(Pocket-lint) - The Forza Horizon series has stolen a march over the last five years or so to ensconce itself as perhaps the most reliably fun mainstream driving franchise in gaming. Its globetrotting games let you explore gorgeous open worlds in a wide range of fun vehicles.
Now there's a fifth entry on the way - Forza Horizon 5, which is heading to Mexico and looks like it's absolutely gorgeous on next-gen hardware. Here are all the key details and trailers you need to see.
Forza Horizon 5 release date and platforms
Microsoft unveiled Forza Horizon 5 during its E3 conference in 2021, a presentation that was really well-received for the big reveals it contained. The game got not only the trailer above, but also a more extended gameplay demo which you'll find further below.
On top of that, we know it's release date - 9 November 2021, when it'll debut on both Xbox consoles and on PC. The game will land on Game Pass from that date, too, so if you're a member of that service you'll get it at no extra charge.
The game looks absolutely gorgeous, but happily that doesn't mean it will be exclusive to next-gen Xboxes. It'll work on Xbox Series X and Series S, but also on any of the Xbox One generation of consoles. Of course, you won't get the best performance or resolutions on the older hardware, but it's still great to know it'll work nicely.
Forza Horizon 5 gameplay and setting
We can glean plenty from the gameplay footage and reveal trailer, and there's also a deep dive series called Let's Go! coming out piece by piece - between these official sources, we can be confident that Horizon 5 is set to continue in the template of the games before it. Once again, the fictional Horizon Festival is moving to a new host country, and this time it's Mexico, as detailed by the map that's recently been released, which you can see below.
Where we driving? pic.twitter.com/25SwmHH6v2— Forza Horizon (@ForzaHorizon) August 9, 2021
That means a hugely varied set of landscapes, from dusty deserts and mountainous towns to lush jungles and volcanic areas. There will also be hugely changeable dynamic weather to contend with, summoning massive thunderstorms, sandstorms and everything in between, with a day and night cycle to enjoy.
The landscape is the main star of a Forza Horizon game, after all, and Mexico is looking astonishing, especially in the 4K presentation of the trailers, which represents its performance on Xbox Series X or a high-spec PC. At Gamescom in August 2021, we got a full look at the game's bombastic opening sequence, and it looks as gorgeous as anything the series has so far offered up.
There are gloriously high-resolution textures making every rock and bush look nearly photorealistic, and the lighting is super impressive as always, accurately capturing the differing tones of the sun just as the previous game nailed the look and feel of Scottish country roads.
There's plenty of actual racing on show as well, of course, with the usual blend of true supercars mixing it with off-roaders, vintage motors and more, and we'd imagine the roster of available cars will have expanded from that which was offered by Horizon 4 at launch.
There will again be online multiplayer too, initiated easily by stopping at events on the roadside or challenging passing vehicles to races on the go. Also returning is The Eliminator, Forza's own version of a Battle Royale, in which you have to race across the map to escape from a shrinking circle. It's good fun, so we hope it gets expanded a bit for the next game.
Performance matters for a racing game, too, and while we don't have confirmation of its Xbox One levels, we know that on Xbox Series X the game will run at 60FPS in 4K, while on Series S it'll be 30FPS in 1080p. Those are just the defaults, though, with 60FPS also available on Series S with reduced detail.
A new system called EventLab will also let players set up their own wacky races with custom rules, letting you set up obstacle courses and tracks to make racing against your mates as harem-scarem as you want it to be, which sounds great.
Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Originally published on 7 July 2021.