The Fiat Dino coupé was produced for a few years in the late 1960s and early 70s. It wasn’t particularly fast, didn’t star in any cool movies, and didn’t have a motorsport career. Classic car enthusiasts remember it now for its crisp and elegant Bertone body, and the fact that it had a Ferrari-made engine, the same V6 found in its more famous and voluptuous namesake, the Ferrari Dino. It is a lovely car – a personal favourite of mine, thanks to a youth misspent reading classic car magazines – but there is really no reason for it to be in a video game.
And yet here it is in Forza Horizon 3. Why? I guess to delight people like me, who happen across it unexpectedly in a car list stuffed with esoterica, from dune buggies to wood-panelled station wagons to the three-wheeled Reliant van out of Only Fools and Horses. And because the developers at Playground Games really know about and love cars, which means knowing about and loving cars that are slow or forgotten or weird, as well as cars that are fast and glamorous and marketable.
But that makes Forza Horizon 3 sound like a game for anoraks – the sort of eccentric hobbyist’s scrapbook that the latter Gran Turismos, much as I love them for it, have become. It’s far from it. It’s a . You don’t need to love cars to enjoy this game, and you don’t need to be into the current racing game scene either, which seems squarely focused on serving hardcore genre fans’ craving for authenticity. The cars in Forza Horizon 3 look and sound authentic, and up to a point they feel authentic to drive too, but they will all drift elegantly, they will all plough across fields and ford rivers without bogging down, and they will all survive jumping off cliffs with aplomb. Because those things are fun, and fun is more important.