What just happened? Playground Games has announced the next installment of their long-running Forza Horizon franchise at Microsoft's E3 2021 showcase. Players will drive in Mexico this time around, featuring the series' largest and most diverse open-world yet. It's launching on November 9th for the Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One (base, One S, One X), Windows 10 (Microsoft Store and Steam), Xbox Game Pass, and Android via Xbox Cloud Gaming.
It's been almost three years of Forza fans racing, drifting, cruising, and crashing around the British countryside, beaches, and the narrow streets of Edinburgh. Soon, they'll be able to do all of this in Mexico, the locale of choice in Forza Horizon 5.
Among the several new game modes and features is the addition of 'Expeditions.' A single-player campaign mode that will take players across Mexico to meet new characters and complete hundreds of challenges. For tinkerers, the new 'EventLab' feature will let players create customized racing experiences, similar to Trackmania's Track Builder or Dirt 5's Playgrounds.
Building upon its strengths, Horizon 5 will also feature improved car and character customization, a more intelligent AI assistant, and gameplay refinements across its PvP and PvE modes. While the game's complete list of 'hundreds of the world's greatest cars' is yet to be finalized, there are some new vehicles to spot in the game's announcement trailer, including the Porsche Taycan, the new JLR Defender, Ford Bronco, and the Mercedes-AMG Project One. The latter seems likely to end up as Horizon 5's cover car.
Mexico's diverse open-world will also feature dynamic seasons as well as dust and tropical storms to liven up the experience. Developer Playground Games notes the use of photogrammetry, a new volumetric lighting system, and other enhancements for rendering the best-looking Horizon game yet.
However, the game's ray-tracing implementation appears limited to the Forzavista car viewing mode and, there is no 120fps option. As noted in the game's FAQ section, Xbox Series X players will only be able to play the game at 4K/30fps or at 60fps with the game's performance mode.
The Series S console will also get this 60fps performance mode and will otherwise render the game at 1080p/30fps. As for last-gen Xbox owners, especially the base version, YouTube just might be the better option to experience this game.
Thankfully, the game's PC version won't be limited to the Microsoft Store. It's also coming to Steam at launch with a rather modest set of minimum requirements:
- OS: Windows 10 (version 15063.0 or higher)
- CPU: Intel i3-4170 @ 3.7Ghz / Intel i5 750 @ 2.67Ghz
- RAM: 8GB
- GPU: Nvidia 650TI / AMD R7 250x
- Direct X: Version 12
- Storage: 80GB