Even though Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport share a name, there’s version differences that make each distinct. Let’s observe the various.

Microsoft just launched Forza Motorsport, which is the latest entry in Xbox's flagship racing series. When Forza Horizon 5 released in November 2021, it attracted a lot of casual gamers to the franchise. Many of them have also got their eyes on the latest Forza Motorsport and are wondering what it's all about. Despite sharing the same name, Forza Motorsport, and Forza Horizon are two very different types of games with very different target audiences. So, what's the difference between each Forza version?

Let's discuss the various.

Forza Motorsport - The"Simcade" racing game

Image Source: Forza Motorsport on Steam
Image Source: Forza Motorsport on Steam

Racing game enthusiasts call Forza Motorsport a "Simcade". A Simcade is a racing game that combines simulator and arcade racer features to deliver the best of both worlds. In that regard, games like the Forza Motorsport series and Gran Turismo series try to emulate real-world racing in a way that's easy to learn. Simply put, these games have a low-skill floor but a high-skill ceiling.

They're designed so that anyone, from casual racing game fans to hardcore motorsport enthusiasts can enjoy the game in their way. This is perhaps the most obvious version difference between Forza games.

Arcade racing, Forza-style

Image Source: Forza Horizon 5 on Steam
Image Source: Forza Horizon 5 on Steam

On the other hand, the Forza Horizon series of games is more of an arcade racer. It's designed to be an enjoyable experience for casual gamers and light-hearted racing game fans. It doesn't impose as many rules and restrictions on the racing and driving experience as much as Motorsport.

It isn't trying to be realistic either. However, some consider it a Simcade because despite it not being very realistic, it does use the traditional Forza car handling model which can feel like real-world driving under the right circumstances. Players have the freedom to set how this works, however, and the game's physics put any case for realism to rest.

Less pixels

Forza Horizon 5 is considered the game with better graphics than Forza Motorsport, despite being older
Forza Horizon 5 is considered the game with better graphics than Forza Motorsport, despite being older

Despite releasing in 2023, two years after Forza Horizon, Forza Motorsport has faced criticism for its graphics. The game has been plagued by a poor launch, marred by issues around performance and visual fidelity. A lot of players consider Forza Horizon 5 the prettier game of the two, and it shows. Players are even pointing fingers at the fact that Motorsport should consume fewer resources than Horizon, with it not being an open-world game.

The Forza Motorsport developers have issued a statement claiming they're going to fix the game through a series of updates, the first of which is already live.

Brothers from different mothers

Among the biggest differences between the two series is their developers. The Forza Motorsport series is developed by American studio, Turn10, whereas the Forza Horizon series is developed by British studio, Playground Games. Both studios have a very different approach to developing video games and it shows.

Playground Games and Turn10 Studios collaborated on the first Forza Horizon title. Since then, the studios have individually worked on their own series. It isn't uncommon, however, for both games to share certain resources like car models and AI difficulty. Despite their version differences, both Forza games do share this. So, that's nice.

Forza version difference: Open-World vs Fixed

The Forza Horizon series is an open-world series set in scaled-down versions of real-world locations<br>
The Forza Horizon series is an open-world series set in scaled-down versions of real-world locations

Another major difference between the two is their level-design and the experience they deliver. The Forza Horizon series is an open-world series of games set in various locations. On the other hand, the Motorsport series has a fixed set of race-tracks. Some of them are real-world race tracks while others are fictional.

Forza version difference: Difficulty, gameplay experience

Image Source: Microsoft
Image Source: Microsoft

Forza Motorsport is largely considered a much more difficult game than Forza Horizon. That being said, the games can be similar in terms of difficulty depending on the target audience. Races in both games deliver a very different experience. While there are no "rules" in Forza Horizon races other than no ramming, Motorsport has plenty.

Motorsport has concepts of fuel loads, pit stops, qualifying sessions and penalties that make it significantly more tactical. Races in the Forza Horizon series are simply point-to-point races. Hilariously though, that still doesn't stop players from indulging in ramming other players in Motorsport.

Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon 5 are both available on Xbox Game Pass for players to try out for themselves before buying.

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