It’s a new year, and since 2011, that’s meant a Forza game arriving in the final third of the calendar. The rumor mill has already begun swirling, but it might be a bit pre-mature.
This being an even-numbered year, plenty of folks expect Playground Games to unleash Forza Horizon 4. The open-world racer alternates release years with the more sim-oriented Motorsport franchise.
Things picked up recently when Aaron Greenberg (Xbox Head of Marketing) updated his Twitter header. The image featured Forza Horizon 4 box art, with Japanese characters seemingly confirming the location. Greenberg quickly replaced it, leading to even more speculation.
The problem is that the image is a fake. The older 997-generation Porsche is the main hint: Forza games have featured brand new “star cars” on their covers this generation. The original image originates from the Fakes Forge Facebook page.
To his credit, Greenberg later admitted the image wasn’t official, stating it’s “some cool fan made art“. That’s not a confirmation the game is set in Japan, but it’s also not a confirmation the game isn’t set there. It’d certainly make for a stark change in scenery after Australia.
While the Land of the Rising Sun remains a popular choice for speculation, it’s unlikely we’ll know where FH4 is set for another few months. Other than a handful of small leaks, Microsoft didn’t show Horizon 3 until E3 2016, and the same was true of FM7 last year.
It’s also possible the franchise moves to a different release schedule altogether. Late last year, Playground Games expanded to start work on an open-world RPG. A three-year approach, for both Horizon and Motorsport, would allow the teams more time to make more substantial changes between iterations.