Forza Horizon

Microsoft reveals a new racer for 2012

If pedigree alone could define quality, Forza Horizon would be the racing game of the decade. It's being made by Turn 10 Studios, at the top of its game after Forza 4, and new UK outfit Playground Games - staffed by the cream of the UK's recently-truncated racing studios, with refugees from Codemasters, Bizarre Creations, Slightly Mad Studios and Black Rock.

But we're going to need to know a bit more about the game to make a final call on it, and its announcer, Turn 10 boss Dan Greenawalt is not revealing anything. The first video contained no game footage, but suggested something a lot flashier than the main game: Chemical Brothers soundtrack, roaring crowds and supercars on a Cannonball-style desert run were all in evidence.

Live footage hinting at Forza Horizon's direction.

Rumours suggest that it'll be an online-focused title not unlike Test Drive Unlimited, but Greenawalt will only say that it plays into Turn 10's "almost laughably large" goal of reaching every car lover on the planet. "It's a different strand," he told us. "They're bringing their own vision and passion and that will naturally differentiate the strands. We didn't go to them and say "make it like this because we need this set of skills". We looked for the most skilled persons to sit arm in arm with us, the most skilled entertainers, to say "let's do this together".

The result, we're told, will be a new part of the Forza brand and a surprise for existing players. "The innovation we've had - storefront, the livery editor, Kinect integration, using your voice to navigate around the game, the level of detail in Autovista - our goal is to surprise people, give things they didn't know they were missing."

"I wouldn't trust this partner as much as I do if I didn't expect them to surprise me and surprise our players. I have respect for their ability to come up with great ideas. So I think yes, they are challenged by the customers the same way we are to surprise them with innovation. That's how they see themselves, that's how we see them, it's how they see us. It's really a shared goal."

We'll have to wait until E3 to find out just how shocking the new additions will be. New Top Gear features are a dead cert too, although Greenawalt would only say that we'd need to talk to Playground about what those might be. "That's really a conversation that I think the press should have with them. Not that I'm not excited, and passionate about it, but if it's their idea I would love for them to be the ones heralding it."