Forza Horizon games are pretty much guaranteed to always be masterpieces in their own right, to the extent that for many, what started out as an offshoot subseries has surpasses the mainline Forza games. Based on everything that we’ve seen of Forza Horizon 5 so far, it certainly seems like it’s going to be yet another excellent entry in the open world racing franchise, so it makes sense that excitement for it is quite high. In this feature, we’re going to prepare for its imminent launch by talking about some key details that you should know about the game.
One of Forza Horizon’s biggest draws has, of course, always been its open world, so it follows that Forza Horizon 5 is looking to touch new heights in this area, and while surpassing the standards set by its predecessor won’t be easy, Playground Games certainly seems set on doing just that. Where map size is concerned, for instance, Forza Horizon 5 is going to be the biggest game in the series to date, being 50% larger than the map in its predecessor.
11 UNIQUE BIOMES
Forza Horizon 5’s world isn’t just looking to one-up previous entries in terms of size, but also variety, which is a point that the developers have stressed repeatedly in the lead-up to launch. In fact, one of primary reasons for choosing Mexico as the game’s setting is the environmental diversity found within the country, which could enable Playground to make the series’ most varied map. In total, there will be eleven unique biomes in Forza Horizon 5’s world, each with their own unique sights, sounds, and weather patterns (more on that in a bit).
OPEN WORLD DETAILS
With eleven unique biomes scattered across the game’s world, there’s bound to be some interesting locations in the game, and Playground has revealed details on quite a few of them. You can expect dense jungles with thick foliage, farmlands with hilly terrain and lush vegetation, canyons with unique rock formations, arid hills that encourage off-roading, and swamplands. And that’s just half of it…
MORE OPEN WORLD DETAILS
Forza Horizon 5’s going to have fancier locations as well- like an active volcano, with the high altitude area having winding roads and blizzard; the city of Guanajuato, a densely packed urban location; deserts boasting unique rock formations; deserts dominated by large sand dunes; tropical coasts with beautiful beaches; or rockier coasts that are less about the beaches and more about the craggy rocks.
Seasons were Forza Horizon 4’s big unique hook, and though they’re returning in the sequel, they’ll be taking a different form. Essentially, Playground Games is using the varied nature of Forza Horizon 5’s world to have several different kinds of weather patterns in different parts at the same time. That means that you can drive from one end of the map to the other and experience various seasons one after another, from heavy fog in a forest to duststorms in a desert to a furious blizzard high up in the mountains.
Of course, Forza Horizon, like any racing game, is, first and foremost, about the cars, and seeing as this is one area where Forza games rarely ever let fans down, expectations from Forza Horizon 5 are high. A few weeks back, Playground revealed a comprehensive list of cars featured in the game, which stood at over 400 back then, with the developer promising that even that wasn’t the final list. Forza Horizon 4 had over 450 vehicles at launch, and the number had gone up to over 750 by the time its post-launch support had wrapped up, so we’re expecting similar numbers from Horizon 5, if not more.
Forza Horizon 5’s campaign is going to be structured a little differently, with Horizon Adventure being the larger framework within which all of its activities will be set. Your ultimate goal will be to get into the Hall of Fame, but Playground Games has said that the goal was to give players a lot more freedom in how to reach that goal. Essentially, activities and events scattered throughout the map will be divided into several different categories, and players will be able to choose how they want to progress- which means you can focus specifically on the activities that you enjoy more.
Going hand-in-hand with Forza Adventure will be Accolades, which is essentially the progression system encompassing the entire game. Everything you do in Forza Horizon 5 will give reward you with Accolades, with thousands of these being spread out across all manner of activities, from participating in particular events to purchasing cars to playing online and much more. Unlock Accolades will net you with Accolade Points, which, in turn, will be used to unlock more chapters in Forza Adventure.
Forza Horizon 5 will, of course, have several Horizon Festival events as well, with a total of these six set-piece large-scale events scattered throughout the map. Horizon Mexico will be the Festival that all players will start out with, but after that, you can head in whichever direction you want. There’s Horizon Rush, which will focus on PR stunts in the canyons; Horizon Apex, which is all about asphalt races in high-performance cars; Horizon Baja, cross-country races that will span various biomes; Horizon Wilds, which will focus on off-road and dirt races; and Horizon Street Scene, which will see you participating in night-time street races.
A new addition in Forza Horizon 5 is Horizon Arcade, which is the catch-all term given for a variety of different multiplayer minigames you’ll find in the game. Over a hundred of these will dynamically pop up on the map as you’re driving around the open world, offering unique activities. One, for instance, will task players with working together to pop massive piñatas being dropped by cargo planes. Completing Arcade activities will also net players various rewards.
Audio design is one of the most important things in any racing game, and Forza games in particular have always excelled in this area. Forza Horizon 5, too, is promising big things. As per Playground Games, ray-tracing has ben used for audio as well, which will allow audio bounce off of objects in the environments much more realistically, including buildings, rocks, trees, and more, with your vehicle’s speed also being a factor. So depending on how fast you’re going and where you’re driving (and what kind of a vehicle you’re driving, of course), the audio should vary quite a bit.
RESOLUTION AND FRAME RATE
Forza Horizon 5 is clearly shaping up to be a visual stunner, and it’ll have two graphical modes on offer to allow it to really flex those technical muscles. Quality mode will see the game running in 4K at 30 FPS on an Xbox Series X, and 1080p at 30 FPS on Xbox Series S. There will also be a Performance mode that will scale back some graphical features for a higher frame rate, running at 4K/60 FPS on Xbox Series X and 1080p/60 FPS on Xbox Series S.
XBOX ONE VERSION
Of course, Forza Horizon 5 will be a cross-gen title, and with a game that’s looking as technically demanding and impressive as this, one can’t help but wonder whether it’ll be able to achieve similar results on the significantly older hardware of the Xbox One. Playground insists that it will. While exact numbers for the game’s resolution and frame rate on the previous-gen console haven’t been revealed, the developer assures that though there will obviously be some graphical elements that will be scaled back, overall, the game has been optimized to run well on all the platforms it’s launching on. Here’s hoping that’s true.
MINIMUM PC REQUIREMENTS
What if you plan on playing the game on a PC though? Forza Horizon 5 is looking to keep on improving the series’ PC optimization, and Playground Games has confirmed the system requirements across a number of graphical settings. On minimum requirements, you won’t need a very beefy rig either. You’ll nee an 8 GB RAM, either a Ryzen 3 1200 or an i5-4460, and either Radeon RX 470 or a GTX 970. Storage requirements are pretty beefy though, at 110 GB (which, of course, remains the same across the board for all settings).
RECOMMENDED AND IDEAL REQUIREMENTS
Recommended and ideal specs are a little more demanding, as you’d expect. The former will require either a Ryzen 5 1500X or an i5-8400, along with either a Radeon RX 590 or a GTX 1070. Meanwhile, ideal requirements mention either a Ryzen 7 3800XT or an i7-10700K along with either a Radeon RX 6800 XT or an RTX 3080. RAM requirements for both settings will remain the same at 16 GB.