It's not even been a decade and we've almost had five fully fledged Forza Horizon games. Five! You would think the series would have ran out of ideas or become stale, but that's not the case. Each entry is delivering beautiful new locales, stunning driving controls, and a whole heap of varied content to enjoy. It's honestly staggering how Playground Games continues to deliver so much with each entry, but could that magic be running out in the next entry? I'm hoping not, but I have concerns.
The first game introduced an open-world racer unlike anything we'd really seen on Xbox. Sure, we had games such as Burnout, etc, but Forza Horizon made you truly feel as though you were part of the world. As someone who never dives into racers outside of Mario Kart, it absolutely hooked me and I've been a fan of the series ever since. Over the years I've come to prefer the earlier entries, just for how they slowly open up the world, rather than the overwhelming nature of the most recent - but they're all great games.
If there's something the later entries have done that has really grabbed me, it's the absurdity. By about Forza Horizon 3, the template began to slightly shift, and by the time Forza Horizon 4 came around, it was turning full-on bonkers in some moments. With Forza Horizon 5 on the horizon, as it were, it's got me thinking about the possibilities the game could take that could showcase just how inventive the team at Playground Games are, and how they are absolutely the right team for the job to be working on Fable.
Some of you may be wondering: "What is this idiot going on about!?" - bear with me. There's a perfect moment that really encapsulates what I mean, and that's in Forza Horizon 4. Some way into the game, you gain a mission called The Halo Experience Showcase - a race dedicated to Xbox's major mascot. It's here you're tasked to drive a warthog along a cinematic race filled with dozens of Halo Easter Eggs, such as Wraiths flying above you. It's a fantastic moment, but they come so far and few between in each entry that I really hope Forza Horizon 5 leans into them more.
We've had a taste of this in the expansions that have released since Forza Horizon 3. The first truly absurd one was the Hot Wheels expansion, which tasked players to drive along the iconic toy tracks, doing loops, jumps, and other tricks. It was a great add-on, and one that tickled my taste buds for more. The main game had a few events which were cinematic treats, but this just cranked everything up to 11 and it absolutely worked.
It doesn't stop there, though. Forza Horizon 4 went even further and cranked it up so hard the dial broke. First off was the Fortune Island pack, an expansion set on an island with treacherous weather and treasure to seek out. It was perhaps a step back from the Hot Wheels add-on, but still something worth taking in. The pièce de résistance came in the form of LEGO Speed Champions - an absolutely ludicrous expansion set on a LEGO island, with LEGO vehicles, and tons of bricks to smash through. It was the craziest the series has ever been and I'm hoping it's a signal for bigger things to come.
I'm not arguing Forza Horizon 5 won't be a great game if it doesn't do any of this - not at all - but it would be a disappointment. We already have the mainline Forza Motorsport series for the racing, and it's great, but I really want this arcade racer to go crazier than ever before. I want Playground Games to let loose and allow their imagination to go wild, but perhaps more importantly, I want it to prove any naysayers incorrect that Fable is in the wrong hands.
Luckily, the introduction to the game during E3 showed promise, mainly in its online feature set. We were treated to glimpses of competitive stunt tracks, game modes and more in something known as the Events Lab - complete with in-game bowling. If this is something that's kept separate to the main campaign, this could prove to be a great compromise for me, but I don't want it just to be put in the fans' hands to create some fun. Playground Games can easily come out swinging and fully showcase their creativity in Forza Horizon 5, and I truly hope they do, as the series is at its best when it steps out of the shadow of Forza Motorsport.
Would you like to see the absurdity cranked up in Forza Horizon 5? Let us know in the comments below.