Forza Horizon 5 is in the final stages of its development, with just a little spit and polish needed to get it ready for its general release on new and last-generational consoles, and PC, starting in November. Alongside all the new cars, locations, and visual improvements over its predecessor, though, it's leveraging a new technology in an intriguing way. Forza Horizon 5 will use ray tracing to improve its audio, instead of its lighting.
Ray tracing is a system of using simulated paths that light can take throughout a scene, bouncing off of different objects, with reach bounce changing the light and how it interacts with what it next intersects. It gives real time shadows and reflections far greater detail and is helping to pioneer new levels of photo realism in modern games. But Forza Horizon 5 will only offer ray traced lighting in its Forzavista car viewer mode.
Where gamers will be able to enjoy ray tracing throughout the game, is with the game's audio. Lead audio designer Fraser Strachan recently discussed how Forza Horizon 5 uses the same technique of bouncing around between objects to provide nuanced in-game audio. Driving through cities will result in more bombastic, reflected sound from the cars' engines and tyres, while travelling through a forest will lead to more muted sound.
Jump to 26 minutes, 20 seconds to hear it right from the horse's mouth.
The effect is pronounced, with the developers claiming that it makes the world feel far more real as you travel through it, and can be further augmented with Dolby Atmos and surround sound setups.
Forza Horizon 5 debuts this November 9 on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and PC.