Both mid-generational “refresh” consoles the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X have seen games that offer special “performance” modes that favor an increased framerate over a higher resolution or effects quality. However, these modes often can’t quite provide a stable level of performance in the games in question. Some recent examples include “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” which fails to stay at 60 frames per second on either the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One X, and this year’s “God of War,” whose framerate hovers in the 40s or 50s most of the time.
Framerate is important for more than reasons of visual appeal. Most game software ties the number of times per second they “poll” the player’s controller — that is, check it for input — to the time it takes the game to create a frame onscreen. This means that games with faster framerates may theoretically respond more quickly to player input. But if a game has an uneven framerate, the time it takes the game to detect and respond to player input may vary. This has the side effect of interfering with a player’s ability to adjust to the fractionally perceptible amount of time between their actions on the controller and a response on screen, and can have the net effect of making a game more difficult to play as a result.
“Forza Motorsport” has made 60 fps an inviolable cornerstone of the franchise since it launched on the original Xbox, but Playground Games set a target of 30 fps with the Horizon offshoot in 2012 in order to take the series into an open world. “Forza Horizon 4” marks the first time a Horizon game will be capable of running at 60fps on console (the series made its PC debut in 2016). In speaking with Variety, representatives for Playground Games stressed that “Horizon 4” will run at a locked 60 fps, though the studio hasn’t yet finalized what that will mean for the game’s visual quality otherwise. It seems certain that the resolution in this performance mode will be well below its “Forza Horizon 4’s” base of native 4K. Typically, performance modes for other Xbox One X titles target 1080p.
In addition to the new 60f ps option, “Forza Horizon 4’s” journey to the United Kingdom is bringing a series first with it in the form of changing seasons timed across its entire playerbase. These seasons will shift on a week by week basis, completely changing significant gameplay elements.
“Forza Horizon 4” launches on Xbox One and Windows PCs on October 11.