Dev AMA on the Forza Discord today

Head to the #horizon-answers channel on the today to see some AMA Q&A with FH5’s developers!

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Connected to have a look, “Tell us about the most boring part of the job.” … “Is dirty air In FH5 the same as it is in FH4”

What … ??? … Oh ok, just like when you invite kids to work and request them to ask questions … very funny …


Is it really AMA or is it AMA but not that, or that…

I imagine they would be getting a lot of hostile questions if it was open. Not saying that’s right but you know how people can be.

Wish I could attend to ask about the wheel issues. Do we have an ETA on that??

See the pinned update from Forza Support, I’ll post when we have more.

Why is he not here on the page? What and why is this Discord page?


Discord is like a forum except much harder to use. Why anyone uses it is a mystery to me. But it’s supposed to be the next big thing I think.

I guess someone needs to make us a list of webpages we go to for this or that information. I’ve been coming here since Motorsport 3, this is home, this is where we discuss the game!!

Yep, I go back to early 2011 on these forums. I really don’t like having to go to Twitter, Discord, facebook, etc for information about Forza games. I fear we are in the minority, though.

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I tried using it when they were first promoting it. I agree that it is harder to use (I prefer the organization of a forum), and I was also put off with the 'gutsiness" of how it was run and the emails I would get. Not a fan at all. Then again, many online ordering sites also have way to much of this ‘cutsiness’ for me as well. I really don’t need all those ‘warm and fuzzy feeling’ replies.


For those not familiar, Forza Discord is the place for live chat similar to chat in livestreams. We have channels for each game, as well feeds with our Twitter accounts, and announcements.

Here’s the copy and paste from today’s AMA:

T|oil — Today at 12:03 PM
Hi everyone, I’m a senior designer at Playground Games. I’ve worked on Horizon 4 and 5, and in this most recent game I primarily designed the new Horizon Stories, which covers the new systems and gameplay, as well as the characters, rules and second-to-second experience, level design and narratives.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:04 PM
Hi! I’m a Senior Producer at Playground Games, this is my fourth Horizon! I run production for the Forza Horizon 4 Live program as well as work with the Design team on Forza Horizon 5!

T|oil — Today at 12:04 PM
Looking forward to answering as many of your questions as I can.
So, going through the questions you posted, let’s start with the most important one.
Q: “If you could be a car what would it be?”
Obviously it would be the Rally-fighter. Impractical, and really good at bouncing around the place. Excellent on the airstrip leaping off dangersigns, or flashing through speed traps with a ludicrously impractical S2 tune. Truly a platform for automatic fun.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:08 PM
Q: “will the 7 formula drift cars included w car pass be new ones? (i assume so but just want to know)”
I can confirm that, yes, they are new ones!

T|oil — Today at 12:08 PM
Q: “I had a few weird questions about FH5. 1. How long is a day in FH5? Like a day (sunrise to sunrise = 1 hour) 2. How frequently do the storms appear? 3. How many type of storms are there? I know about just the sand storm! Thanks for the help”
Sunrise to sunset is around 1 hour 10-20 mins and a full day cycle is around an hour and a half. The actual length of the night depends on the sky combination which in turn affects transition in and out.
We have two types of storm, sand storms and tropical storms.
Storms happen about 10% of the time in a full 7 day week, varying between spring (when you see Sandstorms) and autumn (when you get Tropical storms).

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:09 PM
Q: “Will we be getting trailblazers in fh5?”
Yes, we even use Trailblazers in Horizon Stories too.

T|oil — Today at 12:10 PM
Q: “is it pronounced Fort-za or Forza… I’m so confused”
It’s pronounced “Fort-Sa” - and yes, I worked hard to make sure I got it right when I joined the team :smile:

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:11 PM
Q: “if i have the steam version will i be able to play with my friends from xbox?”
Steam players can play with Xbox players and vice versa.

T|oil — Today at 12:12 PM
Q: “what was it like getting to working with all the Mexican people on this game”.
To be honest, it was a delight. I think my standout favourite was Abraham Herrera Vega (who plays Ramiro) - he’s got an extensive and impressive track record of working with games, and he brought such a genuine delight to the project that really spoke to the character of Rami. Every recording session with him was a genuine delight.
But beyond that it was the opportunity to learn about the kinds of stories and themes that are important for Mexicans. While the Vocho Horizon Story is the clearest example of this, we also had a lot of fun developing the Lucha de Carreteras Horizon Story with Lalo Alcarez.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:14 PM
Q: “Will custome races take advantage of the super 7 building mechanics from forza 4?”
Yes, via EventLab. This was actually a big request when we added Super7 to Forza Horizon 4.

T|oil — Today at 12:15 PM
Q: “how does happen?”
Extreme skill. Or too much sideways.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:16 PM
Q: “Will all cars be available in the autoshow and if not how do i get them?”
Some cars are only available via Wheelspin which you can earn through levelling up and as rewards for events. You’ll also unlock some cars through completing Horizon Stories, Manufacturer rewards in Car collection or through the Festival Playlist!

T|oil — Today at 12:16 PM
Q: Favorite things about working with Playground Games?
Playground Games sets a high bar for quality, and I get to work with brilliant talented designers to hit that bar. More than that, though, there is a genuine desire to make a game that is a delight to play, and accessible for everyone. Be it a father and son playing the game together, or someone who wants an intense asphalt racing experience, or someone who wants to go on an idealised drive in an idealized world.
It’s a game about freedom and beauty, and being welcomed in a world where there is no conflict or darkness.
And let’s be honest, who couldn’t use a bit of that these days?
Honestly, I feel grateful to work with great people, and make something that so many people are so passionate about.
I get messages from people (and talk to people IRL) who talk about how a game I’ve contributed to means something deep to them. Either the memories they made, or the people they played with, or as a place to go to in hard times.
And it feels amazing to be part of that.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:19 PM
I love the energy and passion this team has. It’s infectious and it constantly makes us want to do better. I feel very grateful to be able to work on this series.
Plus we have Pinball and Table Tennis!

T|oil — Today at 12:20 PM
Q: What’s the process of choosing the upgrades a car gets?
We run through logic and space capability (track width spacer, do they fit and look correct? do they clip through the arches?) to decide whether or not a car should receive certain upgrade. Also we avoid upgrades pushing the car down in PI and potentially jump into a lower class.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:20 PM
Q: “Will Torben Tuesday be Returning to FH5 for every month”
For you, the day you asked Torben a question was the most important day of your life. For Torben, it was a Tuesday.

T|oil — Today at 12:21 PM
Q: “Were there any absurdly stupid moments in development which resulted in horrors beyond anyone’s comprehension?”
Oh god yes. Days before we did the final video for E3 all of the driver characters suddenly become 50 feet tall and stood up straight in the cars, t-posing. It looked like the cars were roller-skates for giants. I still wake up screaming.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:23 PM
Q**: “Are the expeditions going to be re-playable? And if not, will failing to get the optional accolades lock you from getting them?”**
You can replay them, we think they’re really iconic and fun moments that benefit from repeat playthroughs.

T|oil — Today at 12:25 PM
Q: Creating and testing a game during the pandemic must have been hard. I struggled just doing the morning crossword. How did you overcome working remotely within a team? Were you still able to have coffee mornings and virtual birthdays?
I barely function AFTER having had coffee, but Playground and Xbox really stepped up to support working from home, and provided everything we needed to work to hit our deadlines and goals and remain safe and productive. It’s been tough, no doubt, but when I look at the game it was an amazing effort across so many support and production disciplines.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:25 PM
Q: “With the new tools to make updates to the map easier, is there a possibility of any map changes, big or small, to happen during Forza Horizon 5’s lifespan?”
With our Evolving World tech, we’ll be able to add and change a lot more to the map than we could before. I’m really excited about this and hopefully you’ll be able to see some of that soon.

T|oil — Today at 12:25 PM
Q: “will there be easter-eggs”
So so many. More so than in Horizon 4, I think. Some of these are actually directly integrated into Horizon Stories, like AN.N.A.s shortcut. And what that means for the character…

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:27 PM
Q: “Hello, what’s the future of forza horizon?”
The future is now!

T|oil — Today at 12:27 PM
Q: In real life you can pay too close roads temporarily, could this be brought to fh5 so you can pay for 1 in game day of no collisions.
I think the closest would be to use Event Lab and Route Creator in events you create for yourself, or events you share with your friends.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:28 PM
Q: “Not exactly a question about horizon games but, what’s it like working at turn 10”
I don’t work at Turn10 but I do work with them and have been to their office. They’re the same as us, super passionate and with a deep attention and love for creating great games.

T|oil — Today at 12:28 PM
Q: Forza Horizon 5 Will have Midnight Races?
I like very much the vibe on this races…I think you should play the “Born Fast” Horizon Story, as it is basically this! And do let me know how you felt about it.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:29 PM
Q: “If you could be a car, what car would you be?”
I had to answer this too. I would be a Hellcat because I have smooth lines on top and make a lot of noise.

T|oil — Today at 12:29 PM
Q: Is there like some sort of backstory to the character(s) before events, like why they joined or no?
There is indeed! For example, we explored how the Festival made the decision togo to Mexico as a part of working up Ramiro’s character. I wrote a piece of fiction where he, Haley and Keira meet up at a race event in the Baja. It’s not something we’d put into the game, but it helps us understand the characters and their relationships.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:32 PM
Q: “Will cars added on post launch have different sounds? Or will generic files be used for the new cars like in Forza horizon 4? Will the cars added post launch also support the different modes like the amg one?”
Yes, we will add new car recordings for cars added post launch, however where it makes sense to use an existing sound if the engine platform is the same, we’ll also look to do that. We’ve already added some new sounds in the Series 1 cars. Nothing to announce yet on the second question.

T|oil — Today at 12:32 PM
Q: “Will full racing suits be available from day 1 for drivers”
Absolutely! Some possibilities include the Ken Block Race suit and helmet from two Accolades (check the list), and the Horizon Racesuit from the Renault Manufacturer bonus. The XS race suit from the Flex Accolade, and a black helmet from the A Rally Good Time Accolade.
Take a look at the locked message in the character customiser, which will point you in the correct direction.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:33 PM
There’s also a race suit you can purchase with Credits.

Q: “Has The Eliminator undergone any major changes since FH4?”
We’ve balanced and refreshed the cars that appear in the mode and, actually, the map is so different to Forza Horizon 4’s that it feels like a new feature to the mode. There’s some great locations for head to heads and some amazing vantage points to scope out. You also start out in the iconic Vocho Beetle rather than the Mini this time.

T|oil — Today at 12:34 PM
Q: Some interesting achievement ideas you had for any FH game but never got added?
This one was for an Accolade - it would ask you to win every race, in cockpit camera, with rewind set OFF and Difficulty set to Unbeatable. We didn’t add it because holy moly no. But if we DID we’d call it “Praise the Fun” - because we’re pun-lead game designers.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:35 PM
Q: “Is the game still playable offline?”
Absolutely. We feel the best way to play is with online enabled but we also recognise that, for some, that’s not always possible.

T|oil — Today at 12:36 PM
Q: What happens when we drive into the lava lake on top of the volcano?
It shouldn’t be possible to get into it. And I realise that about a hundred of you just went “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED THEN” - but nothing happens. The car just drives around, and it looks pretty weird.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:36 PM
Why…why would you want to drive a car into lava…

Q: “Do you have plans to further enhance livery options on cars e.g window decals?”
Whilst we don’t have any immediate plans here, we’re always monitoring player feedback and content creation is very important to us and the game.

T|oil — Today at 12:37 PM
Q: if i have the steam version will i be able to play with my friends from xbox?
Yes, all versions of the game crossplay on the same servers.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:38 PM
Q: “What is your favourite flavour of yoghurt and what impact has this had on the game’s development?”
I’ve always liked toffee because of my sweet tooth. Forza Horizon 5 is like your favourite flavour of Yoghurt.

T|oil — Today at 12:38 PM
Q: How hard was it to get FH5 to run on all platforms at a smooth and stable framrate while also keeping graphic fidelity -
Very. DogWithCupcakes.gif You know the one.
More seriously, check out of the Digital Foundry article comparing the various versions if you want a LOT of detail.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:39 PM
Q: “Something else I’ve wondered, for FH5 especially, what’s the decision process like for what landmarks to include in the game’s map?”
The art and level design team spend a ton of time researching locations, identifying iconic landmarks, regions and things that would make a cool setting for Horizon.
Sometimes this means fictionalising something to make it work and other times, it just fits nicely. Sometimes we’ll need to be considerate of the heritage of a site, particularly if it’s very old. We try and be sensitive to the origins and beliefs that go with a location. Sometimes that means not letting a big V8 do donuts on top of it!

T|oil — Today at 12:40 PM
Q: What’s your favourite Horizon Story?
Thanks! I think currently it’s Vocho.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:41 PM
Q: “At what point in development is the soundtrack typically chosen? Early, mid, late, etc?”
The soundtrack selection happens throughout development! All the way from concept through to the end. I recommend listening to our Audio Lead’s talk he did on one of our Forza Horizon 5: Let’s Go! Streams, he talked about the music selection process and it’s super interesting.

T|oil — Today at 12:41 PM
Q: “will there be returning characters”
Yes! As a part of linking Horizon 4 and 5 we chose a group of characters who would make their way from the UK festival to work with Ramiro and Alejandra to set up Horizon Mexico. The returning cast are Jaimin (Played by Nikesh Patel), A.N.N.A (played by Victoria Weisslinger) and Alex Strachan (player by Steven Cree) return from the UK Festival, as does the Player Character (played by Trieve Blackwood or Emma Naomi) - the player character is canonically a Superstar from Horizon UK.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:42 PM
Q: “Will there be car gifting to friends in forza horizon 5?”
Gift drop lets players send cars to other Festival drivers. Although you can’t choose a friend, you can select someone new to the game, someone who’s played a lot or even someone who has created loads of awesome content for the community. It’s a super wholesome feature and every time I use it, I get a small buzz from it.

T|oil — Today at 12:43 PM
Q: Please tell me, how has the lighting model evolved since FH4? On my first few days I have noticed that the shadows no longer stutter as time progresses throughout the day. Somehow they appear more stationary, yet so much better.
Here’s some detail for you from our rendering team:
It boils down to big change to shadow system in FH5, with shadows now pre-processed before rendering the main scene.
Screen space temporal re-projection and blending means we smooth shadows over multiple frames, which also reduces aliasing issues. Combined with temporal re-projection this allows us to smooth interpolated shadows even with multiplexed shadow cascade updates.
Basically, this Increases performance of the main scene render allowing us to render higher density assets.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:44 PM
Q: “Will you bring back 1000 Club? ( only OG knows what is this :wink: )”
There’s a lot of DNA in the Accolade system, but the 1000 club was a great bit of DLC (I joined PG just when that was released). No plans to do this.

T|oil — Today at 12:44 PM
Q: How do you decide what songs to put in the game!
Each channel has an identity, and we work to identify music that’s a great match.
Often we get to listen to unreleased music as a part of this as a design team and we weigh in on music that will work for a game mode, or a story or just a nice drive. Typically when I’m giving input on a song I listen to it while just playing the game, for what I call “go-ness” - Porter Robinson’s “Look at the Sky” has go-ness, for example. (That’s a technical term). Basically, does the song make me want to just drive.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:45 PM
Q: “will the story be able to be rewound for us to nab things we missed?”
Time is a flat circle (you can replay Expeditions and Horizon Stories).

T|oil — Today at 12:46 PM
Q: Will the stunt driver events be based on movies?
More on the tropes of movies - as these give me a good pattern to base the gameplay on. For example the cross-country dash, tearing through a city and smashing through market-places, car chases. Even… dare we whisper it… the plane scene from… Scorpion…

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:47 PM
Q: “In your opinion, which is the most challenging part of developing a game for the current generation in general, and which was for Forza specifically?”
This might be a very personal viewpoint but there’s so many great games around, so much that is vying for player’s attention. It’s really important to make sure you’re offering players a great time, no game is guaranteed of your time as a player. For Forza specifically, I think it’s pushing ourselves to keep improving each game we work on.

T|oil — Today at 12:48 PM
Q: Was there ever a place in Mexico that you wanted to visit for fun when making Horizon 5?
I want to walk barefoot on the beach near the Arco de Cabo San Lucas. :frowning_with_open_mouth:

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:48 PM
Q: “Last one from me (thanks for all the drifts): Lime in the coconut - yay or nay? Pineapple on pizza - yay or nay?”
Yes, the Lime always goes in the coconut. Never Pineapple on Pizza.

T|oil — Today at 12:49 PM
Q: Horizon Promo returning?
It is! It’s introduced in the El Camino story, and is accompanied by Photo challenges.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:49 PM
Q: “Tell us about the most boring part of the job.”
Not at PG but I once had to transcribe shouts and “wahoos” etc. from a kart racing game. It was…. formative.

T|oil — Today at 12:49 PM
Q: I’ve always wondered what goes into developing Horizon Stories, what’s involved in the process?
It starts with themes and gameplay, really. For this game we knew we wanted to carry some stories forward and also create some new ones for Mexico. Once we have the themes we break them out into the types of gameplay that would fit a story like that. With the additon of Decision Points we experimented with branching stories, but discarded that as overly complex, and kept the idea as a way to give players choices over what to do next - either in terms of gameplay (like in Vocho) or in terms of exploring the story (like in El Camino).
Once we have those, we write up paper-designs for what the chapters could look like and start testing them in game - this typically means listening to music and driving the routes to see how they feel. Then it’s about choosing the right times of day and music and setting the right rules to create the feel we want.
Last comes things like level design to add in jumps and ramps and roadworks, as well as planes to race and opponent vehicles of various sorts.

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:50 PM
Q: “Is dirty air In FH5 the same as it is in FH4”
What’s dirty air? Fog? We’ve made some really amazing improvements to our lighting and weather system in Forza Horizon 5 :slightly_smiling_face:

Q: “How do you pick the cover cars?”
There’s a ton of considerations when choosing the cover car. Our sourcing, licensing and partnership team work with potential manufacturers looking at things like release timing, what sort of usage rights we’ll need, the fit for the car, what works for the manufacturer - it’s a really long and complicated process which the teams do a great job of, just look at the past Forza titles!

T|oil — Today at 12:54 PM
Thanks for all the great questions, everyone! It’s been lovely to have the opportunity to talk to you about the game!
See you in Mexico!!

Freelancepolice — Today at 12:54 PM
Thank you everyone for all of your questions! Really appreciate all of your support. Vamos!

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Thank you for posting the transcription, Max

“How long is a day in horizon”
“What was it like working with Mexicans?”

An AMA that perfectly reflects modern journalism. Not that they’re directly related to eachother. Just that there’s nothing useful to glean from this direct access to a developer of the game you’re trying to play, but keeps crashing for reasons that are in the devs direct control.


Yep nothing useful there.

Maybe I’m stupid but the game seems too complicated, I’ve just been scratching my head trying to figure out why there is a second cartoony type map with events but no obvious way how to access them. I doubt I’m the only one a bit confused, it’s more complex than previous Horizons. ‘Keep it simple’ isn’t something they have heard of apparently.

By googling I figured out which house I need to buy to access fast travel, which is very important because the map is tedious to drive around otherwise. I shouldn’t need to google and read third party guides to figure out basic stuff.

I would have asked them: why can’t we turn the music off still? Why does turning ‘speech volume’ to zero not mute people talking? What does ‘speech’ mean if not all the in-game talking?


It’s a shame that they’ve abandoned this forum and are sticking to discord, especially for a non-English speaking player like me whose English is not that good.
I made a similar post back in FH4, but discord does not have an official translation feature, and using an unofficial translation feature is against discord’s terms and conditions, and puts my discord account at risk of being banned.
And since discord is difficult to follow old logs, combined with the aforementioned disadvantages, it is a completely inaccessible place for players who really don’t speak English well.

I hope that if they ever do such an event again, they will create a thread for it in this forum, and format it to solicit questions from players in advance.

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What is going on here? Has there been any communication on an update for anything? I am following forza support twitter who puts out something like fixes coming soon saturday night then 36 hrs later says thing have been fixed but no list of updates like a normal freaking patch note update from any other company on the planet. Just annoyed and venting.