I’ve heavily criticised Forza Horizon 4 since its release but despite all that I haven’t lost any faith in the franchise as a whole. I made the choice at the beginning of the current generation of consoles to buy the Xbox One before the Playstation 4 due to my love of the Forza games but going forward I keep telling myself not to buy a console just for a franchise. This of course leads to the likelihood I will be purchasing a Playstation 5 before, or potentially entirely instead of, the Xbox Series X.
However, if the below list of things I would like to see brought to Forza Horizon 5 is met, and Microsoft show off any of the exclusives they keep hinting surreptitiously they definitely have, I could be persuaded to change my mind on which of the new consoles to buy first. Without further ado, here are five things I would love to see brought to the next Forza Horizon game that would greatly improve the chance of the Series X getting to my home before the PS5.
Set In Japan
After the flawless experience that was the Horizon festival visiting Australia, Japan as the next destination was obvious! Instead of this brilliant idea however, Playground Games decided that the UK would be the best place to carry on the insane and awe-inspiring spectacle. This led to more of an underwhelming sparkler than a firework display but thankfully it is behind us now..
There has yet to be a Horizon festival in an Asian setting, and where could be better than Tokyo! The entire Japanese cultural and architectural aesthetic matches perfectly with what players expect from the Horizon franchise, and I can’t imagine a better location for the next Horizon games’ introduction to the Xbox Series X.
If the next game is determined not to be set in Asia, I would love to see a Horizon game in Brazil, Moscow, Toronto or Cape Town, and I’m confident that these locations could serve just as well as Tokyo in providing the greatest game of the franchise.
More Street Racing
I felt this aspect was somewhat neglected by Horizon 4 as it continued the trope of refusing to acknowledge the street racing scene as part of the festival. The street races are always great for bringing out a diverse variety of cars for each race, and when combined with the hazard of AI cars roaming the route it adds another level of excitement into the events. All the other types of events like cross country and road races seem to get actual characters to drive them forward (pun un-apologetically intentional) whereas the street scene characters tend to just be a voice at the end of a phone.
While I don’t play these games for the character interaction, I think if the street races were formally included within the setting of Horizon 5 it would be a clear sign of development for them as at the moment they seem woefully under supported.
Add Race Tracks
Yes, before I start, I’m well aware that the Forza Motorsport games exist.
Horizon 4’s Lego Speed Champions expansion attempted this but it was an overall underwhelming experience due to the track being so small, bland and tight. It would have been fine if it was only used for go karts, but when it came to racing the worlds fastest and most exciting cars on it, it felt really lacking on all fronts. The attempt hasn’t gone completely unappreciated, even if I am sounding like a whining child when describing it, and I think if the idea is re-attempted on a larger scale it could be an incredible addition to the Horizon franchise.
When The Crew was being marketed, included in its ambitious goal of having the entire United States as its open world map, it also advertised you would be able to drive to and race on any of the country’s various race tracks. I didn’t make it this far in the game as all the cars handled so badly I couldn’t play it for more than an hour, but this is exactly the sort of draw that the Forza Horizon games could aim to implement.
Get Rid Of Clothes And Emotes
I shouldn’t have to explain this point but I will anyway. Playground Games decision to introduce Fortnite dances and hundreds of offensively dull clothing choices as rewards in Forza Horizon 4 is the most abhorrent and aggravating form of game design I have ever experienced. The fact that in my 130+ hour play time I have ‘won’ clothes when I should have been awarded credits to buy new cars and improve my current ones is nothing short of a kick in the teeth. This feature should be stripped out entirely for all future additions to the franchise and I hope we never need to discuss it ever again!
More Showcase Events
The showcase events in the Horizon games are nothing shy of iconic. The very first one in Horizon 1 from 2012 featured racing a Ford Mustang Boss down a mountain against a Mustang bi-plane, and on a couple of occasions during the race the plane would swoop down over the car as the camera slowed down and panned in, building the adrenaline and excitement until the crowd screams their approval at the end when you won (or lost) the race. All the Horizon games have been equally great when it comes to showcases, particularly the Fast and Furious expansion finale to Horizon 2 which saw the finish line of the race on a plane that was travelling down a runway to take off!
The only issue with showcases is that there tends to only be a couple of them per game, and going forward I think there should be the option for player created ones to be added through the Forza Blueprint system introduced in Horizon 3.
My decision on whether to get an Xbox Series X hinges predominantly on Playground Games ability to get their act together after Horizon 4 was the weakest title in the franchise. I’m sure it is a decision I will be able to make within a minute of seeing the Horizon 5 announcement trailer, whenever that happens, so in the meantime let me know your wishlist for the next Horizon game in the comments below or on our Twitter @RespawningUK. Thank you for reading and I’ll be back to speak to you again soon.