Playground Games has shown off the typically spectacular intro sequence for Forza Horizon 5 in a new gameplay video, confirming the game's cover cars as it did so - but had little in terms of concrete new detail to share on the open-world racing game.
The sequence sees the player air-dropped from a cargo plane, by parachute, in a series of signature cars, all over the game's Mexico map.
First up is a 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands, a rugged, retro-styled SUV that is dropped right next to a smouldering volcano crater, dusted with snow. It's winter up here, but a vertiginous descent takes us down into a baking desert and a brief glimpse of a Baja rallying circuit.
Next we are dropped in a 2020 Corvette Stingray sports car and plunged into an impenetrable dust storm; these storms can appear in scripted events like this, but also crop up organically in free-roam. Then a Porsche 911 "Desert Flyer" - a 1980s model of the classic sports car that's been modded into a Baja endurance rally car, with some success in Mexican racing - gets to explore the palpably humid climes of a muddy jungle track.
Finally, we briefly take the wheel of a Mercedes-AMG One, which shares cover star honours with the new Bronco. The German hypercar is eased down the ramp of the cargo plane - still travelling at speed - and screams along a barren, rocky coast before charging through a stretch of "living desert" into the traditional Horizon festival hub, showing how smoothly the map transitions between the varied biomes of the Mexican landscape.
In a Q&A session with journalists following a preview of this footage, most of the topics addressed by creative director Mike Brown we had already covered in our interview back in June - do check it out.
A couple of little titbits did stand out for me, though. Discussing the popular battle-royale-style Eliminator mode that was added to Forza Horizon 4 in an update, Brown noted that it should feel quite different (and hopefully improved) in the new game for the simple reason that, unlike Horizon 4's Britain, the map had been designed with Eliminator in mind. He envisioned an Eliminator climax with the shrinking circle closing in on the top of the volcano.
He reiterated that he thinks the game's campaign will be "much better", while still offering the level of freedom that, in Forza Horizon 4, could be intoxicating and bewildering in equal measure. He noted that bar perhaps one event, you can progress in the game without participating in a single race. "FH5 is an open-world driving game," Brown emphasised. "After that one Showcase event, if you didn't want to do a race, that would be fine. There are a ton of ways to progress, and a lot of those are borrowing that design ideology from open-world games rather than racing games."
While unable to divulge any details of the car list, Brown confirmed that Forza Horizon 5 would have "hundreds" of cars at launch - "more than we've had at launch in any previous game".
Finally he noted that, with a three- rather than two-year development cycle between the last Forza Horizon and this one, the team had had time to give the game's physics simulation its most substantial overhaul to date. "We've completely rebuilt the way suspension works - you might think that might make it more challenging, but the realism improves the accessibility," Brown said. "Braking is another area where we've been able to improve the physical simulation - the pads will grab the breaks in a more gradual way rather than locking up, and again this is more accessible."
Forza Horizon 5 is released on 9th November for Xbox One, the Xbox Series consoles and PC - and will of course debut on Game Pass.