Forza Horizon is a racing video game for Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game console. Developed principally by British games developer Playground Games in association with American developer Turn 10 Studios, the game is the fifth instalment in the Forza series, though it was considered more of a spin-off instead of the next true member of the series at the time. A sequel, Forza Horizon 2, was released on 30 September 2014. Another instalment, Forza Horizon 3, was released on 27 September 2016.
Forza Horizon is an open-road game based around the fictitious Horizon Festival, a street racing event set in the state of Colorado. The game incorporates many different gameplay aspects from previous Forza Motorsport titles, like the large variety of cars, specifically around 300 cars, realistic physics and high definition graphics. The aim is to progress through the game by means of obtaining wristbands via winning races, while also increasing their popularity level by driving fast, destroying property, and performing other stunts and antics. Horizon features the physics of Forza Motorsport 4, which have been optimised to work on the 65 variants of terrain said to be present in the game. Players can drive off-road in select areas, while others are limited by guardrails or other means.
Multiple race types are included, from drift to rally and point-to-point races. AI traffic will be present on the roads under single player, which provides a new dynamic to the Forza racing system. Players may also challenge other Horizon festival drivers they encounter in a one-on-one race to a given location. The location is random each time, and the AI have the ability to use shortcuts to their advantage. Races will take place at different times throughout the day/night cycle included in the game, including night races. A skill system is implemented in the game; players earn street cred during races by driving aggressively. Acts such as drifting, jumping over obstacles and getting a car on two wheels all contribute to the cred. These can be chained together in a combo, which in turn affects the money players are paid at the end of a given race. Cred also affects a player's popularity level in the game. As a player's popularity increases new special events are unlocked, such as races against helicopters and planes.
Speed traps are present in the game, and players can challenge each other for the top speed in a given area. Cameras record player times, which can then be shared among rivals. Those rivals can then attempt to beat the shared time. A photography mode is also included. In addition to races, players can search for barn find cars, have them restored, and add them to their car collection.
Other aspects of gameplay include an autoshow, in which the player can buy or sell cars, a garage, in which the player can manually or automatically upgrade their cars, and a paint shop, in which the player may create paint loadouts for their cars. When driving around the map in free-roam mode, the player may encounter discount signs which, when smashed, give a price reduction on all upgrades from that point forwards. All paint loadouts are free to create and may be bought or sold online for in-game money.