One of Microsoft’s biggest reveals at this year’s E3 was Forza Horizon 5,which the company debuted with a stunning trailer showing off some of the game’s Mexican locales. Last week, I had a chance to talk with developer Playground Games’ creative director Mike Brown and art director Don Arceta about the game’s open world and the 11 different biomes you’ll be able to visit.
There’s a huge diversity of landscapes, including a tree-lined canyon, a jungle with hidden temples, a humid swamp, and even a volcano — it seems like players will be constantly experiencing new and varied terrain. And there should be a lot to see, as Forza Horizon 5’s map is one and a half times larger than the one in Forza Horizon 4, according to Brown.
Brown and Arceta both emphasized that there is a lot more vertical exploration in Forza Horizon 5 than there was in Horizon 4.You’ll be able to drive up and down that volcano, for example (and yes, there will be places to launch your car off it, Brown said), as well as drive through hilly streets in the game’s representation of the city of Guanajuato.
Check out Forza Horizon 5’s 11 biomes for yourself in these screenshots shared with The Verge. The game is set to release on November 9th for the Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One, and PC.
The arid hills biome, which has a lot of undulating hills and pockets of trees. This area can be particularly affected by seasonal changes, according to Arceta. “We have a lake that completely dries up in the winter season, as well as the rivers that feed into it,” Arceta said. “That really opens up passages and secret areas for the player to explore.”Image: Microsoft The canyon biome, where sound can echo around the towering natural formations. “Because it has these big rocky walls, the sound of your car engine can reverb back off those walls,” Brown said. “It’s a really cool effect when you’re driving through there in a hypercar.”Image: Microsoft The farmland biome. Arceta said this is one of his favorite biomes because of the colors and palettes they can put into the area because of its agriculture.Image: Microsoft The jungle biome. You’ll see striking hidden temples as you’re driving through the lush environment.Image: Microsoft The living desert biome, which is filled with cactuses and foliage as well as rock formations and rock piles. “It’s not a dead, barren landscape,” Brown said. “It’s a really vibrant space despite being a desert.”Image: Microsoft The sand desert biome offers rolling dunes to drive around on. “The sand desert — and a little bit of the living desert — give you that space where when you want to go take a car and reach the absolute max performance of it, that’s a space you can do it,” Brown said.Image: Microsoft The rocky coast biome offers impressive coastal views, and there will also be a resort you can visit. (It has a golf course!)Image: Microsoft The tropical coast biome looks and feels different than the rocky coast with its sandy white beaches and lush palm trees. “I love the tropical coast because it’s the visual in your mind when you think of Mexico when you want to go on vacation and just enjoy the sun, soak it up and be a bit more laid back,” Arceta said.Image: Microsoft The swamp biome has lots of shallow waters to drive through and a distinctive visual look thanks to the many mangroves in the area.Image: Microsoft This urban biome is based on the city of Guanajuato, which is filled with colorful architecture and undulating hills. It also has tight roads, which means the sounds of your car will bounce off the walls, Arceta said.Image: Microsoft The volcano biome doesn’t just offer dizzyingly high vistas — it’s also the only area in the game where you’ll experience snow. Image: Microsoft