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Forza Horizon developer tips [update]

Update: All Season Pass codes have been handed out. Make sure to check your DMs on Twitter!

With the release of this week’s massive Rally Expansion for Forza Horizon, we felt it might be a good time to get some tips straight from the high-speed enthusiasts at developer Turn 10. We grilled Creative Director Dan Greenawalt (again) and Community Manager Brian Ekberg on their favorite cars for specific situations.

Hopefully, these help some of you out, but Forza games are also about finding that right vehicle and strategy for yourself, so we’re giving away a handful of Season Passes for Forza Horizon. These include the Rally Expansion and six monthly car packs (two of which are already out). Each Season Pass is valued at $50.

To enter our random drawing:

  • What’s your favorite car (real or virtual) and why? Ferrari 360 Spyder? Batmobile? Turtle Van? Tell us in the comments below!
  • Include your Twitter handle, and make sure you’re following @GamesBeat so we can DM the winners their codes!
  • Winners will be chosen randomly at 11 a.m. PT on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

GamesBeat: What is your favorite car in Forza Horizon, and what makes it stand out for you?

Dan Greenawalt: The more you play Forza Horizon, the more you realize there’s a right tool for every job. Sometimes you want a car that’s built for speed, other times you want a car that’s adept in the corners or excels at getting sideways. When it’s time to just cruise the open roads in the car of my choice, I tend to gravitate toward the cars I’ve driven in real life. I’ve got a 2008 BMW M3 at home, and more often than not, that’s my default ride in Horizon.

Brian Ekberg: It’s a bit like choosing your favorite child, but I’ve got a few favorites in Forza Horizon. First up is the 2003 Honda S2000, a car that has been one of my mainstays in Forza going back several games now. I love its compact size and extreme versatility; it’s just a blast to drive. On the higher end, lately I’ve been driving the 2012 Ferrari 599XX Evoluzione (a DLC car from the Forza Horizon Month 1 Car Pack), and I’ve been astonished by its cornering, braking ability, and raw aggression.

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GamesBeat: What’s your favorite car for drifting?

Ekberg: For me, it’s all about the 1994 Nissan 240SX SE, which is in the November Bondurant Car Pack. You can trace the origins of the drifting scene to the 240 and its compatriots. It’s got a ton of power for its size, and it’s just right for tuning

Greenawalt: The 1985 Sprinter Trueno GT Apex – aka the “Eight-Six” – has become a mainstay in its own right in the drifting scene, and for good reason. Light weight, rear-wheel drive, and superb balance make this a car that can eat up the corners and slide with the best of them. Also, as a fan of “Initial D,” it just looks “right” for drifting. If I want to get sideways, it’s the first car I choose.

GamesBeat: What’s your favorite car for setting high scores on speed cameras?

Greenawalt: There are two types of speed cameras in Forza Horizon, and each have slightly different needs from a car perspective. There are traditional speed traps, which record your speed the moment you cross the line. For these, it’s about getting the powerful cars you can find – think the Bugatti Veyron SS and the like. The other category of speed cameras is the “average speed” camera, which record your average speed between two points. For these, you need to trade some raw power for some cornering ability to keep your speed up for as long as possible during the twisty bits, so something like the 1996 Ferrari F50 GT is a smart choice.

Ekberg: I’ve found a lot of success with the Hennessey Venom GT. It’s got insane amounts of power — you can spin the tires in fourth gear, for god’s sake — but if you choose the right speed camera and you can figure out how to deal with the Hennessey’s temperamental throttle, you can post some impressive scores.

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GamesBeat: What’s your favorite car for off-road events and why?

Greenawalt: All-wheel drive is a must for off-road events but, as with so much of Forza Horizon, choosing the right car depends on the event itself. If it’s just a casual cruise on the backroads, I love going for one of the big off-road monsters like the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. If I’m looking to really attack the corners, I want something more nimble. Rally-bred cars like the 1983 Audi Sport Quattro or the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR are always a good place to start.

Ekberg: Bigger is better. Give me a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon or a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor and I’ll gladly fill up your rear view mirror with an evil grin on my face.

GamesBeat: What’s your favorite car to use in the Playground Games, like Cat & Mouse?

Ekberg: Nowhere is car choice more important than in the multiplayer playground games of Forza Horizon. Depending on the game mode you’re playing and the location you’re playing in, you can tailor your car to meet your needs. For example, if you’re playing “King” on the Carson Golf Course, a four-wheel drive like the 2011 Subaru WRX STI is invaluable as you scamper and slide across the fairways. Similarly, in a game like “Infected,” maneuverability is of utmost importance as you try to avoid your competitors – so choose something nimble like the 1985 Ford RS200 Evolution or the 2009 Lotus 2-Eleven.

Greenawalt: A good rule of thumb when choosing a car is to always keep an eye on its performance characteristics. When buying a car in the “Autoshow” section of the Horizon Festival, you can see each aspect of a car’s performance – speed, handling, acceleration, launch, and braking. Each category will have a numeric value associated with it, so you can easily see each car’s strengths and weaknesses. For instance, in a game of Cat & Mouse, if you’re the mouse, you want a car that’s small and nimble, so keep your eyes out for the “handling” and “acceleration” numbers. On the other hand, if you’re playing as a cat, you want big, and bulky and with enough speed to track down the other team’s mouse and deliver some punishment. In my experience, few cars fit this bill better than the F-150 Raptor. It’s big, it’s powerful, and it delivers a punch like nothing else in the game.

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