Forza Horizon 4 hyped its Forzathon Live integration at its initial reveal during E3 2018. It was one of the most promising features of the game as it encourages players to meet-up and cooperate to beat various challenges. These come in the form of PR Stunts and Skill Score objectives. It’s important that everyone works together to beat them, otherwise it’ll be impossible to reach the designated target.
Forzathon Live occurs every hour in Forza Horizon 4 as a live in-game event in the shared open-world. It supports up to 72 players, though you’ll only see 12 at a time due to a clever networking technique developed by Playground Games. At launch, I’d always participate in Forzathon Live at every opportunity – it was the cool, new unmissable live event and you’d be remised if you didn’t catch it. Plus, it was essential for earning Forzathon Points to spend in the Forzathon Shop, which lets you acquire rare cars, elusive clothing items, emotes and horns, as well as wheelspins.
However, I don’t play Forzathon Live anymore. Everyone I speak to tells me they ignore the feature now too. The reason is simple – Forza Horizon 4 has been available for more than two years and while the game has received monthly content drops, the Forzathon Live feature hasn’t been updated since launch. It’s a dire shame too, because it has the most potential of any aspect of Forza Horizon 4. There’s undoubtedly a heavy emphasis on Seasons and the pre-scripted Festival Playlist events, but Forzathon Live could’ve been the real star of the show if Playground Games kept it fresh with new challenges and opportunities to not just cooperate, but also compete with fellow players.
Rockstar has a similar feature to Forzathon Live in GTA Online. It’s called Free Mode Events and the idea is genius. Every 12 minutes, the game initiates a new event and invites everyone in the session to participate. While many of them focus on gunplay, there’s also some vehicle-based modes too and they’d translate brilliantly into Forza Horizon 4. The most notable example is Penned In. This Free Mode Event challenges players to fight inside a moving arena that gradually decreases in size. Checkpoints is another, tasking drivers to collect markers spread across a designated area of the map; the player with the most acquired by the end wins. Meanwhile, Hot Property spawns a briefcase in a random location that players must collect and hold for the longest time possible. While this Free Mode Event is played on-foot in GTA Online, it’d also translate nicely to vehicles. To switch up the experience, Forza Horizon 4 could challenge you to take that elusive item to a drop-off point – but if another player crashes into you, it’ll be in their possession and you’ll need to rightfully take it back.
Another game to pull ideas of inspiration is Burnout Paradise. Criterion successfully encouraged players to complete challenges together through its innovate Freeburn Challenges. In an online lobby, the host can launch various challenges to attempt, and should all players successfully fulfil the objective, it’ll be marked as completed for those who participated. Freeburn Challenges also differed depending on the number of players in your session, but you’ll never run out of tasks to undertake because the list of them feels endless. You’d have to grind the game extensively with your friends to complete all of them. The best part about this feature is that it means players always have a goal to strive for in this shared online sandbox. If you’re curious about the individual challenges, there’s an excellent breakdown of each one over on this Wiki – but they all involve driving obviously, as well as pulling off stunts or performing unique skills with your car alongside your buddies.
Those are only a few examples of how Forza Horizon 4 could evolve its Forzathon Live feature. What should have been a pillar in this game’s post-launch support has sadly been left behind in the dust. In general, I’d say a combination of GTA Online’s best Free Mode Events with Burnout Paradise’s Freeburn Challenges, as well as a dazzle of Forza Horizon’s own unique flavour would result in a truly unbeatable blend. Here’s hoping that Forzathon Live returns in the next installment in the series and is finally given the overhaul and post-launch treatment it deserves.
Alan is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. As someone who enjoys spending all his free time playing video games, he keeps the website updated with new and relevant content, including news stories, reviews and opinion pieces for the games he likes writing about the most. He also tweets too much, probably.