thinking takes on a genre that's famous for going round in circles, both failing to find an audience - racing games were entering a period of crisis. For Bizarre and Black Rock, the crisis would prove fatal. For Playground Games, a UK studio formed late in 2009 by veterans of the genre from Codemasters, it made getting its first project off the ground daunting.

See how Forza Horizon 2's multiplayer blurs the line between online and solo

A handful of exclusive videos show Playground Games' latest in all its 1080p glory.

Forza Horizon 2's multiplayer will look to blur the line between solo play and online, with lobbies being all but obliterated as it seamlessly links between the two. It's one of the most significant advancements on the original game, improving on one of the few areas of weakness in a game we absolutely adored back in 2012.

Hi Eurogamers, welcome to your Avengers-style superteam of handpicked Outside Xbox videos. This week, we've been hunting videogame easter eggs, which exist to let developers hide jokes, secrets and downright weirdness in their games. And passive aggressive swipes at their rivals, it turns out.

Forza Horizon 2 gets September release date

Forza Horizon 2 gets September release date

Plus, Nurburgring comes to Forza 5 at last - today!

At today's E3 Xbox press conference, Playground Games' Ralph Fulton announced that Forza Horizon 2 will be released on 30th September.

That's the Xbox One version for sure - the Xbox 360 version, in development at Sumo Digital, wasn't mentioned, so don't count on it arriving at the same time.

Just before Fulton took the stage, Mr Forza from Turn 10 Studios, Dan Greenawalt, announced that the famous Nordschleife Nurburgring track was being added to Forza Motorsport 5 at last - from today. It's a free download, too, so fill your boots. You can read more about it on Xbox.com - as well as details of the latest car pack you can buy for the game, featuring some classic racing machines.

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Forza Horizon 2 announced for 360 and Xbox One

Forza Horizon 2 announced for 360 and Xbox One

UPDATE: Sumo handling the 360 version, working from original Horizon engine.

UPDATE: It's been confirmed via Forza Motorsport's official Twitter account that the Xbox 360 version is being handled by a different developer, and running on a different engine. Playground Games is handling the Xbox One version, working from the engine used in Forza Motorsport 5, while Sumo Digital will be working from the original Horizon engine model to create the 360 iteration. That's likely reason for cheer, given Sumo's impeccable racing heritage - the Sheffield studio created the excellent Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, as well as the definitive versions of Sega's OutRun 2 on console.

ORIGINAL STORY:Microsoft has confirmed the existence of Forza Horizon 2, revealing via IGN that it is indeed coming to Xbox One later this year. More surprisingly, it's also coming to the Xbox 360.

While it was previously believed that the sequel to 2012's open-world driving game would be set in America's Deep South thanks to some leaked artwork, it appears that Forza Horizon 2 will instead be heading closer to home with Southern Europe acting as the backdrop.

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