Forza Horizon 3: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide

Forza Horizon 3 is just around the corner, which makes it the perfect time for you to secure your copy for launch day. But with so many editions and an absurd number of retailer-exclusive preorder bonuses, choosing where to pick up your copy has become abnormally complex.

But which version should you get? There are a few to chose from, so we want to make that decision as easy as possible. Normally in this kind of guide we'd throw in some of the merchandise available alongside the game at launch, Forza Horizon 3 isn't accompanied by any guides and collectibles (unless you count the cars themselves).

Release date

Forza Horizon 3 officially releases on Tuesday, September 27 in all markets. Unlike a number of this year's biggest releases, Europeans won't be seeing a delayed release in their region. However, those who purchased Forza Horizon 3's $100 'Ultimate Edition' will be receiving early access on Friday, September 23.

Preorder bonuses

While preorder bonuses are nothing new in the modern gaming landscape, some games are famous for their complex preorder schemes. Exclusive in-game items are often split between the world's biggest retailers, making it nearly impossible to access all of the content on offer. Forza Horizon 3 is a game that lends itself to this model, with a number of cars exclusive to certain retailers.

Here's a breakdown of the preorder bonuses available from each retailer.

  • Amazon: 2016 Audi R8 V10 plus, Mercedes-Benz E63 S Coupe DLC (Digital Only)
  • Microsoft Store: 2016 Ford Mustang GT350R, $10 Microsoft Store credit
  • Xbox Store: Forza Horizon 2 Rockstar Car Pack, Forza Motorsport 6 Meguiar's Car Pack
  • GameStop: 2015 Ferrari 488 GTB, 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Mercedes-Benz E63 S Coupe DLC (Digital Only), Lamborghini Centenario Scale Model
  • Best Buy: 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE Project 7, Controller Stand Set by Controller Gear, Limited Edition Forza Carbon Fiber Xbox One Controller Skin

If you redeem a digital code for Forza Horizon 3 from any retailer, your copy will be playable on both Xbox One and Windows 10 through Xbox Play Anywhere!

Game versions

Forza Horizon 3 Standard Edition (Physical)

Across most retailers, the standard version of Forza Horizon 3 is being offered for $59.99, with additional bonus content dependent on the retailer (detailed breakdown supplied above). This version of the game is most common and stocked by a majority of video game retailers, but includes no additional bonuses.

Preorder the game from various video game retailers below:

Forza Horizon 3 Standard Edition (Digital)

A digital version of Forza Horizon 3 is also available, sold as a pre-paid code to be redeemed via Xbox Live. Most retailers who stock pre-paid codes will distribute the codes ahead of launch, to give players the chance to pre-load the title. Like digital copies purchased directly from the Xbox Store, these copies of the game will unlock at 12:01 in your time zone. Retailers can be bypassed by directly purchasing the game through Xbox Live, but preorder bonuses will differ.

These codes are valid for both Xbox One and Windows 10 and allow players to take advantage of Microsoft's Xbox Play Anywhere program.

The following retailers stock digital copies of Forza Horizon 3 for Xbox One:

Forza Horizon 3 Deluxe Edition (Digital Only)

Forza Horizon 3's Deluxe Edition is a minor step up from the standard edition, adding bonus content packs into the mix. For an additional $20 you'll be getting access to the VIP and Motorsport All-Stars packs, which collectively add fifteen new cars and a few additional pieces of exclusive content. Forza Horizon 3 Deluxe Edition is only available in digital form, unlike the other versions of the game.

Forza Horizon 3 Deluxe Edition is available as a digital code from the following storefronts.

Forza Horizon 3 Ultimate Edition (Physical)

Forza Horizon 3 Ultimate Edition brings together all of the game's content available at launch into a single package. This version of the game is the most complete Forza Horizon 3 experience, bundling together the base game, Motorsport All-Stars pack, VIP membership and Car Pass. By purchasing the physical version of the Ultimate Edition, the game also comes in a limited SteelBook case. While this version of the game contains all of the game's available content, you'll need to purchase a digital copy to take advantage of Xbox Play Anywhere.

Here's where you can find a physical copy of Forza Horizon 3 Ultimate Edition.

Forza Horizon 3 Ultimate Edition (Digital)

The digital version of Forza Horizon 3 Ultimate Edition offers the same content as the physical counterpart, but drops the SteelBook case (being digital and all that, a case would be rather superfluous). Included inside the bundle is the VIP membership, Motorsport All-Stars pack and Car Pass in digital form. As a digital version of the game, you'll also be able to claim your free Windows 10 copy of the game through the Xbox Play Anywhere program.

Forza Horizon 3's Ultimate Edition can be purchased from the following retailers:

Forza Horizon 3 VIP Membership

Forza Horizon 3's VIP Membership gives owners access to five exclusive cars, exclusive events and other additional bonuses. Other benefits as a VIP member include double Wheelspin accumulation, VIP-only online events and community gifts. A VIP membership can be acquired through the Deluxe and Ultimate versions of Forza Horizon 3, or standalone from select retailers.

The following cars are available as a VIP member:

  • 2016 Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 SV
  • 2016 Koenigsegg Regera
  • 2015 Ferrari F12tdf
  • 2015 Ultima Evolution Coupe 1020
  • 2015 Ford Falcon GT F 351

Forza Horizon 3's VIP Membership can currently be purchased from GameStop below:

Forza Horizon 3 Car Pass

The Forza Horizon 3 Car Pass gives players access to a monthly release of cars, over a six-month period. Each monthly drop will introduce seven new cars, totalling a collection of 42 exclusive vehicles by the end of March 2017. The game's Car Pass can be purchased individually from certain retailers, or as a part of the Forza Horizon 3 Ultimate Edition.

The Forza Horizon 3 Car Pass is also being offered by GameStop for launch:

Holding off?

For those unconvinced, there are still a number of ways to get an idea of the game's content ahead of launch. While we've previously provided impressions after our hands-on sessions, a free playable demo is also available for download over Xbox Live.

Which version of Forza Horizon 3 are you planning to pick up? Make sure to let us know in the comments!

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.