An In-Depth Look at Forza Horizons @ E3 2012

Our first taste of the game occurred at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2012) -- actually if we are going to be fully transparent here our first taste took place before any of the unofficial or official E3-related events actually took place. Specifically while we were queued up in front of the VIP entrance to USC's Galen Center in LA we first heard the throaty roar of precision tuned imported engines that were installed in cars that, let's face it, even if we could afford to pay for the insurance on one the actual sticker price would instantly call into question whether or not we were experiencing a midlife crisis -- though still it would be cool to own one -- but getting ahead of ourselves, yeah, we heard them first, and then saw them as a quartet of beautiful classic examples of the finest engineered factory spec autos began circling the block, each one decked out in livery that celebrated Forza Horizon making it very clear to whom we owed thanks and the pleasure of their vision.

Inside as we took our seats and the press briefing got underway, Microsoft's elves, along with gnomes and pretty winged faeries from other game studios proceeded to enthrall us with news and demonstrations for Halo 4, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Madden 13 and FIFA 13, Fable: The Journey, and finally Forza Horizon... Now we are not saying that we stopped listening and looking after Horizon was presented to us -- in fact there were additional titles as well as introductions to Xbox Smartglass, the new plans for Xbox Music on the console, and a number of other basic improvements to the interface for Microsoft's games console, but the information we received about Forza Horizon in the shape of a basic introduction on the stage followed by a highlights trailer displayed on the mega-screen allowed for the general idea to be communicated.

We tracked down Carey Grant and asked him what he thought of Forza Horizon -- he had no comment... But we assume that his silence was caused by his overpowering excitement for this newest offering in the Forza line of games. Either that or it is because he is dead...

Forza Horizon at the Show
Where the Forza Motorsports series was created specifically to offer gamers on Microsoft's consoles the ability to play traditional professional racing simulation as well as compete with Sony's Gran Turismo for the PlayStation 3, the message that was being delivered on the show floor at E3 was crystal clear: Forza Horizon was intended to compete with pretty much every other game and game series in the racing genres, including (and maybe in particular) the Burnout and Need for Speed franchises, and from what we saw of the game and what we experienced of it, perhaps specifically the Burnout series...

The days leading up to the first official day of E3 are a hectic period for the people involved, and in particular for the staff from each of the publishers, studios, and the presentation staff manning the booths and exhibits on the main floors. That is not to say that the folks who staff the private demo spaces are not just as busy -- they are -- but the idea is to communicate to you that there is a furious level of activity, and that any efforts and success at obtaining information, even something as insignificant as a conversation with an insider, is worth the effort.

For E3 2012 Gaming Update sent a team that consisted of a veteran games journo and an intern, and while preparing for coverage of the event a plan was formulated that accounted for nearly every minute of our time at the event. The time that was spent away from the event was much less regulated and even allowed for spontaneity, and was largely occupied with preparing kit, verifying appointments, and seeking sustenance from the wide variety of ethnic food outlets in the LA area.

One dinner was had in the Little Tokyo District of Los Angeles at Daikokuya (327 E 1st Street), a very small and intimate restaurant that is known for being one of the best Ramen restaurants to be found outside of Japan. You can read about our experience there in the Gaming Update feature article Winds of Change: Microsoft Charts a New Course ( if you like.

With its reputation for offering the finest of Ramen and rice bowl dishes, its infuriating refusal to entertain the notion that offering take-away would be a great alternative to being forced to put your name on the list at the door for a table and then standing outside with the dozens (on the evening we were there the number of people waiting outside was north of 100) because they also do not accept reservations, we naturally found ourselves rubbing elbows with other games journos, and a fair number of industry types.

Posted: 20th Aug 2012 by CMBF
Forza Horizon, Xbox 360, E3, 2012,