Forza Horizon 5: The tiny detail that elevates FH5

It's just days to wait until we can play Forza Horizon 5. As the big racing game release of this year, we've got high expectations for what the Playground Games team has produced!

There is one little detail about the game that should take it to a whole other level.


The smoke effects were always a little lacking in previous Forza games. As someone who takes a lot of screenshots, it was always frustrating that the smoke stopped when you hit the button for photo mode. You had to get the shot at just the angle to hide that there was a couple of feet between the tyres and the smoke itself!

fh4 hoonigan ford s bends
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In FH4 tyre smoke was a bit sparse and very hard to photograph well

The smoke itself was pretty thin. It just wasn't as satisfying to burn tyres in Forza Horizon 4 as it was in other games. Particularly Need for Speed and CarX Drift Racing Online!

With drifting such a big part of the Horizon community, it was always a nagging issue with the game. Now though, things a changing.

Drift GOAT

It's fair to say we were hoping for improvements here. I've been playing a lot of CarX alongside Forza games lately and the tyre smoke is far more satisfying than the former.

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Absolute plumes in CarX Drift Racing Online

While Forza Horizon 5 isn't just about drifting, it would be great to see this tweaked. Ultimately, we're not playing these games for their subtlety! So I was glad to see that the Playground Games team had given this some attention.

Lighting it up in Forza Horizon 5

We've been checking out the videos and streams from those with access to the Forza Horizon 5 previews and we've got good news to report. Tyre smoke has been completely revamped and now looks fantastic.

fh5 350z tyre smoke
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That's better: Forza Horizon 5 fixes one of our FH4 complaints

Mike Brown, creative director at Playground Games, spoke a little about the improvements to the smoke:

"We actually have an entirely new VFX system in this game, so the smoke is now high resolution, it's more voluminous and it also interacts with tire temperature more than it ever did before. If you're playing in summer, it’s hot weather – your tires are nice and hot – and you throw it into a big drift, you'll kick up loads of smoke. If you're playing in winter or you're in the snow, the tires are cold and they can't heat up, so you’ll produce much less smoke. There's a real dynamism to it."

We've seen gameplay and also had a glance at photo mode for Forza Horizon 5. In both the smoke looks vastly better than previous Forza Horizon games. Incidentally, I'm also loving the reflection in that screenshot above. It looks like the visual upgrades we've been excited about will be worth the wait! Now to make sure we've got the hardware to play the game at its best...

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