Is this franchise completely screwed?

I was always under the impression that Microsoft was a pretty hands-off publisher, really only pushing for minor things like accessibility and Game Pass… but listening to Mike Brown’s podcast and several other opinions from Forza YouTubers like Ericship111, and SepiSP4, there really is this strong implication everything down to the core fundamental design of this game is being heavily controlled by higher-ups.

It would make a LOT of sense. Forza Horizon 4 was the first game to release after PGG was bought out by Microsoft, and it was the weakest title in the series at that point. Horizon 5 releases and even with an extra year of game development, it’s Horizon 4 all over again but worse.

With the seemingly awful development of the new Motorsport reboot with recycled car models and sounds (From the ground up by the way, guys!) and removing actual New To Forza cars to use them as DLC, this franchise seems like it’s held on a leash by Microsoft, forced to be nothing but a flashy graphics benchmark to draw in buyers. Combining with the terrible selection of actual New To Forza cars that were clearly added for product placement rather than player enjoyment, it really just seems they’re puppeting Forza Horizon along as this soulless moneymaker.

It hurts seeing the franchise in this state, it really does. Never have I seen a franchise with so much potential to design a game that utterly blows away everything else and make racing game history, yet throw it all away in favor of making the same exact game three times in a row.

Mike Brown might’ve left because he didn’t feel he was right for the job. But the more likely thing is he left because of how little power and creativity he was allowed to flex. I keep holding out for the moment where the game pulls itself out of the dirt, and creates a fantastic, fulfilling title packed full with meaningful, original content.

But with this whole idea of Microsoft Executives, people that aren’t even game developers, dictating how this game is made and optimizing it so it makes the most money with the least effort just completely blackpills me on the future of Forza, both Motorsport and Horizon. Even on a smaller level, SepiSP4’s video about how corrupt everything is down to the customer support just shows exactly why I shouldn’t bother with this game anymore.

But the thing is I want to bother with this game. This is gonna sound incredibly cringy, but the Forza Horizon franchise is a total comfort game for me. Even at it’s blandest, being able to unwind by turning on a podcast or youtube video, building up a car (with the pathetically low level of customization options) and just driving around is so incredibly relaxing.

Test Drive Solar Crown releases at the end of this year, and based on the games that came before it and it’s overall presentation, this looks like a possible Forza Horizon killer. Even the reveal trailer from 2020 feels more like a Forza game than the entirety of Horizon 4 and 5 put together. Forza Horizon’s been stifled of it’s potential because of the lack of competition, but thankfully there FINALLY seems to be a game to jump to when Horizon 6 inevitably underdelivers.

In the meantime, I’ll still occasionally hop on this game, but it feels like the equivalent of going to a friend’s house. One who died and hasn’t even been buried. Just sitting there with a rotting corpse of someone that used to bring you hours of fun and entertainment.


I’ve thought for a long time that MS get off lightly when the series gets discussed, it’s no coincidence that many of the things mostly disliked by us on here were either created or exacerbated after MS got more involved.

I don’t think TDU:SC will be that rival you’re hoping for though, I wish it all the best and will maybe buy it myself but I’ll be going in with lower expectations than in any FH to date.

I just expect it to continue the trend of having some great features that we can only wish to ever have in FH, but ultimately be let down by having physics that are just too divisive to have enough mass market appeal to compete with FH.


I wouldn’t say completely, but I doubt things will change anytime soon because a lot of what Forza in general suffers from is what the video game industry suffers from as a whole as of late: Overreliance on live service models to keep games going longer than reasonable, the “publish game, fix bugs later” mentality, and simplifying all the wrong things that cater to people who will hardly play the game anyways.


Forza Horizon’s handling model is the ultimate trump card the franchise has held for a long time. No other racing game franchise has ever felt as good. even with Horizon 5’s physics being the weakest so far with it’s obsession with easy-to-break traction it still beats out any other current racing game franchise right now.

But I also think the playerbase suffers from being too stubborn to try out any other racing games soley because of that fact. I’ve seen Forza player try out other games, complain the handling is bad, and just drop the game entirely. (Shoutout to Bonzpop, who claimed Dirt’s physics were “rubbish” and dropped it after only 30 mins of playtime)

The only racing game franchise with actively bad physics is recent Need For Speed games. And even then, the way cars handle is surprisingly tolerable. You also have older racing titles like Midnight Club: Los Angeles which has arcade physics that also have a surprisingly high skill gap and are far from bad, even if the Forza kids say otherwise.

While it is one of the biggest defining features, it isn’t the only thing a racing game has to offer. Sadly, it’s like the Forza playerbase willingly has become a slave to this franchise soley based on how well it handles. So many games have features the playerbase has been asking for and then some, but just because it doesn’t handle exactly like a Forza Horizon game they dismiss it all.

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imma save this for later

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The current game is (by sales and player numbers) the most successful Forza product ever released. It is also arguably Microsoft’s flagship IP, given the mess Halo’s been in.

It’ll be fine even if its design focus has changed over the last decade.

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To each their own but FH4 & 5 are my favorite games of the franchise.

You say MS is optimizing it to make the most money but if that were true than you’d see copious amounts of microtransactions, battle passes, car packs, etc. instead of adding new cars and other content for free.

SP4’s video about how corrupt everything is kind of feels like the pot calling the kettle black.


Ironically it’s still like an Alfa Romeo to me. At its best nothing at least on console comes close. But it is definitely not perfect and it’s a shame the last 10 years didn’t see even more progression. (Car models, customisation etc)

The foundations are solid, but they always were.

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PGGs fate is not in FH5 or FH6. It’s fate is in the upcoming Fable title. If they do a poor job with fable then I think they will severely ruin their reputation as a franchise.


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I agree. It’s all speculation. Same thing when it comes to Mike Brown. Was he great? Was he useless? Is he to blame for FH5? We can only speculate…

Note Mike Brown arguably has a bad rep as he’s the poster boy for FH4/5 (side note I loved FH4). Point being he has something to prove. He needs to set himself in a good light and start to build a fan base and interest in his new venture. Of course this may result in a few discrete digs at PGG/Microsoft/Forza as that’s where he’s come from.

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I just watched a little bit of Mike Browns podcast. So he and the rest of his leadership team will inspire their team. Meanwhile the “inspired” devs will work extremely hard. Hey Mike I hope you have a lot of money to inspire your devs lol.

In organizational behavior they teach that money is a “hygiene factor”. Basically that you can make too little and that can be de-motivating (people will basically do little things to even the perceived score in their head), but that extra money doesn’t really work as a motivator.

If you suddenly got paid 1000% more for your same job, would you do it 1000% better? I mean, for a little bit you might see a bump, but odds are high that it wouldn’t be long before you were back to baseline performance.

You definitely want to hire solid devs, and solid devs can be pricey… but you can’t just throw money at a project and hope to have highly motivated people. The actual factors that can facilitate sustained motivation require sustained engagement from management and even peers.

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Mike Brown’s podcast was heavy on “excitement” and very light on “substance”.

The proof is in the pudding and so far Mike just talks about how he wants the cook to be “creative” with the pudding and “take risks” with the pudding and how the pudding is going to be “so amazing” because he made sure that the cook “wants to be in the kitchen”.

It’s all just manager blah-blah unless there is a really, really good pudding coming out for us to eat at the end.


That was merely my summary after watching the podcast for the initial 10-15 mins. We will inspire and you will work hard and do all this amazing stuff because we inspired you.


If there’s confidence in the product, no need to hype it to that point bc it only creates greater disappointment when the “pudding” tastes like it came from the expired shelf. “I’ll let the pudding do the talking for me”…then you know you have something.


I will give Mike Brown credit on one thing re that podcast. He was at least interesting enough to listen to. The other 2 had me bored out of my mind…

Exactly, and the worst part is, they are hyping their studio, not even a product.
You can just feel the vapors emanating.