How Forza Horzion 4’s LEGO Speed Champions expansion was built (brick-by-brick)

LEGO Forza

One of E3’s biggest surprises was the reveal of Forza Horizon 4’s LEGO® Speed Champion expansion, a blast of high octane joy among the many, (many) announcements. The cheery trailer, that has ‘Everything Is Awesome’ chirping away in the background, wowed us with its introduction to LEGO Valley and left us eager to put pedal to plastic as soon as we could.

With LEGO Speed Champions now available to pick up with digital credit on the Microsoft Store or as part of the game’s Ultimate Edition, we wanted to delve into how this wonderful add-on came about. We were fortunate enough to grab Playground Games senior designer Torben Ellert at E3 to find out more about how it all came together.

Buy LEGO Speed Champions

One of E3’s biggest surprises was the reveal of Forza Horizon 4’s LEGO® Speed Champion expansion, a blast of high octane joy among the many, (many) announcements. The cheery trailer, that has ‘Everything Is Awesome’ chirping away in the background, wowed us with its introduction to LEGO Valley and left us eager to put pedal to plastic as soon as we could.

With LEGO Speed Champions now available to pick up with digital credit on the Microsoft Store or as part of the game’s Ultimate Edition, we wanted to delve into how this wonderful add-on came about. We were fortunate enough to grab Playground Games senior designer Torben Ellert at E3 to find out more about how it all came together.

The first question we put to him is how the idea came about. Ellert tells us “[Forza] Horizon is a playful game. A gleeful, exuberant game and that just dovetails with LEGO, which is also gleeful and exuberant…

“The experience that we have here today is the first five minutes of the game, that introduces you to the world and it unleashes this chaotic, beautiful wilderness of LEGO bricks, alien ships, dinosaur dig sites, pirates, and so many other things that flow so naturally the moment you take the brakes off.”

Those opening five minutes also give you a chance to sample some of the new LEGO cars you can drive in the game, which includes the Mini Rally S and the Ferrari F40 Competizione. Ellert explains what considerations the team had to take when creating this magic mash-up. “The key thing was that we were working with LEGO, specifically in the brand, Speed Champions.

“That meant there were very specific cars we were going to use, and that meant for the launch version of the expansion that is the LEGO version of the McLaren Senna, of the F40 Competizione, and the iconic Mini Rally S and those are given, those are designed, they look the way they look.”

Lego forza

Ellert reveals to us that the team used the LEGO Digital Designer (which you can download for yourself here) to help design the world. He says “So, for example, the world map is made of LEGO, it’s a LEGO diorama. I love it, if you actually built it, it would be about 20 ft long, and about 75,000 individual LEGO bricks make up the world map.”

Because the Digital Designer lets you buy the LEGO models you create in it, the team investigated if they could order a real version of the LEGO Valley area you explore in the game, but sadly, it was a bit too expensive or as Ellert puts it: “People worked out what our LEGO map would cost and there was a sudden, shocking silence and all plans to make it went away!”

One of the key things that gives Forza Horizon 4’s LEGO Speed Champions its charm is how the open world you race through takes loads of different styles and racing types and blends them effortlessly together. As Ellert elaborates “It was really about identifying the kind of experiences we wanted and then dressing them up in LEGO, but there really is something for everyone in the pack I think.

lego forza

The result is an expansion that takes Forza Horizon 4’s enjoyably weighty racing and mixes it with a world full of personality thanks to those enduring Danish bricks. The surprise of it appearing at E3 is matched by the joy of actually getting to race around LEGO Valley, exploring the vibrant mix of areas and ploughing through fields of LEGO flowers. It’s a hoot to play, but that’s also because Forza Horizon 4 is an incredible strong foundation to build on.

Ellert tell us: “My favourite bit is, there’s a dirt circuit called Ocean View circuit, and it has something quite unusual for us, it has a very steep decline through water and an incline right on the other end, so it’s a 35 degree incline down and the same up again. While everything else is fantastic, and I could wax lyrical about Brickchester and the alien power cells, the experience of coming down and up on the other side [around Ocean View circuit] was lovely. It has nothing to do with LEGO, it was just a thing that the level designers built and put into the world.”

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