Horizon rebooted the franchise, ignoring the next Need for Speed games which featured sports cars and exotics. It was the first game in the series to offer a career mode featuring a storyline, and a garage mode that allowed players to fully customize their cars with a large variety of brand-name performance and visual upgrades. All races take place in a Feeder City at night called Valencia City, though the city bears some resemblance to Valencia, Barcelona and Madrid. Rather than exotic cars, Horizon featured vehicles associated with the import scene. Horizon was commercially successful, and inspired a sequel.
Creative director William Ho revealed that Horizon will have three playable characters, with different set of skills. The game will be focused on "action driving" and will have the three main characters working together to pull off action movie like sequences. He also revealed that the game will include day-night cycle. Unlike the 2012 Need for Speed: Most Wanted reboot, Payback it have offline single-player and online multi-player.