We finally know for certain exactly where Forza Horizon 5’s automotive hijinks will be taking place. For ages, the open-world driving game’s map was rumoured to take place in Japan, but more recently, the expectation shifted to Mexico. Sure enough, the latter locale has been confirmed via an announcement trailer released by Forza at the weekend.
We’re promised a map that includes “a living desert, a dense jungle, and an active volcano in an authentic and vibrant depiction of Mexico”. On the latter front, there’s a presumably downsized but faithful reproduction of Guanajuato City, and even real Mexican skies that were filmed over a 24-hour period in 12k using an HDR camera rig.
The result is a near photo-realistic backdrop, which will be shown in 4K 30 FPS providing you have an Xbox Series X, or 1080p 30 FPS on the Series S. The car models shown in Forzavista are ray traced for an extra dash of realness, and there’s also an optional 60 FPS “performance mode”.
We don’t yet know how many cars are going to be at your disposal in this Southern American playground, but there are plenty of big hitters turning up in both the trailer and the initial gameplay footage. The game’s hero car, the Mercedes-AMG One, will be joined by big-hitters including the Koenigsegg Jesko and McLaren Senna. For those wanting more ground clearance, vehicles like the new Land Rover Defender and Ford Bronco will be available, and just to prove it’s not all new, shiny things, a Mitsubishi Evo X and a Subaru Impreza 22B are both seen in the gameplay footage.
You’ll be able to fiddle with these cars more than ever before, thanks to the inclusion of 100 new wheel designs, which are among hundreds of visual mods alongside thousands of performance upgrades. The cars aren’t the only thing with a high level of customisation, either - there’s a more diverse range of characters to choose from, and it’s possible to choose from myriad voices, items of clothing, hairstyles, pronouns and even prosthetic limbs for them.
If you’re anything like us, a big chunk of your initial time in the game will simply involve exploring, but when you’re ready to compete, there are plenty of options. There’s something called ‘Horizon Open’, that lets you quickly rock up at races, drifty showdowns and more, Horizon Tour, which will see you meet up with other users then race them, and Horizon Arcade, for some typically ridiculous challenges and other minigames.
EventLab is like the old Blueprint Builder but better, and there’s also a new feature called ‘Gift Drops’. You can customise a car however you want, then tuck it away somewhere on the map for other drivers to find. Neat!
The game will be out on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and Windows 10 from 9 November. However, anyone with the swanky Premium Edition will get ‘Early Access’ starting on 5 November. The game will have a close rival in the form of Test Drive: Solar Crown, although we don’t have a release date for that title just yet.