Forza Horizon is the open-world counterpart of the legendary Xbox Forza racing franchise, and Forza Horizon 5 is the latest entry in the series. Following the hugely successful Forza Horizon 5, FH5 sets the bar even higher with an expanded open-world set in Mexico, hundreds of cars, and countless quality-of-life improvements and additions.
Playground Games and Xbox Game Studios know how to deliver a premium open-world racing experience, with Forza Horizon 5 solidly maintaining its position as one of the best Xbox racing games and best PC racing games released in recent memory. Of course, FH5 is also gargantuan, with an absurd amount of content capable of keeping even the most hardcore completionists busy for dozens of hours.
Here's everything you need to know about Forza Horizon 5 for Xbox and PC now that it's officially released.
What is Forza Horizon 5?
Forza Horizon 5 is the follow-up game to Playground Games' Forza Horizon 4 from 2018. Like other Forza Horizon games, Forza Horizon 5 is an open-world racing game with gorgeous visuals, accessible driving mechanics, and a massive roster of high-quality, licensed vehicles from dozens of manufacturers, all centered around the fabled Forza Horizon festival. And, also like previous Forza Horizon games, FH5 is exclusive to Xbox and PC platforms.
Forza Horizon 5 is the more arcade-like open-world counterpart to the highly anticipated eighth Forza Motorsport. While Forza Horizon 5 is available now, fans will have to wait a while longer for the arrival of Forza Motorsport (2023). Playground Games and Turn10 share a ton of technology and resources between them, as well, which means FH5 may give us a peek at the quality that can be expected from Forza Motorsport.
Forza Horizon 5 is akin to a "car-lovers sandbox," and lets you play however you want. While there is a story and full-blown campaign with the Horizon Adventure, Expeditions, and smaller Horizon Stories, it's still up to players how they progress and what path they take. All in all, the focus of Forza Horizon 5 is the vast arsenal of cars, the wide variety of races and events, the sheer level of creative freedom available, and the deeply integrated online multiplayer gameplay.
With the Festival Playlist making its return in Forza Horizon 5 — complete with a wide variety of improvements and expansions — along with planned premium expansions and more, FH5 is looking forward to years of constant post-launch support and love. Also, the Forza Horizon community can contribute more to the game's longevity than ever before, with the inclusion of EventLab and other creator tools providing endless possibilities for Forza Horizon 5.
That isn't to say the game is perfect. Forza Horizon 5 has plenty of issues, but Playground is perpetually tracking them and fixing them with constant patch updates and hotfixes.
You can check out more images of Forza Horizon 5 below, including some incredible wallpapers featuring mural art that appears in-game.
Windows Central reviews Forza Horizon 5
Our Forza Horizon 5 preview showed that FH5 was truly deserving of the hype, and gave us hope that the ambitious title would actually deliver on all of its promises. Our Forza Horizon 5 road trip helped us fall in love with the gorgeous world long before release.
With our full Forza Horizon 5 review, it was confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Playground Games and Xbox Game Studios have crafted one of the best racing games of all time, a title that will provide hours of fun for years to come and doubtlessly inspire future racing titles. Even when FH5 players have gotten through the majority of content in the base game, Forza Horizon 5's multiplayer is grander and more accessible than ever before, with a nearly endless amount of content to explore.
There's certainly a lot to love about Forza Horizon 5, even if there's still room for Playground to improve its formula further with the next Forza Horizon title. Forza Horizon 5 is more than just another racing game, and has cemented itself as the premiere racing game on any platform.
Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels
The first full-blown DLC expansion for Playground Games' flagship title is Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels, which adds a ton of fresh content to the game. As the name suggests, this expansion is made in collaboration with the Hot Wheels brand, and as such features a variety of Hot Wheels cars and a brand-new map filled with diverse, twisting, looping, and speeding Hot Wheels tracks.
Our own Brendan Lowry wrote that Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels makes him "feel like a kid again," highlighting how the new DLC embraces pure, unfettered fun in its quest to add hours of additional gameplay to FH5's base experience. Players can explore a new standalone campaign and complete a variety of missions and challenges while they explore the varied biomes of the world-in-the-sky.
How can I watch the trailers for Forza Horizon 5?
Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels announcement trailer
Forza Horizon 5 official launch trailer
Forza Horizon 5 live-action trailer
Forza Horizon 5 official announcement trailer
Forza Horizon 5 gameplay overview
Forza Horizon 5 intro gameplay trailer
Where is the location for Forza Horizon 5?
Our ultimate guide to Forza Horizon 5's map includes everything you need to know about FH5 and its rendition of Mexico, including just how big the map is in comparison to previous Forza Horizon games, an overview of different locations you'll be able to explore, and more.
Interestingly, Forza Horizon 5 is the first time where the map is exactly what was originally planned — no map content had to be cut throughout development. Even more impressive, it'll continue to evolve over time, with Festival Playlist and Series updates able to alter the world with new decorations, races and events, and more.
What are all the cars and vehicles in Forza Horizon 5?
It can be tough to keep track of every car in a Forza Horizon game, especially when you're looking for something specific, but our Forza Horizon 5 full car list is constantly updated with every car we know of, including gifts, DLC additions, special cars, and much more.
There are already well over 600 cars in Forza Horizon 5, including legendary vehicles like the DeLorean, and Playground Games will continue to add more as time goes on through the Car Pass, expansions, the Festival Playlist, and more. If you want to be the first to know about new additions as they happen, be sure to bookmark our ultimate FH5 car list above.
What is the story & campaign in Forza Horizon 5?
While the story or plot in a racing game may not be the most crucial element for some players, it can still add a lot to the experience for those who do appreciate it. Forza Horizon 4 was gently criticized by the community for its lackluster story and general lack of direction for players, so Playground Games went back to the drawing board for Forza Horizon 5. FH5 takes players on a journey through the Horizon Adventure to have their name added to the Hall of Fame, and the drive there should be pretty wild.
Here's everything we know about the story and campaign in Forza Horizon 5:
- The story of Horizon Mexico. Forza Horizon 5 is canonically set directly after the events of Forza Horizon 4. Players are still basking in the glory of emerging as the champion of the FH4 Festival, and have been sent to Mexico to aid in setting up Horizon Mexico, the next major Horizon Festival.
- Haley is your number one when it comes to the know-how of Horizon Mexico and making things happen. She's a good friend of Keira, who filled a similar role in Forza Horizon 4 (and is apparently still there looking after Horizon Britain)
- You are the boss of Horizon Mexico, and that means it's up to you to decide what direction the Festival goes in. It's also important to note that you are the champion of Horizon Britain, so your name is known far and wide in Mexico
- For the first time ever, your character has voiced lines and interacts with other characters throughout the story, which is a big shift for how Forza Horizon titles handle story content
- Hall of Fame. The eventual goal of Horizon Mexico and Forza Horizon 5's story is to be accepted into the Hall of Fame, which is reserved for only the greatest and most skilled racers around. There are hundreds of paths players can take to reach the Hall of Fame, meaning the story in FH5 is ultimately still yours to direct.
- You have to reach the Hall of Fame to unlock Forza Horizon 5's end game, which includes new Accolades, Horizon Stories, and The Trial mode for the Festival Playlist
- Horizon Adventure. The guiding, overarching entity in Forza Horizon 5's story is the Horizon Adventure, which gives players a broad outline of what they're able to do and how they're able to progress to the Hall of Fame. This means that, unlike FH4, you'll always have guidance on where you can go next. The Horizon Adventure splits FH5's massive map into several categories, with each category featuring chapters that players can unlock and play through at their discretion. In order to progress through Horizon Adventure and eventually reach the Hall of Fame, players will need to earn Accolades.
- Horizon Adventure has its own charming screen in FH5 that clearly outlines the areas and chapters, and will be the hub from which players will choose their path. The Horizon Adventure screen is visually distinct with amazing-looking stylized graphics
- The Horizon Adventure is how you unlock Expeditions (covered below), new Festival sites, Showdowns, and much more
- Individual areas in the Horizon Adventure feature unique themes, Festival sites, Horizon Stories, and much more
- It'll take approximately 10 to 30 hours for most players to finish the Horizon Adventure and reach the Hall of Fame, depending on their priorities and playstyle
- Accolades. Forza Horizon 5 features literally thousands of "Accolades," which are objectives that players can complete and cover practically every aspect of the game. Absolutely everything in FH5, including playing online, painting cars, growing your car collection, winning races, exploring the map, and more can earn you Accolades, which in turn reward Accolade Points. These points are used to unlock new chapters and areas of the Horizon Adventure and progress the campaign.
- There are thousands of Accolades, but players will not need to 100% them to finish the FH5 story. After completing the campaign, there will still be plenty of reasons to play and new Accolades to complete
- Accolade progression continues no matter how you play FH5, be it with solo play, online, in co-op, or anywhere else
- Expeditions. There are five Horizon Festival sites in Forza Horizon 5 in addition to the main Horizon Mexico site. Every one of them requires progressing through the Horizon Adventure and completing an Expedition. These Expeditions are full-scale road trips across various parts of Mexico, with cinematic cutscenes, story-driven narrative brought to you by Ramiro (Rami, for short), FH5's enthusiastic tour guide, and huge set pieces that showcase the graphical and technical prowess of Forza Horizon 5.
- Expeditions go all over Mexico, including over an active volcano, through a storm-torn jungle, and more. Expeditions also put players behind the wheel of a variety of vehicles
- Expeditions feature optional Accolades to complete while on your journey, like finding specific locations, taking pictures, choosing spots for gear and sites, and more
- You can play Expeditions by yourself, or in co-op with friends, and all progress is retained no matter what
- Horizon Stories. Forza Horizon 4 introduced a new way to experience a singleplayer campaign with Horizon Stories. With Forza Horizon 5, they're bigger than ever. Forza Horizon 5's Stories are part of a deeper and more rewarding campaign, and provide multiple avenues to explore the world. Players can meet many new characters and decide the outcome of their individual stories, and some Barn Finds are even unlocked through Horizon Stories.
- Horizon Stories feature multiple chapters that can be played through, which can carry individual stories all over the world
- Horizon Stories can also feature branching paths and player choices, which can be replayed at any time
- Horizon Showcases. Forza Horizon's massive Showcase events have always been a way to show off how far the game can go, and allow players to display their skills and feel like a true racing master. In Forza Horizon 5, players are able to participate in four Horizon Showcases, which promise to be bigger and grander than ever before. The first Showcase pits players against a cargo plane, and another Showcase will have players race a train once again.
What are the features & gameplay in Forza Horizon 5?
A new Forza Horizon game always comes with at least a handful of new features and improvements over its predecessor, but Forza Horizon 5 delivers even greater amounts of content to players. The extra year of development Forza Horizon 5 got over previous entries in the series clearly helped things along because there is a lot about which to talk. Not only has Playground Games baked in significantly more content into Forza Horizon 5's base game, but it's also given the community a way to add essentially infinite new events and races to Forza Horizon 5 over time. FH5's online features have seen significant improvements to more completely connect players all around the world.
Here's everything we know about the features and gameplay in Forza Horizon 5:
Game features and visuals
This is the biggest Forza Horizon in more ways than one, which means players have more ways to play and more reasons to keep returning. This is also by far one of the most gorgeous games we've ever seen, and Playground Games has achieved this feat with several methods.
Here are some of the best features about Forza Horizon 5 and its visuals:
- Horizon Festival. Forza Horizon has always revolved around the "Horizon Festival," a fictional event that belongs in every car lover's dreams. Pro racers from all over the world converge in one location, for exactly one purpose: to race. The Horizon Festival returns in Forza Horizon 5, and players are once again put in charge. Like Forza Horizon 4, multiple Festival sites can be opened, which unlocks new races and event types. Six Horizon Festivals in total are available in Forza Horizon 5.
- Horizon Mexico is the main Horizon Festival site in Forza Horizon 5, where players begin their journey. This site is situated on an abandoned airstrip (great for drag races) and right next to a fantastic racing circuit
- Horizon Apex features a number of asphalt road races, and focuses on high-performance vehicles
- Horizon Wilds is Apex, as it revolves around dirt roads and offroad racing
- Horizon Rush is set back in the wild canyons of Mexico, and revolves around dangerous and ridiculous PR stunts like jumps, speed traps, and more
- For the very first time, Forza Horizon's semi-legal Street Scene racing series gets its own tournament, with the aptly named Horizon Street Scene Festival
- Finally, Horizon Baja is all about cross-country racing through a variety of environments, and can be found in FH5's Living Desert biome
- Barn Finds. Barn Finds have been a mainstay feature in the Forza Horizon franchise, where players can look for long-lost cars buried throughout the world. Barn Finds return in Forza Horizon 5, and are the most detailed and location-specific Barn Finds ever. Barn Finds are also discovered in different ways, such as through Horizon Stories, during Expeditions, and more.
- There are at least 15 Barn Finds in FH5
- Our Forza Horizon 5 Barn Finds list keeps track of every Barn Find in FH5, including how to unlock it yourself
- Visuals and graphics. One of the most impressive parts about Forza Horizon 5 is indubitably its eye-catching and mind-boggling visuals, which rank among some of the most impressive graphics we've ever seen in a video game. Several things factor into this achievement, including:
- The use of photogrammetry, which saw Playground Games send dedicated teams of photographers all over Mexico to take thousands of pictures of locations and objects, to accurately capture everything from the individual needles on a cactus to the unique texture of volcanic boulders. Almost everything in Forza Horizon 5 is based on photogrammetry
- A 12K resolution recording of the real Mexican sky, meaning the sky you see in Forza Horizon 5 literally couldn't look more authentic if it tried. This also makes the sky feel more dynamic as time passes and the weather changes
- The addition of more 3D effects, like new dynamic weather events, which evolve from pure textures to actual 3D occurrences that can affect the world and player perspective
- The addition of ray tracing when in Forzavista, showcasing Forza Horizon 5's cars in the most realistic light possible
- The highest amount of detail on roads for a Forza Horizon game, including location-specific textures (like deteriorating quality as players approach the volcano)
- Hundreds of cinematics and cutscenes, which tie in with FH5's newly revitalized story and campaign elements
- Photo and Drone Modes. Forza Horizon games have always been visual showcases, and it stands to reason that players would want to show off their custom cars when playing. Photo Mode returns in Forza Horizon 5, and takes advantage of FH5's numerous visual and graphical upgrades. On top of this, Drone Mode is also here, letting players fly around Mexico by leaving their cars behind.
- Updated user interface (UI). The UI in Forza Horizon 5 finally gets a long-overdue redesign, which makes activities like car customization and more in Forza Horizon 5 more accessible and efficient. Menus are simplified and are easier to scan, while various menus are completely redesigned, such as car upgrades and customization.
- Drivatars and traffic. Drivatars return in Forza Horizon 5, as expected, giving players realistic and challenging opponents to go up against when not racing online. AI Drivatars have been overhauled in Forza Horizon 5 to be more receptive to individual players' abilities and offer a more realistic and dynamic experience.
- Improvements to the wheel experience. Many racing game fans love to play with a dedicated driving wheel or even more elaborate setups for a more immersive feel. Forza Horizon has never been considered to be one of the best games for lovers of wheels over controllers or mouse and keyboard, but Playground Games vastly improved the wheel experience in Forza Horizon 5.
- Force feedback has been greatly improved, partially thanks to improved physics systems like suspensions and braking
- Far more settings and options for players who use a wheel, which are also contextual
- The best Forza Horizon 5 steering wheels all take advantage of these improvements across a variety of price points and needs
- Achievements support. Forza Horizon 5 of course features Achievements for players to unlock and complete, and the full Forza Horizon 5 Achievements list breaks down how to finish them all.
- Different currencies. Forza Horizon 5 features a lot of currencies, with each having a different purpose, including XP, Credits, Kudos, Forzathon Points, Skill Points, and Accolade Points. FH5 introduces these currencies and their uses gradually to players, so that they never become overwhelming.
Open world, biomes, and seasons
Forza Horizon 5 has a broad open world to explore, and marks the return of seasons that were introduced in Forza Horizon 4. Forza Horizon 5's map is also the largest and most diverse world we've ever seen in a Forza Horizon game, with major changes even for existing features like seasons and weather.
Here are some of the best features about Forza Horizon 5's world:
- 1.5 times larger than Forza Horizon 4. True to their word, Playground Games has made Forza Horizon 5 the biggest Forza Horizon game yet, with a map approximately 1.5 times the size of Forza Horizon 4's Britain. That's a lot of ground to cover, and it features a huge variety of different locations, including:
- The largest highway in a Forza Horizon game yet, which stretches nearly corner to corner in Forza Horizon 5
- Several towns and cities, all of which capture Mexican culture in beautiful and colorful ways
- The return of multiple Horizon Festival sites, with the first Festival site being located on top of an old racetrack and airstrip (that's right, drag racing!)
- Eleven different biomes. To diversify the largest map in a Forza Horizon game to date, Playground included 11 different biomes for players to explore. Every biome has unique attributes, and interacts with weather and seasons in different ways. Biomes also blend together seamlessly, instead of abruptly cutting off at points. The 11 biomes include:
- Arid Hills — An excellent choice for offroading fans, the Arid Hills biome feature dry and grassy plains and hills, and even feature a lake that dries up in the winter and opens up new secrets and routes
- Canyon — One of the more striking FH5 areas, the Canyon biome is filled with unique rock formations and striations, including the existence of hoodoos (rock pillars and columns) and tons of reverb and echoes for audio
- Farmland — Farmlands in FH5 aren't like the farms in previous games, and feature lots of hilly and varied terrain filled with diverse foliage and vegetation, fruit-bearing trees, and much more for players to explore
- Jungle — As in the real world, the Jungle biome in FH5 is the most foliage dense and claustrophobic of all the biomes, with a ton of trees and other vegetation, heavy fog from heat and humidity, and a ton of secrets for players to discover
- Living Desert — Not every desert is dry and full of nothing but sand, as is proven by the Living Desert biome in FH5, which features a ton of vegetation like cactuses and flowers, and even boasts of unique rock formations
- Urban City — Headlined by Guanajuato, the Urban City biome is exactly as the name implies: an urban area densely packed with beautiful buildings showcasing Mexican architecture and culture, and lots of tight roads to drive down
- Sand Desert — The Sand Desert biome is closer to your typical desert, and is perfect for speed demons and offroading fanatics, as it features tons of towering sand dunes and long, straight roads
- Swamp — One of the most interesting biomes in FH5 is the Swamp, an absolutely gorgeous area that connects jungles to oceans and is filled with beautiful blue-green shallow water, rooted mangrove trees that can be crashed through, and more
- Tropical Coast — Most of the time, the Tropical Coast biome in FH5 is the definition of a picturesque Mexican vacation, with resorts, long white-sanded beaches, palm trees, and more, but that all changes with tropical storms in the wet season
- Rocky Coast — While it's still bordering the ocean, the Rocky Coast biome is the polar opposite of the Tropical Coast (they appear on opposite ends, in fact), and is characterized by unique rock formations, long uninterrupted beaches, and a golf course
- Volcano — The Volcano is not only the largest geographical location ever in a Forza Horizon game, but it's also the highest and features blistering blizzards, long winding roads, and even a volcanic research center and satellite dish
- The return of seasons. Forza Horizon 4's innovative seasons system returns, but is a little different. While seasons in Britain have very clear dividers between them, making for immediately obvious differences, Mexico's wide variety of ecosystems and environments means all four seasons affect all 11 biomes in different ways. This means:
- Every season behaves and looks different depending on where you are on the map (you can be in a blizzard on the mountain top and then drive down to the sweltering coast, for example)
- Biomes completely change for different seasons, including some areas only being accessible during a specific season
- Seasons affect gameplay in new and exciting ways and are even more deeply integrated. There are new events, challenges, and rewards for every season
- The season will still change once every week
- Seasons are localized for how they appear in Mexico, meaning Spring is the Hot Season, Summer is the Wet Season, Autumn is the Storm Season, and Winter is the Dry Season
- Dynamic and localized weather. One of the most exciting additions to Forza Horizon 5 is dynamic and localized weather. Yes, the weather in Forza Horizon 4 looked amazing, but when it was raining in one area, it was raining everywhere. In Forza Horizon 5, weather exists in specific areas, can be seen in the distance, and can be tracked down by players. Forza Horizon 5's weather system includes:
- Storm chasing, which means players can keep an eye out for major storms and literally track them across Forza Horizon 5's world
- Tropical and dust storms, which have huge and dramatic effects on the world. Dust storms are 3D, encapsulating everything and obstructing your view. Tropical storms shred trees and everything else in the area with high levels of wind, causing a buildup of debris
- These storms can grow and swell as they occur, but tend to stick in the location they started in. Storms can appear in multiple locations around the map
- The best Forza Horizon sky yet. Related to the new seasons and dynamic weather effects, Playground also put in the effort to ensure the sky in Forza Horizon 5 is the most impressive ever put in a game.
- Playground Games used an updated version of their sky capture rig, which uses three 8K cameras to stitch together a 12K picture of the sky
- Over 400 hours and 75TB of the Mexican sky was recorded, with the best parts picked out to be used in FH5
- Forza Horizon 5 uses advanced interpolation and algorithms to seamlessly stitch these recordings together, creating a nonstop and authentic Mexican sky
- All this work means there are significantly more weather presets for races and events, up to 2,000 (versus just over 300 in Forza Horizon 4)
- Authentic Mexican representation. Playground Games is obviously proud of the world it built for Forza Horizon 5, and its developers have mentioned that Mexico features a wonderful and deep culture in its people, locations, and cars. Playground has always strived to represent the cultures in the locations of its games accurately, and FH5, like in many other ways, aims to turn this up to 11, including:
- Original compositions from Mexican musicians for FH5's soundtrack
- Original artwork and murals from seven Mexican artists, including the one in the FH5 debut gameplay trailer by Farid Rueda
- Mexican writers and voice actors, which portray many of the characters in FH5
- New and updated world features. There's obviously more to Forza Horizon 5's improvements on top of these major changes as well, including (but not limited to):
- A ton of foliage, including cactus, is smashable in Forza Horizon 5, so you don't have to worry about them getting in your way
- Animals make a return, including flamingos, wild dogs, donkeys, goats, horned sheep, parrots and other birds, and more. Animals are more intelligent than in Forza Horizon 4, and can even have unique behaviors
- A ridiculous attention to detail, including how flocks of monarch butterflies can appear in certain locations and certain times of the year, coinciding with the annual monarch butterfly migration that moves through Mexico
- Plenty of pop culture references and easter eggs. Forza Horizon 5 features a ton of references to popular forms of media and secret easter eggs, both in its Achievements list and its world. If you pay close attention, who knows how many you'll be able to discover.
You can see more screenshots of Forza Horizon 5's gorgeous world below.
Cars, character, and event customization
If there's one thing that brings Forza Horizon players together like nothing else, it's the sheer level of creative freedom afforded by the games. Forza Horizon 5 is the most customizable and inclusive Forza Horizon yet, with nearly infinite replayability thanks to new player tools and features. Players have control over their cars, in-game characters, races, and even full-blown unique events you can't find anywhere else.
For even more in-depth information, we've compiled complete guides on upgrading cars in Forza Horizon 5, which details everything you need to know about customizing your car and improving upon it. For those that wish to go even deeper, we also have a comprehensive guide on tuning cars in Forza Horizon 5 after you finish upgrading them.
Here are the best features about Forza Horizon 5's car, character, and event customization:
- New car customizations. Cars are in everything you do in Forza Horizon 5, so it makes sense that you'd have a lot of control over your vehicles. Forza Horizon has always given players a lot of freedom to make their cars look and drive the way they want, but new additions have been lacking lately. Forza Horizon 5 adds a ton of new options, including:
- Major improvements to the interface for designing and painting cars, to make it closer to modern image editing software
- You can port liveries and car designs from Forza Horizon 4
- Hundreds of new visual upgrade parts for cars
- Over 100 new rim options
- Thousands of new performance upgrades for cars, including over 500 new engine swaps
- The ability to paint brake calipers, which has been a requested feature for years now
- Full body kits and new aero options, which significantly alter the look of supported cars
- Improved car physics. One of the smaller, but still welcomed, improvements in Forza Horizon 5 is the return of "drivetrain flex," which essentially refers to how cars wobble when revving their engines or accelerating. This ties into massively improved (and rebuilt) suspension and braking systems, which contribute to more realistic offroading in FH5 (and a brand-new "Offroad" performance stat for all cars). Finally, tire physics has also been massively improved, with all-new tire compounds available to upgrade your cars. These updates actually make driving easier in FH5, since cars behave closer to how you'd expect, and can be upgraded in more nuanced ways.
- Improved tire smoke and effects. The Forza Horizon community has also critiqued the tire smoke in Forza Horizon games in the past, and Playground listened here, too. Tire smoke in Forza Horizon 5 gets a big upgrade to have more volume and presence in the world, and these upgrades also apply to other effects like kicking up sand or dirt. Tire smoke even changes depending on how hot your tires are and how hot the current season is.
- Return of Skill Points. Every car you drive in Forza Horizon 5 has a collection of perks you can spend Skill Points to unlock, known as Car Mastery, which grants unique bonuses and perks to your car (such as increased XP, Credits, or even new cars).
- Car Collection screen. Forza Horizon 5 features a Car Collection screen, which is almost a "sticker book" of every available car in the game. Players can come here to view their car collection and see what vehicles they're missing, purchase missing cars in the collection directly from this screen, and even redeem rewards for reaching milestones and completing manufacturer collections. Rewards include XP, credits, and even exclusive Forza Edition cars.
- New character customizations. In-game characters have taken the spotlight more in recent Forza Horizon games, giving players another way to express themselves and personalize their game experience. Forza Horizon 5 character get all-new ways to customize them, including:
- Major improvements to inclusivity, including options for pronouns, a more diverse selection of base characters, and prosthetic limbs
- Hundreds of new clothing options
- New choices for voices and hairstyles
- While rarer clothing items are still obtained through Horizon Wheelspins, most of FH5's clothing and character customization items can be obtained through a new dedicated clothing shop
- Multiple Player Houses. Forza Horizon 5's Player Houses provide new places for players to rest, customize their cars and character, engage with the Festival Playlist, and more. There are seven to purchase, and each one features unique perks and rewards.
- EventLab. Likely one of the most exciting additions to Forza Horizon 5 for many players, EventLab is a full-blown level editor. This is an evolution of the "Create a Route" or "Super7" features from Forza Horizon 4, which are rolled into the new suite and gain massive improvements. EventLab adds near-infinite possibilities to Forza Horizon 5, and includes a ton of features like:
- Tools and options similar to the ones used by Forza Horizon developers
- The ability to individually place objects, tracks, items, and more, to custom design your track or world
- The ability to choose game objectives and rules, to create something truly unique
- EventLab will improve over time as the community provides feedback
- Races made in EventLab can even appear on the FH5 map for players
- Playground will pick the best and coolest modes and events from EventLab to showcase in Festival Playlists and Horizon Arcade
- Possibilities are endless enough that Playground genuinely has no idea what the community will be able to accomplish with EventLab
- The Route Creator has been augmented with features from FH4's Super7, and is now a part of the EventLab umbrella
- Convertible cars. Convertible cars have existed in Forza Horizon games before, but with FH5 you're able to put the top off or take it down with the click of a single button, even when you're out in the wide FH5 world! This is an awesome addition, and the above clip shows the attention to detail players can expect when they get into a convertible.
- Related to how some cars will have convertible tops that can be toggled on the go, different cars in Forza Horizon 5 also feature different driving modes that players can toggle between.
Online play and social features
Online and social features have long been a huge part of Forza Horizon, connecting players across the open world and making it easier to play together. Forza Horizon 5 makes big changes to make online play more accessible and seamless than ever before, with a host of new features to incentivize players to participate in online events and play. This means new tools, events, and more in Forza Horizon 5.
Here are some of the best features about Forza Horizon 5's online play:
- Horizon Life. Forza Horizon 5 does away with its limited 24-player servers and instead includes one massive server that everyone connects to simultaneously, making FH5 more "MMO-like." This is contextual, so players are more likely to run into other players in different locations, like cities. It means you're more likely to find nearby players interested in engaging in activities like Horizon Arcade and Tour.
- Horizon Open. Forza Horizon 5 condenses its classic Forza Horizon PvP modes under one barrier, with players able to seamlessly leap into races, challenges, and events in Horizon Open. These races and events are designed to be more accessible and inviting, so that players aren't needlessly penalized and dragged down (skill-based matchmaking is still here, but ranked competitive play is not). Horizon Open is divided into four categories, including:
- Open Racing, which includes a wide variety of classic race events
- Open Drifting, which lets players test out their drifting skills on a variety of surfaces
- Playground Games, a cleverly named series that combines a ton of game modes like Flag Rush, King, and more
- The Eliminator, a Battle Royale mode that debuted late in FH4's career and returns in Forza Horizon 5
- Horizon Tour. Related to Horizon Open, Tour lets you meet up to five other players and travel to various race locations to battle it out against AI Drivatars. Horizon Tours periodically change their location and themes (types of vehicles and customization allowed, etc.), meaning there's plenty of variety. Using Forza LINK (more below), you can seamlessly join convoys and Horizon Tours at any point.
- Horizon Arcade. Forza Horizon 5 is packed with a ton of new mini-games, all of which fit under the Horizon Arcade banner. These aren't game modes for which you need to search. Instead, they happen dynamically all over the Forza Horizon 5 map as public events while you're driving around with other players. Players can participate in these spontaneous events to earn Forzathon Points.
- Forza LINK. Forza Horizon's ANNA AI isn't going anywhere, but the antiquated "Chat" option is replaced with another AI: LINK. LINK intelligently keeps track of what players enjoy playing, how they've progressed, and what they're currently up to when playing online, and helps you connect with other people with seamless and easy recommendations, as well as contextual chat.
- Kudos. A new social currency in Forza Horizon 5, Kudos can be gifted to players (or received). This encourages players to practice fair and generous gameplay, as Kudos can be gifted for helping players out, being a good sport, giving Gift Drops, creating awesome things, and more. Collecting Kudos can help you unlock new flairs, which can be attached to your player label.
- Gift Drops. Gift Drops are similar to Barn Finds, except players can tune and design their own cars and hide them in the world for a random Forza Horizon player. Anyone in Forza Horizon 5 has a chance to find the Gift Drop, and then they get to keep the car. This is a great way of encouraging charitable play in Forza Horizon 5.
- Players can customize what group of FH5 players can get the Gift Drop (new, returning, or Hall of Fame players), choose from a selection of friendly messages, and can optionally sign the package
- Gift Drops do permanently remove the selected vehicle from your garage, but someone else will get to keep that car forever
- Whenever you find a Gift Drop, you're able to give the gifting player a Kudos
- The Gift Drop is left in a Barn Find on the receiving player's map, so they can go and pick it up
- Festival Playlist. Returned from Forza Horizon 4, the Forza Horizon 5 Festival Playlist is new and improved. Weekly and monthly updates are planned for Forza Horizon 5, with the Festival Playlist offering several hours of additional gameplay every week and exclusive rewards. The above guide includes everything you need to know about the Festival Playlist, including the current challenges and rewards.
- Co-op support. Everything in Forza Horizon 5 can be played in co-op, including the campaign chapters and Expeditions. Progress is maintained no matter how you play, so there's no barrier to playing in co-op.
- You can start playing online or with co-op immediately after the opening drive and first Horizon Story in FH5
Audio and car sounds
Forza Horizon 4 is a fantastic game in practically every way, but there is one thing that it consistently lacks in according to the Forza community: car sounds. Forza Horizon 4 uses the same car sounds repeatedly for multiple vehicles, features low-quality recordings, and has a tendency to make every car sound practically the same. Forza Horizon 5 features substantial and colossal advancements in audio design and car sounds, and is a notable improvement over its predecessor.
Here's what you need to know about audio in Forza Horizon 5:
- No more "dyno" recording method. Many other racing games use the "dyno" method to record their car audio, which effectively straps a car in and records it revving up to max. This method is officially retired in FH5, as it's inherently limiting and doesn't accurately capture a car's complex sounds.
- Live recording on a track or airstrip. Instead, Forza Horizon 5 leans fully into Playground Games' favorite method of recording: strapping a bunch of microphones to a car and driving it around. This leads to more authentic and varied engine sounds per car.
- Over 320 new car recordings. During the development of FH5, Playground recorded over 320 new car recordings on top of the existing library in Forza Horizon 4, a huge surplus that should lead to more varied sounds.
- Playground also went the extra mile by ensuring they recorded a ton of different individual upgrade parts and levels, so that engine sounds accurately shift with the addition of new and improved upgraded parts
- Major improvements to car audio. Car engine noises are getting several other major enhancements in FH5, including:
- 100% use of the granular synthesis technique, versus only 10-15% in Forza Horizon 4. Granular synthesis lets Playground chop up audio files into many segments and stitch them together seamlessly as needed. This means no matter how you're driving, your cars will always sound dynamic and natural
- Car audio is always 90 FPS, versus the 60 FPS the game plays at normally. Combined with granular synthesis, this means car sounds in Forza Horizon 5 are incredibly reactive, with no gaps between action and sound
- Forza Horizon 5 also uses a brand-new modular audio system, which can intelligently recognize your car, its engine type, and its various engine upgrades, and pull from the existing library of sounds to create a unique and natural sound, including for engine upgrades like turbochargers, superchargers, exhausts, and much more, and distinct sounds like transmission whines and the characteristic sound of an electric or hybrid car
- Improvements to tire sounds are also included, with FH5 able to use all of its upgrades (including the new modular system) to adapt tire sounds to the car and tire type being used
- Engine upgrades can be heard in real-time. FH5 lets you hear engine upgrades in real-time while customizing your car with a new "Rev engine" button. You can hear the difference between different engine upgrades like intakes, camshafts, and more, and even between entire engine swaps.
- Improvements to first-person audio. If you prefer to drive your car in first person, you're in luck! Audio gets major improvements in this department to elevate the cockpit feel to a new level. Some of the improvements include:
- Audio is muffled accurately when inside a closed car
- New FH5 audio systems track how sound travels around the inside of a car, including reverb
- Convertibles will have different first-person soundscapes depending on whether or not the top is up or down
- Audio ray tracing. While visual ray tracing is limited to Forzavista (which includes the menu for upgrading your car!), audio ray tracing is being applied to the entire game. This means Forza Horizon 5 traces audio as it bounces off the environment like walls, ceilings, buildings, and more. Reverb and echoes are realistic and accurate, especially in environments like tunnels.
- Ray tracing occlusion also means players can pinpoint the locations of nearby cars (even around buildings and other obstacles) by the noises of their engines
- Forza Horizon 5 sounds better on Xbox Series X|S. Microsoft's current-gen gaming consoles unlock a new compression format for audio. This means FH5 has higher fidelity audio on Xbox Series X|S, which applies to all audio, including music, environmental noises, and car sounds.
- All cars benefit. Finally, it should be noted that all cars in FH5 benefit from these audio improvements. This means whether you're exploring the world by yourself, playing online with others, or racing through Mexico, all the cars around you will reflect all of these audio improvements.
- An all-new soundtrack. Forza Horizon 5 features the series' best soundtrack yet, according to Playground Games, and it certainly features a healthy mix of big artists, indie musicians, and original compositions just for FH5.
- Bass Arena, helmed by Scott Tyler, returns in Forza Horizon 5 with a new lineup of tracks
- We also get the next evolution of Hospital Records, Pulse, Block Party, Eterna (which replaces Timeless FM for classical music plenty of classical music), and XS
- There's also a new and improved streamer mode, which should protect creators making content out of Forza Horizon 5, with a healthy mix of original compositions and specially licensed music
What are the accessibility features in Forza Horizon 5?
Accessibility is always vital in gaming, and investments in the space continue to grow as time goes on. Microsoft, especially, places a lot of importance on accessibility, a trend that continues with Forza Horizon 5. Playground Games has baked a ton of accessibility options and improvements in FH5, some of which include:
- Control over game speed. Forza Horizon 5 includes a setting that allows players to slow down the overall speed of the game when playing offline
- Visual modes. Forza Horizon 5 includes a variety of accessible visual modes, including high contrast options and several colorblind modes that can be customized separately for the UI and game visuals, the ability to disable all moving backgrounds, and customization options for notification durations
- Text options. Forza Horizon 5 includes many options for customizing text and subtitles, including all font size in gameplay and menus, background opacity for subtitles, and the ability to highlight especially important words in subtitles
- Live sign language translation. Forza Horizon 5 will sign language support for ASL and BSL languages in cinematics with the Series 5 update
- Screen narration. Forza Horizon 5 includes full-screen narration for menus, on-screen text, options, and more
- Text-to-speech. Forza Horizon 5 includes full text-to-speech support, which lets players participate in voice chat with text translated to a synthesized voice
- Speech-to-text. Forza Horizon 5 also includes speech-to-text support, which lets players receive transcripted text translated from voice chat
- More accessible online experience. Playground Games made Forza Horizon 5's online more accessible, with improvements like:
- A more seamless and natural transition from singleplayer campaign play to the live service Festival Playlist
- Less focus on purely winning and more of a focus on having fun and winning if you can
- Better UI and UX for navigating online experiences, including joining and staying in Convoys
- Voiceover localization. Forza Horizon 5 is available in many regions all around the world, and as such supports full voiceover localization for a variety of markets and languages, including:
- Spanish (Mexico)
- Portuguese (Brazil)
- Chinese (Simplified)
- Localized text support: Forza Horizon 5 will also support localized text — meaning all subtitles, menus, and other text will be changed — for the following languages:
- Spanish (Mexico and Spain)
- Portuguese (Brazil)
- Chinese (Traditional)
- Chinese (Simplified)
What platforms will get Forza Horizon 5?
Forza Horizon 5 is available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming. It's also available day one on Xbox Game Pass. Forza Horizon 5 is not coming to other platforms like PlayStation or Nintendo Switch. Here's everything you need to know about every platform Forza Horizon 5 is available.
Xbox Series X|S
Forza Horizon 5 has been designed from the ground up to show off what the Xbox Series X|S current-gen consoles are capable of, and it delivers. Forza Horizon 5 is a visual and technical showcase on Xbox Series X|S, with a generally excellent experience all the way around.
Here's everything you need to know about Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Series X|S
- Performance targets. To get the most technical (and arguably least important) information out of the way first, here's how Forza Horizon 5 runs on Xbox Series X|S:
- 4K resolution and 30 FPS on Xbox Series X in Quality Mode
- 1440p resolution and 30 FPS on Xbox Series S in Quality Mode
- 4K resolution and 60 FPS on Xbox Series X in Performance Mode
- 1080p resolution and 60 FPS on Xbox Series S in Performance Mode
- Quality versus Performance modes. As indicated by FH5's performance targets on Xbox Series X|S, players will get to choose between Quality and Performance Modes in Forza Horizon 5. Fortunately, both modes offer a fantastic experience with little compromises, meaning players simply have to choose if visuals or framerates are more important to them.
- Parity between consoles. Aside from resolution, the experience between Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S is almost identical, with both consoles managing to push similar graphical and visual settings.
- Ray tracing. Forza Horizon 5 is the first Forza Horizon game to embrace ray tracing, which enables accurate and true-to-life tracking for lights, shadows, reflections, and much more. Forza Horizon 5 supports ray tracing on Xbox Series X|S, although it's limited to the Forzavista mode, where players can admire their cars in their full ray-traced glory.
- Smart Delivery. Like many other Xbox games that span generations, Forza Horizon 5 supports Xbox Smart Delivery. This means you have to buy Forza Horizon 5 only once for Xbox consoles, and Xbox will automatically download the best possible version of the game for the console you're playing on, at no additional cost. This also includes Xbox cloud saves, meaning there's full cross-progression between generations.
- Cross-platform play. Forza Horizon 5 embraces every platform it's available on, which means it supports crossplay between Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Cross-save is also supported across all of these platforms, with the exception of Forza Horizon 5 on Steam.
- Improved world and visuals. The power of Xbox Series X|S allows for improvements across the board for both gameplay and visuals. This includes features like:
- Full HDR10 support for improved contrast and colors
- Improved draw distances, so players can see farther and with more detail
- Improved load speeds, so players can start racing faster
- Improved details and textures for both cars and the world
- Improved audio fidelity
- Massively increased resolution for car paints and decals
Xbox One consoles may be "last-gen," but they still have a lot of life left in them. Forza Horizon 5 is available on Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X, and it offers a solid experience. Of course, players won't enjoy nearly the same visual quality and sheer performance of the more powerful Xbox Series X|S consoles or PC, but FH5 is still great on older consoles.
Here's everything you need to know about Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox One:
- Performance targets. There are still millions of players using an Xbox One console, so it's important to know how FH5 will performance on those older machines. Here are the performance targets for the Xbox One family:
- 4K resolution at 30 FPS, with reduced visual fidelity, on Xbox One X
- 1080p resolution at 30 FPS, with reduced visual fidelity, on Xbox One and Xbox One S (the regular One does not support HDR)
- Smart Delivery. If you buy Forza Horizon 5 while on Xbox One, know that you'll always have the best experience possible wherever you play. Forza Horizon 5 scales across all Xbox consoles using Smart Delivery, meaning you can buy and fall in love with the game while on Xbox One, and then immediately experience an upgraded version of Forza Horizon 5 when you move to an Xbox Series X or S.
- Cross-platform play. Forza Horizon 5 embraces every platform it's available on, which means it supports crossplay between Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Cross-save is also supported across all of these platforms, with the exception of Forza Horizon 5 on Steam.
- Improvements over Forza Horizon 4. Forza Horizon 4 already pushed the Xbox One generation of consoles to its limits when it came to graphics, so don't expect Forza Horizon 5 to be a big visual jump when playing on Xbox One. That doesn't mean there isn't a ton to look forward to, including:
- A bigger and more diverse world than ever before
- Brand-new ways to play with new races, events, challenges, and more
- Improved online multiplayer with in-world public events, more ways to find new friends and more
- EventLab event editor, which allows full creative freedom to build new events, maps, and more
- Tons of other improvements to customization, accessibility, cars, the world, and more
Microsoft's newfound and growing support of PC gaming means Forza Horizon 5 (and practically every other Xbox Game Studios title) launched on PC at the same time as Xbox platforms. We've broken down everything you need to know about Forza Horizon 5 on PC, including whether or not your PC can run it, supported features and options, the lack of VR support, and more.
The best gaming desktops and best gaming laptops will play Forza Horizon 5 with unparalleled levels of quality and detail, but the best Forza Horizon 5 PCs specifically target the game's requirements for the best experience possible.
Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud)
Forza Horizon 5 is available on Xbox Cloud Gaming, previously known as Project xCloud. If you're not familiar with Xbox Cloud Gaming, it's included in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (which also includes Xbox Game Pass for consoles and PC), and lets you play a wide variety of full-blown Xbox games on your phone, tablet, or laptop. This means you're not only able to tear through the Mexican deserts on your Xbox console or PC while at home, but also while you're on the go.
Here's everything you need to know about Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Cloud Gaming:
- Powered by Xbox Series X. Xbox Cloud Gaming has long been powered by server blades based on the aging Xbox One S console. Now, Xbox Cloud Gaming is officially built on top of custom Xbox Series X server blades, delivering superior load speeds, latency, performance, and visuals. Xbox Series X|S Optimized games get the greatest benefits, which will include Forza Horizon 5 when it launches.
- Xbox Cloud Gaming streams games at up to 1080p and 60 FPS
- Cross-platform play. Playing Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Cloud Gaming doesn't mean giving up on online multiplayer with your friends or managing a separate save. Forza Horizon 5 still supports full crossplay and cross-save on Xbox Cloud Gaming, just like it does on Xbox consoles. Play on PC or Xbox, then take your phone on the go and never lose a moment.
- Xbox One upgrade. Using the power of the cloud, you can play games far beyond the capabilities of the aging Xbox One consoles, breathing new life into the console platform.
- Mobile gaming. It should go without saying, but Forza Horizon 5 and Xbox Cloud Gaming means you can play one of the best racing games ever literally anywhere you have an internet connection. Be it your phone, a tablet, or even a non-gaming computer, Xbox Cloud Gaming aims to "just work."
- All you need is a controller and an internet connection, and maybe some of the best Xbox Cloud Gaming accessories
When was the release date for Forza Horizon 5?
Forza Horizon 5 released on Nov. 9, 2021, for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and PC. Those who preordered Forza Horizon 5 Premium Edition or the Premium Add-Ons Bundle were able to gain early access to Forza Horizon 5 starting on Nov. 5.
Forza Horizon 5 was the latest Xbox Game Studios title to launch simultaneously on Xbox, PC, and Xbox Game Pass. Xbox Cloud Gaming players on mobile devices were also able to hop behind the wheel on day one. Forza Horizon 5 is an Xbox Play Anywhere title, meaning those who purchase from the Microsoft Store on Xbox or PC will immediately own the game on both platforms.
On Oct. 18, 2021, Playground Games confirmed that Forza Horizon 5 had officially "gone gold." Effectively, this means the game was feature complete with a "version 1.0" that can be loaded onto discs and prepared for release, and was right in line with FH5 releasing on time. Forza Horizon 5 did suffer from some known issues and bugs at launch, including a PC crashing issue, and Playground is always working on stabilizing and strengthening the game over time.
If you're just getting started, our Forza Horizon 5 beginner's guide includes tips and tricks to help you find your footing and excel in Forza Horizon 5.
Versions & pricing
Ever since Forza Horizon 5 first became available to preorder, we kept careful track of every edition, DLC, and option you need to be aware of. Our ultimate guide to buying Forza Horizon 5 covers absolutely everything, including all you need to know about why there isn't a Forza Horizon 5 demo, what editions are available, where you can purchase FH5, and more. There's also an exclusive limited-edition FH5 Xbox Controller, which even includes in-game perks, available for preorder.
Forza Horizon 5 isn't just one of the best Xbox racing games, it's also one of the best Xbox games in general. Playground Games have crafted an excellent open-world racing game from every angle, and it's now available on Xbox and PC.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
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.