One key to the success of the Forza Horizon open-world driving games has been how easy developer Playground Games made that success look. From day one, these games have had a rock-solid certainty of what they were about. They have all been slick and accessible to play, and have all offered an insouciant, easygoing, thumbs-up kind of hedonism: pretty cars, lovely places, pumping tunes, good times guaranteed.
Playground has maintained the games’ quality and iterated so carefully that it’s hard to pick a favourite or a standout. That said, 2018’s Forza Horizon 4 was undoubtedly the series’ boldest step, shifting the emphasis toward an online world and regular in-game updates. At the time, I was a little hard on what I felt was a carelessly disorganised campaign and unfocused persistent multiplayer, while I recognised – but still underestimated – how transformative the weekly changes of season and Festival Playlist updates would be for the game’s longevity. Between the Playlist, the game’s natural affinity with its British setting, and the later addition of a buzzy battle-royale-style Eliminator mode, Forza Horizon 4 cemented the series’ popularity in new ways.