Tucked away inconspicuously in a small section of the official Forza Horizon 5 FAQ is a small mention that Forza Horizon 5 will not be getting a demo. This is the first time in the entire Forza franchise’s history on PC that this will be the case.
Not only did Horizon 5‘s predecessor get a demo release, but so did the now-delisted Forza Horizon 3 and Forza Motorsport 7. Horizon 3 was famously the first full Forza title to come to PC back in 2016. This meant that its demo not only allowed players to test out the game on their rigs, but it also acted as a first impression for franchise newcomers. Seeing that Playground Games has been willing to produce a demo of each Forza release since then, it is a bit perplexing that the team has opted to skip out on doing so for Forza Horizon 5. Or, is it really?
A new day on the Horizon
While this does break continuity, circumstances surrounding the release of Forza Horizon 5 are different than they were with its siblings. The key difference here is the arrival of the extremely popular Xbox Game Pass. The service released in 2017 and entered into the beta phase on PC two years later. As of now, it has been fully released on both PC and Xbox, and has since racked up a solid amount of subscribers. In addition to regular customers, there are also those who cash in on the generous free trial and $1 trial offers that spring up rather often. Microsoft’s recently-released xCloud service also ties into Xbox Game Pass, allowing players to enjoy many Xbox/PC games via any device. This will also include Forza Horizon 5.
Since Forza Horizon 5 will be made available in its full form on Xbox Game Pass, this is likely Microsoft’s way of coaxing people to turn to using the service if they’re interested in simply giving the new game a try. Microsoft Flight Simulator, another major Microsoft release, also lacks a demo version. Yet, it’s featured prominently as a part of Xbox Game Pass and xCloud.
It could also come down to the COVID-19 pandemic. The shift to work from home has proved tough, especially for shipping games, and the developer may not have the time and resources to create and release a demo. Either way, if you want to see all that Forza Horizon 5’s massive map of virtual Mexico has to offer, it looks like you’ll have to rely on either Xbox Game Pass, or just buy the game outright.
Forza Horizon 5 will be speeding its way to market on November 5 in early access, and November 9 for standard edition players.