Pre-orders of Forza Horizon 4 are well ahead of internal expectations set by Microsoft. That’s according to Xbox Games Marketing boss Aaron Greenberg, who revealed the news to GamesIndustry.biz (via GamingBolt) in an interview at Gamescom 2018 last month.
The upcoming open-world racer from British studio Playground Games continues to surprise us, and Forza Horizon 4 delivers a shared open-world experience with up to 72 players. This is backed by RPG-style progression mechanics and competitive online experiences, as well as a stunning location that’ll see drivers exploring beautiful, historic Britain across a total of 460 Forzavista cars whilst rocking out to the all-new soundtrack of the Horizon Festival.
Not only did Greenberg reveal that Forza Horizon 4 pre-orders are well ahead of expectations, but he also specified that they’re “tracking ahead” of where they were for Forza Horizon 3 leading up to its release back in 2016. Forza Horizon 3 sold 2.5 million copies worldwide within its first three months of availability, and it even saw the Forza franchise hit $1 billion in sales revenue. Since then, the open-world game set in Australia has managed to surpass 9 million players globally – completely exceeding all expectations set by analysts and retailers, as well as Microsoft, Turn 10 and Playground Games.
“There are fans of the Forza franchise that we know are going to buy every release,” Greenberg told GamesIndustry.biz in their interview. “The question is, are the more mainstream gamers who maybe buy three games a year, are we going to make that list of three games? And you're right, Forza Horizon 3 greatly exceeded our expectations when it launched and every single month since. It's been incredible.”
“Horizon 3 was, in many ways, a great open-world game,” he continued. “The game and setting was very unique and, with the quality of the game, it stood out. The challenge for Playground was how do you build on that? Having the setting in beautiful Britain, which as we know is where Playground is based, being able to add in the elements of the four seasons and how that can change gameplay – that is going to take the franchise to a whole other level.”
“So, our expectation is that Forza Horizon 4 is going to be the biggest and best-selling Forza game that we've ever launched,” Greenberg added. “Currently our pre-order tracking is well ahead of where we want and tracking ahead of where we were with Forza Horizon 3. So, the early indicators are really good. And that's before you get into the fact that this title will be in Game Pass, which will allow it to reach another set of gamers who may never have played or bought the game.”
Forza Horizon 4 is the first entry into Microsoft’s acclaimed racing franchise to launch into the Xbox Game Pass subscription service. It’ll be available to download from October 2nd, 2018 – and that applies to subscribers on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. Like Forza Horizon 3, this latest entry into the series is an Xbox Play Anywhere title, which means if you buy a digital copy of it, you can enjoy it on both PC and console with cross-play and cross-progression at no additional cost.
Greenberg also told GamesIndustry.biz that the Xbox Game Pass service will be attractive to Xbox One owners who get the console at Christmas and want an immediate library of games – calling it “the best holiday gift.” As well as Forza Horizon 4, users can also download Halo 5: Guardians, Quantum Break, Sea of Thieves, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, State of Decay 2, and several other titles from Microsoft Studios. There are also noteworthy third-party games on the service, such as DOOM from Bethesda and ONRUSH from Codemasters.
Forza Horizon 4 is the only new Xbox exclusive title from Microsoft to ship this holiday season, but with several third-party publishing deals and plenty of anticipation around the upcoming open-world racing game, this shouldn’t be an issue for the company. Plus, with several new games launching this year, it’s best for Microsoft to save its other exclusives like Crackdown 3 and Ori and the Will of the Wisps until 2019 and get Forza Horizon 4 out ahead of all the other big releases this year. “We're going to get it out early and before the blast radius,” Greenberg noted about its release. “I can't think of a holiday that had more AAA games in such a tight time period.”
You can check out the full Aaron Greenberg interview from Gamescom 2018 last month over on GamesIndustry.biz. In another interview, the Xbox Games Marketing boss reiterated that he expects Forza Horizon 4 to be the best-selling Forza title Microsoft has ever launched. As a reminder, the upcoming open-world racing game will be available on Xbox Game Pass when it launches on October 2nd, but Ultimate Edition owners will receive four days of early access from September 28th. They’ll also benefit from the Forza Horizon 4 Car Pass, which will add two new cars into the game on a weekly basis for 21 weeks – delivering a total of 42 new cars for players to collect, race and customize.
Alan is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. As someone who enjoys spending all his free time playing video games, he delivers the latest in news stories, reviews, and feature articles to the website, as well as videos on his YouTube channel and livestreams over on Mixer.