Even by the series’ standards, Playground Games’ Forza Horizon 5 is pretty massive. The developer is aiming to make it the biggest Horizon title yet along with introducing more gameplay variety than before. While differing weather conditions across the map and massive storms you can drive into are cool, the core game is undergoing some big changes. Speaking to Eurogamer, principal game designer Mike Brown spoke more about the new modes and old modes that are being revamped.
In terms of new content, there are Expeditions. Brown describes each one as “kind of a – I’d call it a high point in the campaign. So it’s like one of those events that you’ll build up towards, and then you’ll get the opportunity to take part in an Expedition, which will see you head out and explore a new area of the world which you probably haven’t seen yet. They’re led by a character that we saw in the demo yesterday – his name is Ramiro, or Rami. And he is Mexican, he loves Mexico, he acts as something of a tour guide while we’re there. His character is really enthusiastic that the Horizon Festival has arrived in Mexico,and he’s going to show us all the amazing things that there are to see.”
These essentially serve as curated experiences and include scenarios with a tropical storm, going up to the volcano (while it’s active) and much more. “They offer us an opportunity to showcase a lot of the really exciting things that the game has to offer in a curated, story-driven experience. A lot of those things can and will happen in free-roam just naturally, while you’re exploring, but this gives a more curated way to do it. At the end of each Expedition, you open up a new Horizon festival site, and with that opens up a load of new races.”
Multiplayer is also getting a face-lift. Dubbed Horizon Open, it’s all about being “more low pressure, more inclusive, more accessible” than Forza Horizon 4’s Ranked Adventure. “Horizon 4’s Ranked Adventure made winning, like, super important. It made people really, really want to win a lot, and get very angry when they couldn’t. So we’re trying to address that balance. Winning is still obviously the objective, and still what you want to do, but it’s not intended to be the be all and end all of it. We’re trying to make an experience that is more welcoming, fun and engaging without, hopefully, some of the frustrations that people found in Forza Horizon 4.”
Forzathon Live is also out and replaced by Horizon Arcade. You’re not longer competing in one game mode per hour – instead, there will be public events encompassing 12 modes that are available at all times in the open world. “Really low friction, you can drive into the area to take part, there’s no loading screens, no menus or anything. Rather than the one game mode we had in Forzathon Live, there’s now 12 different game modes as well, they’re all intended to be little, fun mini-games, and they’re all collaborative as well.
“So none of them are a case of like, we’re going to find out who’s the best driver – it’s all things you can work together as a group to overcome the objective. And as soon as one finishes, because they’re happening all the time, it’ll just route that group to the next one. You can just drive away and not take part if you want to, but the kind of natural flow is that you stick together and you go into another one, you just kind of hop around the map taking part in these different mini-games.”
Forza Horizon 5 is out on November 9th for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC. For more details on the choice of Mexico as a setting, head here.
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