For years, Forza has been a hotline for gamers. Return to any Microsoft E3 presentation and you’ll find gamers rolling their eyes at the inevitable Forza segment. Racing games have long been a niche in video games and have struggled to win a so-called “hardcore” fan base.
Forza Horizon 5 it looks like it will finally break through the skepticism barrier. Microsoft’s upcoming game isn’t your traditional racing game driven by the kind of automated jargon that only a hardcore would love. Like its predecessors, this is an open-world adventure game that takes the off-road genre more. It offers a more creative set of ideas and goals for those who don’t feel like driving around in an interesting circle.
I got a fresh look at the game ahead of Tuesday’s Gamescom Opening Night live stream and found myself completely hooked Forza Horizon 5 had to provide. At first, I wasn’t sure why it got me so excited. Then it hit me: It’s basically a Fast and Furious video game.
F stands for Forza… and family
The short clip I watched shows four different cars exploring Forza Horizon 5Mexico’s scenic spots. Video does not start on track or backtrack. Instead, we are on a plane flying high in the sky. The tailgate opened and a Ford Bronco carefully rolled out, straight through the air. A parachute opened, it touched down on a dirt road, and then took off. A second car quickly crossed its path, starting an informal “street” race.
The Bronco continued to run forward until it reached a metal railing. It exploded through it, flew through the air, and landed perfectly in the middle of the ongoing race. It’s the kind of action franchise you won’t see in something like the F1 series.
My brain immediately followed the Fast and Furious franchise, which has taken many forms during its 20-year run. Although the series started out as a mid-budget TV series about street racing, it has since elevated the status of every movie. Fast year is a full-on heist movie in which cars steal a vault and drag it through city streets while on the run from the police. This year Fast 9 There are some out-of-this-world stunts that – literally – break the rules by itself.
That’s also the vibe I get when I watch Forza’s cars slam straight out of a plane or do 20-foot jumps and dash out unscathed. At the end of the clip, I saw a Corvette Stingray barrel through a large dust storm and a Porsche Desert Flyer through a dense forest. The latter is literally the setup section that opens Fast 9, when Dominic Toretto and his driver’s family avoided cars while weaving through trees.
Forza Horizon 5 not quite as simple as the Fast saga – at least not yet. It’s still largely based on reality, bearing more in common with the first three installments in the Fast and Furious franchise than the previous six. The focus is on highlighting great cars (like the Mercedes AMG One), beautiful locations and different races. However, the Forza Horizon series has shown that it’s willing to get a little silly. Forza Horizon 4 famous for having a full Lego expansion that adds cube cars to the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a Halo Warthog enter the race within a year.
Watching the new footage, I was thinking of the three Forza Horizon games ahead. I can see a world where Microsoft tries to step up the game with the series, delivering more spectacle with each game and setting it apart from the more cramped Forza Motorsport series. When I see a car parachuting out of a plane, I’m imagining a person making an impossible leap between skyscrapers like in Furious 7.
In my opinion, that will be how Microsoft will finally get through a decade of not caring about skeptics. Forza Horizon 5 can combine the tight mechanics of a niche genre with the broad appeal of a goofy blockbuster for an unimpressive genre transformation. All it needs is Vin Diesel.
Forza Horizon 5 launches November 9 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. It will be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch.