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Turn 10’s Forza franchise started off with the unenviable task of having to make believers out of serious skeptics. “You’re really going to try to compete with Gran Turismo? Who does that? Who does that and succeeds?”

But with involving gameplay, Microsoft’s excellent Xbox Live service and an adherence to its own vision while listening to customers, the Washington game studio has built something every bit as good and often better than what’s recently come out of the vaunted Polyphony Digital offices in Japan.

While the first four generations of Forza focused, like the GT franchise, on track driving, Turn 10 is taking on open-road games such as EA’s Need For Speed with Forza Horizon, available on Oct. 23.

Centered around some fictional manner of driving-and-music gathering called the “Horizon Festival,” the new game is a result of the Turn 10 crew spending four months shooting and mapping roads in Colorado, then tweaking them for maximum in-game effect.

But beyond asphalt ribbons, Horizon will also allow gamers to try their hand at racing on 65 discrete surfaces.

The whole car list will be available later this summer, but the trailer features a Mitsubishi Evo X, the Audi SWB Sport quattro homologation special and, of course, the SRT Viper. Was that a nod to Keisuke Takahashi‘s yellow FD RX-7? Dorifto Colorado? Yes, please!

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By Davey G. Johnson