The dust from virtual Mexico’s Living Desert in Forza Horizon 5 has barely settled considering that the game hasn’t even been out for a year. Even so, the masters of speed over at Playground Games have possibly already started development on the hit-racer’s sequel, Forza Horizon 6.
These details stem from a job listing by Playground Games that propped up on May 6. The listing specifically states that the studio is “looking for a Level Designer to join our Forza Horizon team.” The listing then goes on to provide a description of the candidate’s duties and required skills.
With the job listing specifically stating that the studio is looking for a new hire for the Forza Horizon team, there’s plenty of reason to speculate on whether or not this means that the next entry is in development. While it does seem a bit early, keep in mind that it’s been six months since the release of Forza Horizon 5. The majority of the team has likely had a chance to break for a bit, all while keeping the existing title updated with various new cars and events.
All things considered, development for Forza Horizon 6 would certainly be in its early stages, especially considering this listing makes it seem like work hasn’t started on building the world yet. On that note, this all begs the question…
Where to next?
A few months prior to the reveal of Forza Horizon 5, there was some intense speculation as to where the host country of its Horizon Festival would be located. There was chatter about a “Spanish-speaking country,” which some thought pointed towards Puerto Rico. But, of course, we know that Mexico was the true destination.
In addition to Mexico, the Horizon Festival has been held in the USA, UK, Australia, and France (fused with portions of Italy). Thus, there’s no real pattern to determine where Playground might set its sights on next. Even so, there are some cues to pick up on.
In a recent video interview with Digital Foundry, one Playground executive mentioned how a part of the decision-making process for where the next Forza Horizon location is is determining if a country is “big enough” and offers unique, varied landscapes and vibrant culture. This is a very broad set of determining factors, so it doesn’t really narrow done any potential candidates by much. Or, does it?
Those descriptors do at least mean we should expect the next location to be on the larger size, which rules out small locations like Puerto Rico. We also shouldn’t expect it to be somewhere that’s too thematically similar to locales that have been covered already. So, Latin America is out of the question and so are any eastern European and North American locales. Thus, that ideally leaves two locations: the continents of Asia and Africa.
Both of these continents contain large countries that fit the descriptors of what Playground looks for in a new locale. So, yes, it’s time to finally mention Japan as a potential candidate. It’s a country that has been sought after for years by many members of the Forza Horizon community. So maybe, just maybe, it may finally get its time to shine in Forza Horizon 6.
This archipelago features a lot of different geographical and topographical areas, from the icy, rugged mountains in the north, to the jungles with winding mountain passes towards its center, and the humid tropics to the south.
Other than the small area in Forza Horizon 3 that hosted the Hot Wheels Expansion and was factiously off the coast of Australia, Forza has never really tackled an island location. Going to Japan would definitely shake things up in terms of visual and mechanical flare, not to mention the extreme depth and variation of Japanese car culture that can be explored.
It’s essentially the perfect location for a game like Horizon, really — hence why it’s been asked for so aggressively by the community. Even so, Playground could pull a hat trick and really surprise us with wherever it decides to venture next. Wherever that might be, we know the adventure is still a ways-off.
Hold your horsepower
Considering that Forza Horizon 6 is likely still in its planning stages, the absolute earliest we can expect it to be released is 2023. But, if it follows in the tire tracks of Forza Horizon 5 by adopting a three-year development cycle instead of a two-year cycle, perhaps 2024 will be the true release year.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that Forza Horizon 5 hasn’t even received its first expansion yet. Plus, production on the latest Forza Motorsport isn’t even finished yet. So, there’s quite a lot of time to pass and plenty of fun to be had with the current Forza projects before the community dives into the whimsical world of whatever Forza Horizon 6 has to offer.