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Forza Horizon 5 is getting a multiplayer overhaul this week

New progression system and custom mode coming

Two cars drift in Forza Horizon 5 Image: Playground Games/Xbox Game Studios
Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

In notes for a patch to Forza Horizon 5 due Tuesday, March 29, developer Playground Games revealed an overhaul to Horizon Open, the game’s competitive multiplayer mode.

“Horizon Open has been updated with a new progression system including Badges which can be unlocked through gameplay,” the patch notes read. This is notable because Forza Horizon 4 had a ranked multiplayer mode and associated progression system, but Playground chose to omit these features in Forza Horizon 5 due to concern they were making the game too competitive and unrewarding for players who just wanted to have fun.

Playground also announced a new Horizon Open mode that will give players more control over the kind of races they undertake. Custom Racing “will allow players to find races for their chosen race discipline and PI [performance index] class,” according to the notes. So, for example, you will be able to search for S1-class road races, or A-class cross country races.

Forza Horizon 5 earned plaudits for its beautiful visuals, packed open world, and social elements, and through Game Pass has reached the series’ biggest audience yet. It also features unique multiplayer attractions in the form of its Playground Games and battle-royale-style Eliminator modes, as well as a range of cooperative play options. But the Horizon series has always struggled to find the right focus and balance for its main competitive racing mode, which tends to be scrappy and chaotic.

Tuesday’s patch will also address stability and performance improvements, allow players to manipulate gravity in their EventLab creations, and make numerous fixes to the game and its cars, including fixing a dent in the Jaguar XJ220s and changing the shift animation on the 1968 Renault 4L. The quest for automotive authenticity never ends.