What’s the difference between Forza Horizon & Forza Motorsport?

Forza is Microsoft’s most popular and beloved racing game franchise. But what’s the difference between Forza Horizon & Forza Motorsport? Let’s find out.

What’s the difference between Forza Horizon & Forza Motorsport?

One of the key differences between Forza Horizon & Forza Motorsport is the racing style.

Forza Motorsport features closed-circuit racing on fictional and licensed race tracks. Races in Forza Horizon, on the other hand, take place in large open worlds based on real-life locations. You are free to explore the environment, enter races, and complete objectives at your leisure.

Launched in 2005 and developed by Turn 10 Studios, the first Forza Motorsport was Microsoft’s answer to Gran Turismo on the original Xbox. It was popular enough to spawn six sequels, with an eighth Forza Motorsport game currently in development for Xbox Series X|S.

Forza Motorsport 7 racing
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Forza Motorsport focuses on closed-circuit racing

Since the first game, Forza Motorsport's track list expanded significantly. With over 200 unique layouts and 32 tracks set in fictional and real-life locations like the Nurburgring, Suzuka, and Silverstone, 2017’s Forza Motorsport 7 has the largest track selection of any Motorsport game.

New Horizons

Developed by British studio Playground Games, the first Forza Horizon released in 2012 as an open-world spin-off To Forza Motorsport based around the Horizon music festival. Released on Xbox 360, the first game let you explore the canyon roads of Colorado. 2014’s Forza Horizon 2 unleashed you onto the coastal roads of Southern France and Northern Italy.

Forza Horizon 3 moved the Horizon festival to the Australian outback. Forza Horizon 4 was set close to home in “beautiful, historic Britain.” It even had a recreation of Edinburgh's town centre.

Forza Horizon 5 Mercedes AMG One
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The Mercedes-AMG One is the star car of Forza Horizon 5

The latest game in the Horizon series, Forza Horizon 5, is set in Mexico. This is the most diverse map in a Forza Horizon game yet, allowing you to tear up a picturesque town, beaches, and jungles. You can even drive up a volcano and reach the highest altitude of any Forza Horizon game.

Unlike Forza Motorsport, you can drive off-road in Forza Horizon. Maps in Horizon games also contain hidden car barn finds, speed traps, and stunt jumps to discover alongside the main race events.

Tonally, Forza Horizon is more upbeat than Forza Motorsport. Its music festival and radio stations create a rousing party atmosphere, and there are also Top Gear-style Showcase events where you race against a variety of vehicles from trains to hovercrafts and fighter jets.


Another important difference between Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon is car handling. Forza Motorsport’s handling is more realistic than Forza Horizon’s accessible driving physics. Forza Horizon appeals to a more casual audience, so the focus is on fun. Case in point: in Forza Horizon, you can drive supercars off-road, perform huge jumps that would make the Dukes of Hazzard proud, and smash through objects with no consequences. 

What can we expect for Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport in the future?

Playground Games hasn't announced if a new Forza Horizon game is in development. But given the success of the series, we expect Forza Horizon 5 to get a sequel. Typically, Forza Horizon games release every two years, so the next one could come out in 2023.

We know a new Forza Motorsport game is in development for Xbox Series X|S, however. Simply called Forza Motorsport, the series reboot promises to be the most authentic Forza game yet with a brand-new tyre and suspension model. Forza Motorsport has no release date, but it should arrive in 2022 to rival Gran Turismo 7.

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