Forza Horizon announced with new trailer: 'This is not Forza Motorsport 5'

Forza Horizon releases in 2012 from developer Playground Games.

If you’re a fervent fan of Microsoft’s exclusive racers, that last sentence will shock you for several reasons. First… Forza “Horizon”? As the title suggests, this is not Forza Motorsport 5, the next official entry in the series, but an offshoot or companion title of some kind. Exactly what kind is still unknown at this stage, as the announcement trailer is the very definition of vague.

The second surprise is the release date. Since the franchise debuted in 2005, it’s followed a predictable schedule of one new game every two years: Forza 2 in 2007, Forza 3 in 2009 and Forza 4 in 2011. How is developer Turn 10 readying Horizon for this year if they’re also working on Forza 5 for next year?

Easy. Forza Horizon is the first creation of newly formed British developer Playground Games and not from Turn 10 at all, similar to how Black Ops and World at War are from Treyarch and not original Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward. While that annual switch has always seemed like something publisher Activision forces on the shooter franchise for business purposes, Turn 10 creative director Dan Greenawalt sounded positive about the Forza handoff at a recent Microsoft event, referring to Playground Games as a “super group” of racing experts culled from recently closed companies known for success in the genre, like Bizarre Creations and Black Rock.

But no – we can read your mind on this one – Forza Horizon isn’t the spiritual continuation of Bizarre’s flagship racing series, Project Gotham Racing. Greenawalt insists it’s still Forza, just not the same Forza a numbered installment would imply.

Also revealed on the Forza front today? The long-awaited return of Porsche vehicles to the series, via expansion DLC arriving in May. That’s the new Porsche 911 pictured above.

Did you spot any hints at Forza Horizon’s direction in the trailer above? Are you excited for an extra entry, or worried Microsoft will spread the series too thinly? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Charlie Barratt
I enjoy sunshine, the company of kittens and turning frowns upside down. I am also a fan of sarcasm. Let's be friends!