Virtual gearheads: start your engines.
Today, Universal Pictures and Microsoft announced a stand-alone version of Forza Horizon 2 that will be available for free for two weeks from March 27 to April 10 on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The kicker: it features Ludacris and cars and missions inspired by Furious 7, the seventh installment of the Fast and Furious action movie franchise.
Titled Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious, you won't need a copy of Forza Horizon 2 for it work. Once available, you can just download it and play for free. The game will cost $10 after April 10, but those who downloaded it while it was free won't have to pay anything afterwards. So be sure to nab the freebie when you can.
Set before the events of Furious 7, you play as a wheelman in the south of France who gets recruited by Tej Parker, the expert mechanic character played in the films by Ludacris, to "source" cars for the Fast & Furious team's next mission. As you complete challenges, you will be able to unlock cars that have been featured in the Fast & Furous movies for your in-game collection which you can drive in the game's open world. These include a number of vehicles exclusive to Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious:
· 1970 Dodge Charger R/T Fast & Furious Edition
· 2012 Nissan GT-R Fast & Furious Edition
· 1998 Toyota Supra Fast & Furious Edition
· 2014 Maserati Ghibli S Fast & Furious Edition
· 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Fast & Furious Edition
· 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Fast & Furious Edition
· 1970 Plymouth Cuda Fast & Furious Edition
· 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Fast & Furious Edition
"Forza is synonymous with racing and fun, so it's only natural for us to work with one of the most celebrated automotive entertainment franchises in the world," said Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's Xbox division in a press statement. "This is a great way to bring Forza players into the world of Fast & Furious, and in Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, every fan will get a chance to go wheels-first into the exciting action of the Fast & Furious franchise."
This is one of the better-looking collabrations we've seen in a while, and it's always great to hear a big title like this will debut for free and then be available afterward for a budget price. Downloadable content, or DLC, has come under fire as of late with games like WWE 2K15 and Evolve charging premium prices for additional modes, characters and season passes on top of the initial $60 entry fee. More games could stand to follow Forza's business model.
There have been a couple other successful budget-priced standalone games released recently, like Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, a parody-slash-homage to the neon-striped '80s that starred Michael Biehn as a cybog enforcer. Similarly, Expendabros is a free, standalone version of Broforce, a pixelated action shooter available on Steam that also lovingly parodies and pays homage to the Stallone and Schwarzenegger actioners of old.
The '80s are alive and well in Furious 7 as well: it co-stars Kurt Russell of Escape From New York and The Thing. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jason Statham, Djimon Hounsou, and Tony Jaa of Ong-Bak and The Protector round out the international all-star cast. Furious 7 comes out in theaters on April 3.
Forza Horizon 2 debuted to great reviews last year when it was released, and developer Turn 10 studios hints there may be more collaborations to come. Turn 10 studio head Alan Hartman teases, "I don't want to end it after this, so we'll see what's possible in the future."