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Opinion: The PS5 desperately needs an exclusive answer to Forza Horizon

If the PS5 turns out to be anything like the PS4, then it’ll be a hotbed of critically acclaimed exclusives that make the console a seriously tough product to ignore.

In my eyes, the PS4 has stayed immensely strong throughout this generation because of these exclusives. Whether it was the unmatched blockbuster set-pieces of Uncharted 4, the open-world exploration of Horizon Zero Dawn or the pure fun of Marvel’s Spider-Man. But there has always been one type of game the console missed, and that was a true rival to the fantastic Forza Horizon series.

Forza Horizon isn’t a stuffy racing sim, it’s a bombastic open-world car game where the actual aspect of racing feels almost inferior to the joy of exploration. It stands as one of my favourite current series and I even bought an Xbox One S for the sole purpose of playing it. Ridiculous, I know. A series with similarities to this is one of my biggest PS5 wishes.

Now, it’s not like the PS4 didn’t have a fair share of exclusive racing titles.  I was one of the few people who enjoyed Driveclub – albeit a lot more for its dazzling rain effects than its gameplay – and I wanted to like Gran Turismo Sport. Yet, both just lacked the fun-factor of a Forza Horizon game. Once you’ve spent time in that open world, be it the version of Australia in Horizon 3 and the UK in Horizon 4, the rigid structure of GT just doesn’t cut it.

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I also just much prefer the arcade-style of Horizon, which marries so well the feel of driving with the fun of it. Nothing I have tried on the PS4 comes close to giving me that feeling.

Not only is a racing game like Forza Horizon 4 great to play, but these games, in general, are also perfect showcases for the skills of new consoles. They’re ideal playgrounds for showing off graphical fidelity and there’s nothing better for weather effects and HDR. With features like ray-tracing coming to the PS5 it’d be exciting to see how they could be used in a title like this.

if a game like this was to exist, then the Gran Turismo branding seems like the most obvious choice. There has been little actual information about the followup to GT Sport, however there have been a few rumblings about a possible Gran Turismo 7. Whether or not a less ‘serious’ racing game is on the cards for Polyphony remains to be seen. A smart move would be to follow the Forza blueprint: have a more simulation-style title and an open-world iteration released every other year. This would keep the sim fans happy and keep me (and I suspect a lot of other prospective PS5 owners) happy too.

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