Skip to main content

Forza Horizon 5: Everything we know about the new Xbox racer

Forza Horizon 5
(Image credit: Playground Games)

Forza Horizon 5 was one of the least surprising announcements of this year’s E3. Yet what it lacked in shock factor it more than made up for in gushing good looks. As the first game in the franchise developed with Xbox Series X and S in mind, Forza Horizon 5 is absolutely stunning, taking full advantage of Microsoft’s shiny new consoles in order to let you and your friends tear up an impressively realistic recreation of Mexico. 

Made with the series’ longstanding Forza Vista engine, Forza Horizon 5 promises to make cars and the dusty trails they’re driving over look more detailed than ever before. Whether you’re zooming through towns, swerving across a dormant volcano or racing across rainforests, Forza Horizon 5 promises a brilliantly diverse playground for you to... repeatedly crash into. No? Just me?

Forza Horizon 5 release date

Forza Horizon 5

(Image credit: Playground Games)

Launching on November 9 this year, Playground Games’ stunning open-world racer will very soon be within our grasp.  As you’d sensibly expect from the Xbox exclusive franchise, Forza Horizon 5 will be arriving on Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One, PC, on day one on Xbox Game Pass and will be playable on Android via Xbox Cloud Gaming.

For those who don’t like to be tied down to a subscription, Forza Horizon 5 also comes in three different editions. The Standard Edition will set you back $59.99/£54.99. Or you can choose to shell out $79.99/£69.99 for the Deluxe Edition which nets you the full game and the Car Pass. 

For those who really love their Forza, there’s a $99.99/£84.99 Premium Edition, which grants players early access to Forza Horizon 5 two weeks before launch - starting November 5th. That $100 also gets you the Welcome Pack, the Car Pass, VIP Membership, and two further expansions when they become available.

Forza Horizon 5 setting and gameplay

Forza Horizon 5

(Image credit: Microsoft)

When it comes to characters and story arcs, the Forza Horizon series isn’t exactly a complex beast. There’s a race festival. You drive. Car goes vroom. Yet with each new entry in the Horizon franchise, the setting becomes a character of its own. Following on from Playground Games’ stunning recreation of England in Forza Horizon 4, the latest entry takes the action to Mexico. Chosen for its stunning beaches, historical attractions, and vast cities, creative director Mike Brown believes that Mexico "really has everything."

Brown describes Forza Horizon 5’s Mexico as "the largest and most diverse world we’ve ever built", saying that Playground Games "didn’t want to just make more of the same". 

Thanks to Mexico’s history, culture, and people, Playground Games promises the best Horizon festival yet. Interestingly, Playground Games is going all out to make this virtual Mexico feel suitably authentic, teaming up with Mexican artists for in-game murals, Mexican musicians, and of course Mexican actors and scriptwriters. It’s this level of authenticity that extended to the visuals, too, with Playground Games sending a team to Mexico in order to capture 400 hours’ worth of real-world light and sky data, recreating that suitably realistic-looking light, color, and shadow information in-game.

Forza Horizon 5

(Image credit: Playground Games)

While we’ve seen everything from cacti-filled deserts to the stomach-churning volcanic race tracks, there’s one city that seems to have taken center stage in the coverage so far. Nestled right in the center of the country, the Mexican metropolis, Guanajuato is described  as an “undulating city of narrow and twisting alleys and streets, quaint plazas, and a fascinating network of underground tunnels.” It’s a stark contrast to the vast uninhabited swathes of land showcased in the two glimpses of the game so far,

Despite its lavish visuals, Forza Horizon 5 will run natively on the increasingly decrepit Xbox One. Where current generation only titles like Contraband will harness the power of the cloud to bring next-gen visuals to aging consoles, Playground Games has revealed that Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox One will render at 1080p and hit 30 frames per second performance. Not too shabby.

As is becoming the norm on current-gen consoles, Series S|X owners will get the choice between performance and fidelity modes. Microsoft handily revealed what players can expect from the two: "Forza Horizon 5 runs at 4K/30fps on Xbox Series X and 1080p/30fps on Xbox Series S. For players that prefer to optimize for frame-rate, we'll have a performance mode option that will run at 4K/60fps with select graphical features scaled to maintain a steady frame-rate on Xbox Series X and 1080p/60fps on Xbox Series S."

Forza Horizon 5 new modes

Forza Horizon 5

(Image credit: Playground Games)

As well as the traditional street and event races that fans of the franchise have come to expect, Forza Horizon 5 will feature an entirely new multiplayer-focused component - Event Lab. Serving as an arcade-y, user-created companion piece, Event Lab is a tweak-able toolset that allows players to create their own unique multiplayer races. From hitting bowling pins to racing through piñatas, Event Lab promises to offer a highly tweak-able (and potentially super weird) user-created multiplayer experience. Brown describes Event Lab as  "the Forza Horizon 5 feature I’m most excited about."

It was also announced that Forza Horizon 5 will be keeping the battle royale mode introduced in December 2019 to Forza Horizon 4 - Elimination. Sticking to the same open-world template as the main game, it's a 72-player battle royale mode where everyone races to stay inside the zone. It's absolutely brilliant chaos.

Keep an eye on Gamesradar for more news on Forza Horizon 5 in the run-up to its launch. Until then here are all the upcoming video game release dates, including DLC, updated every week