Screenshot by Destructoid

The two types of FOMO present in Forza games

Nobody really enjoys missing out on cool stuff all that much.

Transient, temporary video game content is the bane of a completionist’s existence, and it just so happens that live-service titles thrive on their players’ ability to not access content. In Forza games, in particular, FOMO (fear of missing out) comes part and parcel, though in two meaningfully different flavors.

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Banking too heavily on FOMO is, obviously, a serious concern in a video game whose core appeal is, at least to some extent, reliant specifically on one’s growing collection of cars. Making those cars come and go willy-nilly with extremely tight scheduling will, inevitably, lead to some players missing out, all the while creating a system of artificial scarcity. Certainly, one could argue that a “live” game ought to have some type of exclusive timed content going in and out of rotation to make it feel genuinely different from one season to another, but it doesn’t take a brainiac to dismiss this line of thought: why is all-new content being added to a game just to effectively jank it back out after a week?

Discussing the extremely hypothetical merits of FOMO is not what we’re really interested in, thankfully. Instead, our attention falls upon one of the two ways in which Playground Games’ Forza Horizon 5 and Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport tackle this problem. Even though the principle of FOMO is very much the same between the two franchise entries, its execution is not, and that’s the really curious bit. Which of the two approaches to FOMO is better? Or more palatable, as it were? Only one way to find out.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Comparing the FOMO in Forza Horizon 5 and Forza Motorsport

I’ve bemoaned Forza Motorsport’s excessive reliance on FOMO time and again here at Destructoid, but the simple truth is that Forza Horizon 5 is every bit as bad in that regard. Worse, even, if you’re a car aficionado that can’t really keep up with Horizon’s remarkably punishing seasonal format.

Look, I get it: most players won’t see the point in appreciating the practical difference between the 2020 and 2017 versions of Nissan GT-R, as the two cars are extremely similar. Since the 2020 version has only been made available for a single week of Forza Horizon 5’s Series 5 season, however, it is desirable by default, and if you weren’t around at the time, you don’t get to unlock, drive, and tune it.

The example of the 2020 R35 is emblematic of Forza Horizon 5’s approach to FOMO: Playground Games releases huge, meaningful batches of content at an impressively rapid pace, and then chunks of this content are taken back out for however long Playground sees fit. Every season, there are big new things coming out and a handful of exclusive, time-limited cars to chase after. And, of course, once the season wraps up, you won’t be seeing those new cars for a good long while, as they generally do not get added to the game’s car marketplace.

In comparison, the new Forza Motorsport is less FOMO-laden if you can believe that. Notably, its championships stick around for weeks at a time, and every new season only adds two or three exclusive new vehicles to chase after. Indeed: Motorsport is less punishing than Horizon if you’re a collector, and it gives you more of a shot at keeping up with the game.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Dealing with Forza’s reliance on temporary content

The obvious caveat to the claim made above, of course, is that Forza Motorsport’s timed events are way more meaningful than Forza Horizon 5’s timed events. Setting aside the game’s Free Play option for a little bit, Motorsport’s cups genuinely add interesting and exciting solo and multiplayer events with every new update. For example, the mid-January update – the Italian Challengers – was all about racing against Italian vehicles. It was a niche situation that spiced things up if you’re into these things. More importantly, simply sliding this bundle of events over into the game’s permanent campaign roster would’ve massively improved Motorsport’s long-term value proposition.

This, naturally, did not happen. Quite the opposite, in fact, as Turn 10 continues to release batches of themed campaign-tier content that gets taken back out of the game once a new update rolls out.

Harkening back to the availability of the Free Play mode, you most definitely can race whatever you want wherever you want via this option. I’d like to argue, however, that Turn 10 wouldn’t have lost anything (except for banking on the players’ fear of missing out) had it set up a permanent library of past events in Forza Motorsport’s remarkably underserved Builder’s Cup campaign mode.

Similarly, it’s a known critique of Forza Horizon 5 that the game’s baseline roster of vehicles was made up mostly of cars that weren’t new to Forza at all. The majority of new-to-Forza cars were, instead, added into the game via those aforementioned weekly challenges, so if you weren’t actively staying on top of most of its events, you were missing out on a lot as a car enthusiast.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Things aren’t set to change anytime soon for Forza

It’s a given that I’m hardly the only player annoyed by how Playground Games and Turn 10 are handling their respective Forza offshoots. For years now, players have been complaining about Forza Horizon 5’s extreme FOMO, though this doesn’t get brought up often in the more casual game discussion opportunities. Forza Motorsport, in comparison, has been getting dragged over the coals for this very same – arguably less pronounced – problem from day one. How is it possible, then, that the popular discussion surrounding these two games is so wildly different?

My theory is simple: Forza Horizon 5 adds such large quantities of content on a regular basis that the sheer scope of most updates overshadows what’s temporary and transient about it. In comparison, Motorsport is more clinical and dry: you get a new track and a few new cars, with temporary events to fiddle around with, and then you’re done.

So you get to pick between two types of FOMO if you’re a Forza fan: do you prefer oodles of content coming in and out of the game on a weekly basis, or do you prefer a slower approach where “only” the championships get rotated out of existence every so often? Either way, the odds are good that you won’t get to play or unlock everything either of these two games have on offer, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.


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Author
Filip Galekovic
A lifetime gamer and writer, Filip has successfully made a career out of combining the two just in time for the bot-driven AI revolution to come into its own.