Latest Forza Horizon 5 stream details major audio improvements, over 320 new car recordings

Forza Horizon 5 Store Screenshot
Forza Horizon 5 Store Screenshot (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • Forza Horizon 5 is the latest open-world racing game from Playground Games, and everything we've seen so far looks impressive.
  • In the latest FH5 stream, Playground has gone over many of the audio improvements heading to Forza Horizon 5.
  • There is a ton of info here on how FH5 has improved audio, including a new modular system and ray-traced audio.
  • Playground also recorded over 320 new car recordings, with variations in sound depending on engine upgrades and exhaust.

Playground Games just concluded their third "Let's Go!" stream covering Forza Horizon 5, and the focus today was all about audio and car sounds. Engine noises have always been important to the Forza community, and Forza Horizon 4 was unfortunately criticized for its often-disappointing car sounds. In FH5, Playground promises massive improvements, and everything we heard during today's stream certainly seems to support these promises. You can watch the stream below, or get a rundown of all the biggest points that were covered.

Some of the promised audio improvements in Forza Horizon 5 from Playground Games include:

  • Massive improvements and changes to car engine sounds. One of the biggest points of contention for Forza Horizon 4, big changes are coming to car sounds in FH5. There's seriously a lot that was discussed, including:
    • Over 320 brand-new car recordings on top of the existing library
    • Granular synthesis technique used in 100% of cars versus 10-15% in FH4, which chops up audio files into thousands of pieces for highly reactive and dynamic sounds
    • Car audio runs at 90 FPS at all times
    • New modular system can intelligently figure out engine type and pull from existing pool to provide unique sounds for every car and its upgrades, including for turbochargers, superchargers, transmission whines, and engine upgrades
    • Even tire sounds have been upgraded, with different noises for every car and tire type
  • Ray-traced audio in the world. FH5 uses ray tracing for its audio to accurately map how sounds (including car sounds) bounce off of the environments, like walls, ceilings, buildings, and more. This allows for location-accurate reverb and echoes.
    • Ray tracing occlusion lets the game know where every car is around the player, so you can pinpoint exactly where engine sounds are coming from
  • Can hear engine upgrades in real-time. FH5 will let you hear changes to how your car sounds in real-time as you upgrade it with new engine upgrades, including intakes, camshafts, engine swaps, and even exhausts.
  • Improvements to first-person audio. FH5's new modular tech allows it to improve car audio even when you're in first-person, and can accurately track reverb and how your car sounds.
    • Convertibles also benefit from this, with completely different first-person soundscapes depending on if the top is up or down
  • All cars benefit from improvements. Whether you're driving by yourself, playing multiplayer, or racing, all cars benefit from all of these audio improvements (the superior recordings, modular system, and ray tracing).
  • Forza Horizon 5 sounds better on Xbox Series X|S. It was also confirmed by Playground that FH5 will sound better when played on Xbox Series X|S, thanks to a new compression format that allows for higher fidelity audio. These improvements apply to all sounds and music, not just car noises.

Playground also confirmed that the outdated "dyno" method used by many other games (which records car noises in a studio-like environment) was fully retired in FH5 because of the inherent limitations. That method really only accurately records a car's acceleration and nothing else. Playground records every car while out on a track to capture exactly what it sounds like when driving.

A few other details were confirmed during the stream, including:

  • The largest launch car list ever. Forza Horizon 5 will apparently feature the largest car list at launch of any Forza Horizon game yet, which is exciting to think about. You can bookmark our complete Forza Horizon 5 car list to stay updated.
  • Improved physics in cars. Car physics is improving in Forza Horizon 5, at least where audio is concerned. Drivetrain flex, (read: car wobble) is back and improved, and will match car sounds and engine upgrades.
  • Over 500 new engine swaps. We already knew that FH5 will feature thousands of new performance upgrades, but now we know this also includes over 500 new engine swaps. Playground wants to ensure that your car will always sound unique and realistic, so it added a ton of new options for swapping your engine out (these upgrades are contextual and car-specific).

That concluded this info-packed Forza Horizon 5 stream. There was certainly a lot to cover here, and the improvements that were detailed are definitely promising. We also got to hear a lot of this in action during the stream, so be sure the check that out if you want to check for yourself. Playground has already confirmed that the next Forza Horizon 5 stream coming in a few weeks will detail the world of Mexico and the 11 different biomes in the game. A more distant stream will begin to deep dive into the FH5 car list.

Forza Horizon 5 is officially arriving on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PC, Xbox Game Pass, and Xbox Cloud Gaming on November 9, 2021, with preorders now available. If you want to stay up to date with everything going on with FH5, be sure to check out our ultimate guide to Forza Horizon 5. If Forza Horizon 5 delivers on even half of its promises, it's bound to be one of the best Xbox racing games you can play.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.