Update – Jan 16th @11: 15 PM – The wording and title of this news story have been adjusted to fit a more rumor-esque nature since this wasn’t a complete confirmation but an educated guess as per the writer’s discretion.
The next entry of Forza, Microsoft’s hit racing franchise, is on the way. The series has been an annual release for several years now, so this is to be expected. But, Microsoft has not yet actually come out and explicitly mentioned it. Even so, Ralph Fulton, the co-founder of Playground Games (the studio behind Forza Horizon 3), was recently interviewed by Brian Ekberg, the Forza Community Manager. The interview was featured in a recent post on the official Xbox News website. The article was actually about the new enhancement update for Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One X, but a new game was also teased.
It was mentioned by Fulton at the very end of the article:
Native 4K resolution, especially when combined with HDR, is a huge step forward in visual fidelity and as mass adoption of 4K displays continues it will become the standard by which game visuals are judged. For us, as a studio, the power of the Xbox One X, as well as its ease of development and straightforward compatibility across the Xbox One family of devices, has made it the lead development platform for the new title we’re currently working on.
Playground Games has been rumored to be working on a new project, so Fulton could have been referring to that. But, there’s also a chance he could have been subtly hinting at the next Forza game, specifically a new Horizon. I came to this conclusion through a process of context clues:
- This is an article on the official Xbox news site written by the Forza Community Manager
- The entire article is related to Forza; the Forza Horizon 3 Xbox One X update, specifically
- The interview was done with the co-founder of Playground Games, the main studio behind Horizon 3.
- Forza Motorsport 7 is the latest entry in the series. Following the bi-annual pattern we’ve seen over the past few years, Horizon 4 would be next in line to release since 3 originally launched in 2016.
- Finally, the Brazilian Classification Ratings Board recently listed Forza Horizon 4.
Continuing on, Fulton explained that the Xbox One X is the lead development platform for this next title, whatever it may truly be. It was also explained what this means for development on the other Xbox One models. Surprisingly, this will benefit the weaker systems too:
This means a couple of things. First, it means we’re developing from the ground up to take advantage of the Xbox One X’s enormous graphical horsepower, an approach which will continue to yield massive advances in visual quality. Secondly, though, it also means you’ll see improvements on Xbox One and Xbox One S as a result – we find that there’s a trickle-down effect when you develop for the most powerful hardware which brings improvements even on the less powerful machines.
Again, this isn’t explicit confirmation of a new Forza game, but the signs almost line up too nicely to fit the bill. Still, I’ll leave it up to you to interpret the situation however you feel is most appropriate.