Some of the most beautiful video games out right now are ones abut cars, and you could easily argue that some of their images are as good as the heavily polished photos that go into print magazine. How good? Eric Yui proved this theory by recreating an entire 78-page issue of Evo magazine using only screenshots from Forza Horizon 4.
“There was this community magazine that a bunch of forum members on GTPlanet put together back in the PlayStation 3 days of Gran Turismo 5, which I absolutely loved but never got to contribute,” Yui told The Drive. “The idea stuck with me, and as I grew up I also grew fond of British car magazines (namely Evo) so I began aspiring to create a feature using video game photos with that U.K. car magazine look.”
Yui posted some sample magazine layouts to Reddit, where the response was so positive that it inspired him to do a whole magazine-style feature using in-game images. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and Yui suddenly found himself with a lot of extra time on his hands.
“As COVID lockdowns kept getting extended, I thought to myself, why not just go that step further and just create a whole magazine given all this extra free time I had?” Yui told The Drive. “And that’s how this project was born.”
Yui’s magazine is incredibly thorough, with Forza Horizon 4 screencaps even being featured in the ads. According to Yui, he would brainstorm out the content itself, complete with cars, locations and the subjects of the features. Shots he liked were then edited in Lightroom in that print-mag style and saved for later use.
He didn’t stick to simple stuff, either. The cover story is a huge composite image for a multiple-car head-to-head test, as major print mags love to do. “For the group photos with multiple cars, I’d take a picture of each car in the same location in-game and then stitch them together using Photoshop,” Yui explained.
Yui flew back from the United States to stay with his parents in Taiwan during the pandemic, and used his downtime during Taiwan’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers coming into the country to finish the magazine. The PDF itself was laid out in Photoshop as he didn’t have InDesign, which Yui described as “a painstaking yet fun learning experience.”
Most of the text in the magazine came from previous issues of Evo that Yui brought with him to his parents’ house as he didn’t have the time to write the entire issue himself, but there are a few fun Easter eggs he wrote, like the editor’s note. The layout itself was naturally inspired by Evo’s, although Yui also credited Instagram design pages like GFDA.Co and HiCo Design for additional inspiration.
Yui says he isn’t a professional graphic designer (although he could have fooled us), so one of his biggest challenges was staying motivated and silencing his own doubts as to whether the finished project would be good enough. The overwhelmingly positive feedback he’s had so far kept him going.
The final magazine was posted on Twitter on the last day of 2020 to much acclaim. We’ve all been in awe at how far in-game graphics have come, and it’s uncanny how similar Yui’s Forza Horizon 4 images look to the real thing. Forza Horizon 4 is set in Great Britain, after all, which is appropriate for a British car mag.
“I hope my project can inspire other creators out there in the community who may have doubts due to not having a design background (I majored in Political Science in college) to just go for it, as well as for others to encourage them when they share their work, because it truly leaves a profound impact!” Yui told The Drive.
“I believe this is also the best way to spread car culture to the younger generation, so I’m excited to see what others could come up with,” he continued.
Video games are a great equalizer, after all, giving car nuts everywhere virtual access to vehicles—both real and fictional—that we might not otherwise get to experience. We’d certainly enjoy seeing other game-rendered projects follow his lead, too.