Every console tested: can Xbox One really run Forza Horizon 5?

We called it an Xbox Series X masterpiece and that isn’t hyperbole – Playground Games has delivered a phenomenal game and a sensational audio-visual experience for its flagship console. However, this is a cross-gen release: somehow, Forza Horizon 5 has to run on last-gen machines and still live up to the expectations of quality expected from a first-party studio production. Admittedly, we were sceptical about its chances but Playground Games was always optimistic – and having put every version through its paces, the studio has delivered.

Quite how Playground would deliver this was always the crucial question and it was very satisfying to visit the studio a few weeks back to see exactly how it was done, my tour kicking off with a look at a remarkable cross-platform comparison system the studio developed. Using one controller and a network of Xbox consoles, I was able to see the demanding jungle stage of the intro drive playing out in real-time across five of the six iterations of the game, with the debug camera used to zero in on the various rendering techniques Playground had developed for the game. From there, moving from left to right, I could see how each console delivered the scene: Xbox Series X quality and performance, Series S equivalents, then finally, the base Xbox One. Xbox One X? I didn’t see that but I needn’t have worried, it’s a fitting send-off for the Microsoft’s first 4K console.

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