The original team behind Forza Horizon is disbanding, which can only save the series before FH6. Here’s how the breaking apart of Playground Games is good for Forza Horizon 6.
Image Credit: Playground Games
So far this year, not one but two groups of senior developers have left Playground Games. High profile members of the team behind Forza Horizon such as Creative Director, Mike Brown and Playground Games co-founder, Gavin Raeburn are plotting their own course.
From the pair of mass departures totalling seven ex-senior Playground staff members, two brand-new games studios have formed. Maverick Games announced its creation and plans back in January. The newer Lighthouse Games officialised its existence late last month.
With countless important members of the Forza Horizon development team now gone, Playground Games faces a large challenge. However, one could argue that the huge change in the development studio’s line-up could be a positive. In fact, with a new group behind the next game’s development, Forza Horizon 6 could save the series.
Forza Horizon Has Issues
There’s no denying that the Forza Horizon series has slowly lost its mojo. This is no less evident than with the latest release in the franchise. Whilst the original game was a trailblazer in its genre, Horizon 5 simply follows the same recipe we have seen in the past three or four games.
Sure, the series’ fifth iteration brings fans to a new location in Mexico and places them in a fantastic map. However, from the cars to the gameplay and even many of the voice actors, nothing changed from 4 to 5. If anything, the fifth game feels like little more than an enlarged expansion pack for the fourth. It is even to the point where, at launch, the new title offered no more cars than its predecessor.
All in all, this comes across as a very lazy approach to game design. Worse than that, it makes for a dull gaming experience for fans as they pretty much played the same game a few years prior in Horizon 4.
This monotonous repetition is compounded by the already unappealing approach to a story mode. Many Forza fans enjoy the mindless collection of rare cars. Most of these cars are obtained for free through wheelspins and race rewards. But, there is a large group of racing game enthusiasts that want a challenge.
Such players want to work for progression, rather than reach the endgame by Hour 3 and spend the rest of their FH5 experience in hectic Arcade game modes. This wasn’t the way in FH1. So those that reminisce about the original game are often left disappointed.
A New Team to Save the Series
It seems then that, with the next iteration of the Forza Horizon series a year or-so away, this reshuffle of its development team couldn’t have come at a better time. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity for the franchise to start afresh. The new team would do well to address some of the concerns fans may have.
If we follow the trend of previous Horizon releases, FH6 would be scheduled for release either late this year, or next. So the new team will have just enough time to add its influence to the title. But with so many big changes to the dev team, Playground Games may consider starting over with development.
This would be the best option. Whilst game delays are never on gamers’ wish lists, it would allow the new team to totally transform the franchise. A reimagined approach bringing new ideas to the table is exactly what we need to save the Forza Horizon series.
Whether new changes are popular or not, a new lease of life is essential to spark new interest. From a new car purchasing system to a revised story and even a breaking in Forza car list tradition, anything to distance 6 from 5 will be good.
What changes would you like to see made to Forza Horizon for its sixth iteration? Let us know by sending a tweet @OverTake_gg or leave a comment down below!