What We Learned About Forza Horizon 5 At Gamescom

What We Learned About Forza Horizon 5 At Gamescom
Image: Microsoft

Xbox has just had their big presentation at Gamescom, and while we learned lots about plenty of games, it was Forza Horizon 5 that stole my heart. Here are some of the big things I learned both during the presentation and in an interview with creative director Mike Brown.

The cover cars are cool

gamescom forza horizon 5
Image: Forza Horizon 5 / Xbox

The cover car has always set the tone for Forza Horizon games. The Dodge Viper on the cover of Horizon 1 told you the game was going to be sporty, all American, and a bit different to what had come before. FH2’s Lamborghini Huracan spoke to the European luxury indulgence of it all. Horizon 3 had the Ford F 150 racing ute, and I don’t think it gets any more Australian than that unless they could have a Holden Sandman doing donuts in a Coles carpark. Horizon 4 was all about celebrating British engineering with the high-class McLaren Senna, and the Land Rover Defender. Land Rovers are so iconically British that Prince Philip had one modified so it could be used as his hearse.

The Horizon 5 cover cars follow in this tradition. The Ford Bronco Badlands is hugely popular in Mexico, and is perfectly suited to the rugged terrain featured in the game.

Meanwhile, the Mercedes AMG1 is a ridiculous brand-new car from Mercedes, set to tear up the longest ever highways in FH5. The vehicle has a Formula 1 engine in a road legal car, and for the first time in the game, players will be able to change it from track mode to street mode, giving a performance change. Track and street modes will also be available on other, as yet unnamed cars.

“When you put it into track mode, the suspension drops the wing pops out the back loads events open on the side,” Brown said. “That’s not just a visual change, that is a performance change. If you’re driving around in free roam, you can hit the button, watch the car change and feel the change of handling as well.

What they learned from Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 5
You can play with friends and/or foes, depending on your mood.

Brown said that the team had really learned a lot from Horizon 4, and planned on bringing those lessons into improving Horizon 5. “With each Horizon game, we have really lent into freedom, and the idea of giving players the ability to chart their own path through the campaign remains true in Horizon 5. But I think we felt that it was possible to get yourself in situations in Horizon 4 where it wasn’t necessarily clear what your next goal should be or what the game was asking you to do.”

So, for Brown, it was important to better show players what they could do next if they wanted to progress as the developers planned, without forcing players to do something they weren’t interested in. “There is a huge amount of freedom that allows you to just sidestep content that you maybe don’t want to do just now. If you want to play the game and just explore the world or just do PR stunts or just do racing, the game will absolutely support you in that. But it lays out your goals and objectives in a way that I think is more compelling than in Forza Horizon 4.”

Forza Horizon 5 will have a new difficulty mode

One of the bigger changes is that there is going to be a brand-new difficulty mode for players who want to explore and progress more than they want to be challenged. It’s appropriately named The Tourist, and is perfect for people who just want to cruise around, new players, and those with accessibility needs. All the other difficulty modes are coming back, with the game able to be completed on any difficulty level. There are also going to be new assists to make driving easier for those who have difficulty with traditional racing games, or who are brand new to playing.

There’s going to be original music

forza horizon 5
Image: Microsoft

While there’s still no word on what the songlist is going to be, or how much music there’s going to be (I’m really hoping each radio station is going to have a much longer playlist, because some nights I swear my dreams play the Horizon Pulse playlist in full), we do know there’s going to be something new.

“We’ve been able to work with some artists to produce original compositions for the game. Three of the tracks we heard in that [Gamescom presentation] were original compositions and we have a few more of those throughout the rest of the game as well,” Brown said.

The team worked with multiple artists they admired to compose new music specifically for certain cut scenes or challenges, like the initial drive that opens the game. “There’s a few situations in the game we’ve been able to work with artists including some Mexican artists to produce original compositions that really, really make those experiences sing.”

Having original music in the game will presumably also help streamers who fear DMCA strikes, much in the same way the current Hospital Radio station does now in Horizon 4.

There’s just 73 days to go for those who have preordered. For everyone else, Forza Horizon 5 launches on Xbox Game Pass on November 5.


  • I literally had to go and look at my FH3 cover cause I thought to myself, it’s a Centenario on the front cover.. I don’t think I ever really saw the F150 behind it!!

    That being said, I think a Maloo WOULD’VE been more Australian, even without the Coles carpark burnouts..

  • “I don’t think it gets any more Australian than that”
    Really? An American car can’t be any more Australian than that?
    They could’ve used any Holden and it would’ve been better. The VFII or the Malloo if they wanted the ute

    Hell, a Hilux would be more Australian seeing as it’s so much more popular

      • Holden, even though they got bought out, is the most Australian car brand there is. Ford is American, that’s all

        Good article btw, I wish more articles were done like this

  • All i want is for them to use car sounds that match the actual cars. Forza 7 and Horizon 4 had some of the worst sounding cars and most inaccuracies.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!