Playground Games find themselves in an incredibly important position, tasked with developing the rebooted Fable franchise that will be a key exclusive for Microsoft whilst still presiding over the Forza Horizon series. Hidden within the well-documented first-party problems of the last generation for Xbox, the racing series has been a consistent spark of tight racing and unparalleled fun for the racing genre. All the showcase events racing against boats and trains and bikers; all the drifting around narrow city streets combined with long motorways and winding passages to speed through, have combined to make the series a great racing game mechanically and yet a bonkers experience overall.
The titular Horizon festival has travelled the globe across four entries, with Colorado, the French-Italian riviera, Australia and Britain all hosting the music and racing extravaganza. Whilst there are plenty of ways the series could evolve with a new entry, one question to ask is which location could play host next in any potential Forza Horizon 5. So, let’s go on a quick world tour and see where we could head next.
When putting this list together, this was the first location that came to mind. Whilst there may be more idyllic islands to think about or more “out-there” areas of the world to consider, Germany is wonderfully varied and a place that could fit with the series’ recent desire to choose places that mix tight city streets and sharp cornering with stretching rural passages and off-road locations.
This doesn’t just include the sprawling roads of Berlin and its many monuments, but many beautiful and historic cities to draw inspiration from including Munich, Dortmund and other cities with good football teams. Jokes aside, Germany is full of smaller cities with great historical architecture, which should allow Playground to create visually stunning cities in a new Forza Horizon – a great example being the Hanseatic city of Lübeck, an area going as far back as 1143 with magnificent structures, such as the gothic Burgtor gate and more recent Lübeck Hauptbahnhof train station. Additionally, a Forza Horizon in Germany could benefit from more peaceful areas such as the gorgeous Black Forest with its numerous idyllic lakes and waterfalls, which could freeze over if Playground Games continued with the last iteration’s seasons concept.
It’s not just an landlocked experience though. For those who enjoyed the elongated coastal roads of Forza Horizon 2, Northern Germany is packed with beautiful sea-side areas including Warnemünde, the sea-side port of Rostock which could be included for some wonderful coastal driving and beach-drifting. Simply put, for pure historic visual design and excellent racing potential in all these areas, there are few places as great a candidate for a new Forza Horizon entry than Germany.
The other European country on this list has a few key differences to the Germanic states, but also similarly has some great cities to play with. Whether it be Barcelona and the numerous works of Antoni Gaudí for some gorgeous artistic flavouring, or Madrid’s Plaza Mayor to have some more spatially extensive city racing, Spain is packed with great metropolitan areas for street racing. In-game of course – we aren’t advocating you go illegally tearing round corners near the Santiago Bernabéu for your first post-COVID holiday.
Of course, Spain is home to numerous beach resorts and coastal roads with crystal clear waters to have plenty of scenic driving. The neighbouring archipelago could be excellent locales for potential DLC, as seen with the series’ penchant for island-based expansions – Consider FH2’s Storm Island and FH4’s Fortune Island content.
Whilst the area may not strike you as particularly enticing given its reputation for sunny skies and sweltering heat, it could see a return to more classic racing within an open environment where the variation of roads is the key factor in visual flavour, more akin to Forza Horizon 3’s design, where stretching highways are heavily mixed with dirt sideroads and its excellent airport area. Spain would certainly have a more lived-in feel as an environment, but that wouldn’t be a bad thing at all for the series if they wanted to go back to the basics.
It amazes me that we are four entries in and we haven’t even glimpsed a look at a Horizon festival in Denmark, Norway or Sweden. Whilst it’s a bit unfair to group these three distinct countries into one nebulous group, it wouldn’t be unprecedented, given Forza Horizon 2 decided to combine France and Italy. If this was the design direction the team wanted to go with, these three Scandinavian areas would provide a great setting.
For one, the location is famed for some incredible and unique roads for scenic driving. Due to the area’s expansive lakes and fjords, wonderful routes such as the Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway, the massive Øresund bridge connecting Copenhagen to Oslo, or Denmark’s Blåvand coastline, the area could provide a wonderful chilled contrast to the noise and spectacle of the Horizon festival.
On top of that, Denmark could play host to some excellent crowded dirt racing via the Silkeborg Forests – a gorgeous serene woodland comprising 224km2 of Denmark’s landmass. Yet, that is somehow a mere selection of the forestry that occupies Scandinavia, with Sweden’s well-documented woods also worth a look-in.
A more collective choice, but given Playground Games are partial to amalgamations of numerous planes, another solid candidate.
Getting out of Europe, we head to the North, the land of syrup, the origins of Tim Horton, and home to the coldest Horizon festival.
A bit hyperbolic of course, but looking at Canada as another alternative location for the series could provide a fun mix of snowy, mountainous terrain and, as with Scandinavia, a helpful offering of woodland… hopefully with less grizzly bears. Regardless, Canada’s pine and spruce forests are rife with potential for wonderful off-road buggying amongst the log cabins, unsurprising given Canada is the third-most forested country in the world by area.
Additionally, whilst the beaches of Spain might go amiss for some in this setting, the British Columbia coast could provide a new perspective for the series on the coastal regions Forza Horizon has done up to this point. The coastlines in the series love to be built as paradises; bright visual spectacles coloured with yellows and blues. But the Canadian coastlines are home to huge numbers of fisheries, allowing for the presentation of a more workmanlike and muted but more intricately designed coast. Imagine, instead of the beach huts and endless grains of sands, a slightly darker but more gruff coast with fishing boats and harbours aplenty.
Potentially less scope for flavoured visual variation in the city, but the potential calmness of the region could be a real treat.
So those are the four main candidates that could be an excellent next step in the acclaimed franchise. What do you think about these? Where else could be a great location to take the Forza Horizon festival? Let us know what you think in the comments.
I would love the next FH to be in South Africa
Probably Africa because, you know, BLM an shit. And Forza have been big supporters of a communist, anti-family movement like BLM.
My vote would be California or Japan. Both would have amazing scenery, diverse geography (although california more diverse) a known car culture, and access to real race circuits, something that Horizon currently lacks.
Let’s go to jalisco, Mexico drinks on me get the app
Haven’t been to Africa yet? Bring it to South Africa guys!!
id rate a mix of japan and los vegas would make a great map
The Øresund bridge doesn’t go between Copenhagen and Oslo, that’s waaay to much of a distance… It’s between Copenhagen and Malmö. That aside, it would be freaking awesome having a Forza game in the Scandinavian countries, or maybe just my own Norway 😉
Oh sorry about that! Somehow managed to confuse Malmo and Oslo, but yeah it still amazes me that racing games don’t look to those countries more.
Instead of just spain, why not the complete Iberic Peninsula?! Portugal and Spain together. A tribute to both Owners of the World!!!
What about japan?
Im american but I would love to see Germany be the next setting but give us the whole country to explore . Nurburgring could be the new Goliath race , I loved horizon 4 but the map got really small really fast too many tight roads not enough straights I think the next one needs to be a big open map.
We definitely need somewhere with a fair amount of straights. So Germany would be ideal. Also we would have the nurburgring
For my opinion of a top 3 countries for forza horizon 5 they would have to be:
1) three of the canary islands Fuertaventura, Tenerife and La Gomera or Gran Canaria
2) Japan due to its big car and modification culture
3) Egypt mainly due to being able to slam around by the nile and drift around the pyramids
By the way, do I still have to watch Mixer streaming to increase my skills and influences? Now that I recall, Mixer is dead! What a joke! Thank you for your royalty, here comes the 100 wheelspins!
I don’t believe in Forza Horizon service and quality. It doesn’t matter where will be hosted, glitch always takes months to fix. The question is not about where to host. The question is how many glitches will there be for Forza Horizon 5? Then, I will consider to buy or not. I believe that there are players looking forward for the next Goliath glitch.
I believe Forza Horizon 5 should take place back in America, on the West Coast. That’s Washington, Oregon, and California. I believe it should take place on the West Coast, because it has a different variety of things. Washington has some cities like Seattle, where its really nice and by the water. As you head further down to Oregon, you have a bunch of trees and forest areas. But you also have the coast line which is still awesome. And then you have California with San Francisco, and the redwood trees. And some mountain areas, deserts, Hollywood, a bunch of beaches, and a bunch more cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. I know we’ve already had the first Forza Horizon take place in america, but it would be really cool to revisit America in a different location. Maybe not the West Coast of America, but a different location in America
I think the southeast. You’ve got the Smokey mountains and Tail of the dragon, over to elvis in Memphis down through Atlanta and it’s racetracks, bama with Vulcan and Barber motorsports and Talladega ending up on the Gulf coast across the bayou to the plains of Texas. Plenty of different terrain from mountains to swamp to plains. Beautiful scenery and history to explore.
Eu ficaria com ibiza ou lugares exóticos o forza 4 deixou a desejar em alguns aspectos chove muito no jogo nao tem céu estrelasos igual forza 3 que e bem mais exorico as noites são lindas e estreladas e o sol quando reflete no mar fica lindo o forza 4 perdeu muito nisso espero que essa agora seja um lugar exótico
why not south america? it could be a mix of countries this time, brazil (tropical events), argentina (snow events), bolivia (off-road events)
Yeah I did think about that when doing some research, an amalgamation of Brazil and its neighbours could be really fun!
I say let’s go south! Mexico!!!
1. Japan 2.Brazil 3. Canada (I’m Canadian)
I know many of the community are asking for Japan which to be fair, would be a strong contender! The high rise buildings surrounding drift zones through packed technology flooded streets would make for a great futuristic setting. I run the 3 biggest Forza Horizon groups on Facebook so I will be sure share this article.
What about Japan? Mountain roads and highways i think are what most people want
Great article, I hadn’t considered these areas. I would love Canada as it offers so much diversity and potential for expansion. With Canada having so many regions that dip into different seasons regardless of the actual season. Meaning if your in autumn but want some winter feel you could still venture to the mountainous regions etc…
Thank you very much for the kind words! Totally agree, I do think Canada is out there but would be a really fresh setting.
Japan could be a choice. But if i have choose in between this list…i would say Hands down to Canada. Either Toronto or Edmonton.
Yeah man, looking back on it, really wish i’d written some bits on Japan because man that’d be class, but Toronto would be a great shout for the centre of the Horizon festival itself.
I was thinking Japan would be a cool choice.
That’s an excellent shout, particularly given the country’s rich history in automobiles and would give rise to a really great art style! 😀
I’d say leave it as britain and start expanding the map like a Euro Truck Sim 2 way. Adding sections/countries as DLC. That would be cool.
Really intrigued by this idea. Could be viable and some games have been able to do great things with updates and additional areas over time in other genres. The Euro Truck Sim is an excellent example 😀
When writing this, I was thinking along the lines that Playground would just produce a sequel, but given how busy they are nowadays with Fable, maybe they could go down that route.
I choose either Germany or Canada since they’re on the list. But if they choose Germany I think Berlin should be the right capital.
Honestly I think that Germany would be great not only because of the scenery but also because the feature car could be the Mercedes Project One. Also you would have the autobans to speed on so that would he great aswell
Great point on the Mercedes aspect, the project one would be a perfect choice of cover car given the penchant for extreme hypercars on the front cover.
It dies again I guess? This day 2 weeks ago Forza Horizon 3 was shut down forever. There is now only one current FH game you can buy and this time next year Forza 7 will be dead forever. I hope people actually remembered to support and actually own FH3 before it went disappeared forever on 27th Sep 2020. Where are all the articles on this???
Thank goodness people in uproar forced Microsoft to 180 on that DRM crap 7 years ago or you wouldn’t be able to put a FH3 disc in an Xbox console and keep playing it offline whenever you want.
You’re right, it is a serious problem as we head into an increasingly digital marketplace for games. As someone who’s played all the games, it really hurts that you can’t play FH3 now, that had some of the series’ best showcase events.
Thinking back to that DRM fiasco, it still amazes me that it got that far to being publicly announced. One of the most disastrous aspects of the One’s launch at the time.
If you own FH3, even digitally, you can still play it. It’s attached to your live you just couldn’t buy it new in the Xbox Store anymore
South Africa gets my vote.
OMG I did look into South Africa for this, didn’t include it in the end as I wanted to just go with four solid ones but I totally agree!
I think canada would be great. I’d love to see a new FH somewhere other than Europe.
Australia and America are not in Europe
Australia is still british territory tho
Canada is british as well
Dang… It’s almost like horizon 2 was in europe or something
Yeah, it’s kind of a general racer problem in most of the popular series in that they tend to focus on either US or central Europe (E.g. The Crew, Need For Speed).