Forza Horizon 5 The Road to Mexico | August Update

Alan Walsh
Friday, September 3, 2021

The Road to Mexico we traveled in August proved to be yet another exciting month of breathtaking reveals for Forza Horizon 5 fans.


As we countdown the days to our Nov. 9 launch, there’s still so much to be shared about the open world driving adventures that await you. In this blog, we’re recapping everything that happened in August from two new Let’s ¡Go! streams focused on the environments of Mexico to our appearance at the gamescom 2021 Xbox Stream, there’s a lot to dig into!


Before we do, however, if you’re new around here, be sure to read our blogs from June and July to ensure you’re up to date with everything Forza Horizon 5 related. With that said, let’s jump in!



Our first Let’s ¡Go! in August saw our game developers disappear… No, seriously, they were gone. Hold up a minute, is that a Supra? Turns out Mike and Chris were admiring the new 2020 Toyota GR Supra which made its way to Playground Games in Leamington Spa. It sure seems that Mike enjoys pointing at Supras, both new and old.


It was only fitting to share that the GR Supra will be featured in Forza Horizon 5 as one of the game’s initial starter vehicles available to drive right away. It can even be personalized with a HKS widebody kit sporting one of the largest wings I’ve ever seen on a car! Once customized, we brought the new GR Supra out into the vibrant world of Mexico – from exploring the eroded landforms of the Rocky Coast to the rolling dunes of the Sand Desert. We also took a diversion through the lush vegetation of our Living Desert that’s wrapped in cacti, trees and shrubbery for a quick glimpse at our off-roading Baja Circuit, which is made for extreme, high-performance buggies like the Sierra RX3 – new to Forza Horizon 5 and available from day one.


We followed our expedition with a first look at one of the race events in the game, the Mulegé Town Scramble. As suggested by the name, this off-road circuit takes players through the quaint, charming town of Mulegé – an oasis town starring spectacular views that you’ll encounter early on in Forza Horizon 5. It’s also a part of the Horizon Wilds festival, one of the many festival sites you’ll open across Mexico. This one promotes dirt and loose surface, off-road racing of all-kinds, while the others focus on different aspects of the Forza Horizon experience, from asphalt racing to stunting.



As we always do when wrapping up the show, our host and guests responded to some questions from the community with the answers delivered by Mike Brown, Creative Director and Conar Cross, Associate Art Director! We also used this opportunity to reveal the full map for Forza Horizon 5 and how it looks in the summer which is Mexico’s wet season. Check it out below. You can even click on any of the questions to find that timestamp in the livestream – how handy! 


Q: Will there be a moving train around the map?


Yes! It was such a fun part of Horizon 4 that I don’t think we could really do a map without one, they add so much dynamism to the world. It lives in the canyon and it’s the coolest train we’ve done. You can weave in and around the train tracks that crosses over the road, we saw it in the E3 demo – just a sneak peak, it was only on-screen for a couple of seconds. Plus, it’s in the canyon with all that ray-traced audio, so it sounds really cool. 


Q: How many Festivals are in the game?


There are six! 


Q: Will there be civilian traffic?


Regular civilian traffic is absolutely still apart of the game, as well as Drivatars (in Horizon Solo and race events).


Q: Are we getting a physical performance impact in damage on Forza Horizon 5, or will it remain purely cosmetic?


Yes! The functionality there is similar to Forza Horizon 4. So, there is a setting within the Assists where you can turn on sim-damage if you want to. It might not give you a great experience because a lot of the gameplay you do such as Danger Signs and things like that might damage your car – it makes it very it very, very difficult but it is an option if you’re looking for that authentic experience.


Q: Full map reveal when?


We did make a promise, didn’t we? Let’s show it now!



If you’d like an in-depth, guided walkthrough of the map with insights and commentary from Mike and Conar, be sure to click on the timestamp above.


Ahead of our second Let’s ¡Go! stream of the month, we unveiled a ton on the gamescom 2021 Xbox Stream – our cover cars – the Mercedes-AMG ONE and the 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands, and brand-new footage showcasing the opening moments of the game, featuring cars parachuting out of cargo planes, an active volcano and a race through the eye of a towering dust storm.


Finally, we also unveiled the Xbox Wireless Controller – Forza Horizon 5 Limited Edition. It features a powder party aesthetic on the front and a transparent yellow finish, with a custom-colored, visible rumble motor as well as textured dual grips on the triggers and back. For good measure, it also comes with some digital goodies inside of the box. For more on those, as well as a breakdown of our cover cars and the Initial Drive gameplay, be sure to catch up with our Forza Horizon 5 at gamescom 2021 blog post.


While the gamescom 2021 Xbox Stream headlined as the main event, we followed with an afterparty of our own – Let’s ¡Go! Episode 6. This near one-hour special saw our host Charleyy and Creative Director Mike Brown joined by Forza Horizon 5 Art Director Don Arceta. They all talked about what people saw in the Gamescom livestream then jumped into more all-new content. 



Upon personalizing your character and receiving the warmest welcome anyone could ask for from the Horizon Festival, it’s time to choose a starter car. These include the 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray, the 2021 Ford Bronco and the 2020 Toyota GR Supra. No matter which one you drive, you’ll arrive to Mulegé for the first Showcase Event in-style – while the other two are added to your garage. All of them are yours to keep on behalf of the Horizon Festival in Mexico. How else do we treat the Horizon UK superstar?


Awaiting the player in Mulegé is our first Showcase event in Forza Horizon 5: “Wing and a Prayer.” You’ll be behind-the-wheel of the 1994 Hoonigan Ford Escort RS Cosworth WRC “Cossie V2,” as prominently featured in Ken Block’s Cossie World Tour series – racing once more against the Horizon Cargo Plane. Inside the hold is a team of motorcyclists who are dropped out from behind upon your descent into Guanajuato. There’s also another surprise twist at the end of this Showcase, but we’re not going to spoil it here. Instead, you’ll have to catch the livestream recording or experience it for yourself in-game on November 9.


For the remainder of the livestream, we showed off some more new-to-franchise cars making their debut in Forza Horizon 5, while driving through some of the remaining biomes we had yet to tour on our Let’s ¡Go! broadcasts. Up first, we revisited the Mercedes-AMG ONE and took it for a spin in the farmland to highlight its two unique driving modes, one optimized for the Track, the other for the Street – and in Forza Horizon 5 you can seamlessly transition between both.


From Ford, we have the classic 1967 Mk 1 Escort, which fun fact – courtesy of Playground’s own Level Designer Andrew Baranowski, participated in a 16K-mile rally in 1970 from the UK to Mexico – and it won! We then drove our way through the Riviera Maya, a tropical tourism resort on the east coast, while off-roading cross country style in a 2020 Ford Performance #2069 Bronco R.



Additionally, from Ford, we put the massive 2020 Super Duty F-450 DRW Platinum and its ruggedness to the test in the Arid Hills with its undulating topography and dense pockets of trees. What’s more, Guanajuato is also nested in this biome, which results in the city’s undulating features. Up next, we headed into the canyon with its incredible driving roads, nature-surrounding scale and gigantic cliff-faces to test drive the 2018 Porsche Macan Rally Raid, built by LP Racing. It’s like a modern twist on the Mk 1 Escort – a go anywhere, endure everything racing star, as evidenced on-stream when it was drove off a bridge and ploughed through the riverbed beneath with ease.


Also from Porsche, we brought out the all-electric 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S – a lightweight performance supercar that captures the driving experience of a 911 but in an electric formfactor. Apparently Will Smith and Bill Gates also drive one of these, who would’ve thought? We also used this opportunity to highlight the monarch butterfly migration that occurs in Mexico at the canyon in the Spring season – a spectacle that you’d be remiss not to slow down and take in. Lastly, we briefly brought out the 2021 Baja-ready Sierra RX3 UTV, which is capable of both asphalt and off-road racing at high-performance thanks to its incredible suspension travel.


It wouldn’t be an episode of Let’s ¡Go! if we didn’t take the time to answer your burning questions! Below you can find the recap of those asked as well as the answers provided by both Mike and Don. Like those posted above, they’ve all been timestamped for your convenience. 


Q: Who's Haley and what happened to Keira?


Keira is still looking after the Forza Horizon 4 Festival in Britain. Haley is her good friend who is filling a similar role at the Mexico Festival. She’s one of the first group of Horizon people who’ve arrived in Mexico to setup this new Horizon Festival.


Q: Is the game cross-play so Xbox users can join PC users?


Yes. Steam will function the same as Forza Horizon 4, so it won’t be cross-save, but it will be cross-play. 


Of note, Forza Horizon 5 on the Microsoft Store and Xbox Game Pass supports cross-save functionality between PC and Xbox consoles.


Q: Will we be able to toggle our cars as a favorite?


Yes. It will function very similar to how it did in Forza Horizon 4. 


Q: Is there a moving train on the map?


Yes. We just saw the train track in the canyon there, we’ve also mentioned that you’ll race against it in the Showcase Event. 


Q: Is that a Supra?


Yes. We showed a Supra at the beginning of the stream in that initial car select and that’ll be added to your garage at the start of the game for everybody.



Up next are Forza Horizon 5 questions from the community submitted on social media. We recently asked for your input with #DearForza and you certainly delivered. Let’s have a look at the responses from Playground Games!


Q: Will we get Horizon Stories and if so, how many?


So, we saw a couple on the stream. We saw Vocho, we saw El Camino. There are several more in the game. Horizon Stories are absolutely still an important part of the game – they’re bigger and better than ever before! We’ll cover that off in a later stream.


Q: How extensive is the tunnel system under Guanajuato? Are there entrances to the city from outside through those tunnels?


So, there are no entrances through those tunnels into the city, but it is the most extensive tunnel network in the game. It’s about 2km of length, so it’s a lot of tunnel!


Q: What seasons will be in Forza Horizon 5? Will they be the same as Forza Horizon 4, or will they be entirely new with different seasons introduced to correlate with the new setting?


Seasons are still very much an important part of the game. We have to replicate the seasonality of Mexico. In the game, it’ll still say Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter but then each one of them is suffixed with a line that explains what it is in that country. 


  • Autumn – Storm Season

  • Winter – Dry Season

  • Spring – Hot Season

  • Summer – Wet Season


This allows people from a temperate climate to understand the seasonality of Mexico.


Fun fact: Mexico hardly gets any rainfall in Winter, but elevated areas (such as the Gran Caldera) do receive snowfall. 


Q: Will there be a Drift Adventure at launch?


Yes! We changed multiplayer up a bit, it’s not called Online Adventure anymore, it’s now Horizon Open and you’ll be able to take on Racing, Games, Drift or The Eliminator as part of that. It’s all been reframed to be as accessible and easy to get into the fun as possible!


Q: We know about the new brake caliper painting, but will there be other upgrades to the paint/vinyl system?


We’ve reworked a lot of how the paints and vinyl system works and we streamlined it to give players a lot more ease-of-use. If you’re on Xbox Series X|S, we’ve also massively increased the resolution of your car paints as well, so where you used to get fuzzy lines around the edges of your decals, that’ll be much smoother now if you’re on an Xbox Series X|S.


Q: What's the leveling system like, is it like Forza Horizon 3 with a certain number of levels, or are we going to have a prestige based leveling system like Forza Horizon 4?


The player levelling system is more like Forza Horizon 4’s but the campaign is quite different though, so we’ll cover that in the next stream. 


Q: Can you tell us more about the radio stations?


We heard a bit of music earlier on as part of the Initial Drive, they were actually original compositions for three sections of the Initial Drive. From Plague Vendor in the farmlands section to Luxury in the jungle section and Metrik in the final section.


There are quite a few more original compositions throughout the game where we’ve contacted artists who typically have been a part of Horizon in the past or we’ve licensed some of their music and asked them if they could create brand-new pieces for us that are curated to particular gameplay experiences.


In terms of the radio stations more broadly, we’ll go into more detail on that in a future stream. 



Lastly, we also shared a special gift to our Forza Horizon 4 community – a 2014 VW Golf R adorned with a unique livery inspired by the authentic Mexican mural art found in Forza Horizon 5. We hope you enjoy this taste of Mexico and that it helps alleviate the wait for November. Redeem it today from the in-game Message Center in Forza Horizon 4.


Should you desire even more authentic Mexican goodness in your life, head on over to the Xbox Wallpapers website to download murals by Farid Rueda and Star27, as featured in Forza Horizon 5.


Eager to be in the loop with everything Forza Horizon 5? You can catch our Let’s ¡Go! series on Twitch or follow us on Instagram and Twitter where we’ve recently been posting our car reveals. Until next time, adios amigos!