As we get closer and closer to Forza Horizon 3‘s release date of September 25, it may come as a shock to fans of the series that the original Forza Horizon will be gone next month from the digital Xbox 360 store. According to IGN, the reason given by Turn 10 Studios and Playground Games for the removal of Forza Horizon comes down to one simple fact: the game has run its natural life cycle.
Those who have not yet bought the game will have until October 20 to purchase Forza Horizon (a statement was released on Forza’s website) and its accompanying DLC. After that date, the game will disappear forever (though the game can still presumably be found in disc form) from Microsoft’s digital servers. Those who do buy the game before the cutoff will be able to play and download the game without interruption.
Developed by Playground Games, Forza Horizon was released exclusively on Xbox 360, though it was recently released on Xbox One as a backwards compatible game (the game was also given away free with Microsoft’s ”Games with Gold” program). The same developmental team worked on the second game as well as the newest installment. Turn 10 Studios published the first Forza Horizon game while Microsoft Studios was in charge of the latest two in the franchise.
Forza Horizon was originally released October 23, 2012 and has enjoyed much critical success, though it underwhelmed somewhat in sales. The game was originally considered a spinoff of the main Forza game series but has spawned two critically acclaimed sequels and developed a life of its own in most gamers minds.
Forza Horizon dropped players into a world of fast-paced racing of all styles, set in the backdrop of an open world experience. The game, like its successor, promoted a “pick your own path” style, allowing players to participate in races in whatever order they choose. Stacked on top is a plethora of options from smashing into objects to drift racing erratically for points to increase player rank.
With Forza Horizon‘s life cycle coming to an end on Xbox 360, it’s hard not to wonder if this isn’t another step toward the eventual demise of the Xbox 360 as a platform for new games. While both Forza Horizon and its direct sequel were both released on the console, the newest entry is only being released on the Xbox One console (it will also, as most Forza games, be released on PC).
This isn’t limited to the Forza games, either, as more and more game studios elect to focus their attention on current gen versions of their tops game franchises. There are some outliers, naturally (the WWE 2K come to mind, though 2k Sports usually has two different teams working on each version) but as a whole, it seems as if Forza Horizon isn’t the only thing running its natural life cycle.
Honestly, though, the Xbox 360 has had a long lifespan, having been operational since November 22, 2005. It’s still insanely popular, even with the Xbox One (the far superior console) being nearly three years into its own life cycle. Still, the facts are undeniable: the Xbox 360 is on its way out. Microsoft announced earlier this year that they have no intention of producing any more of the systems, though they’ll continue to sell the consoles they have in stock.
So what do you think, fellow readers? Is the Xbox 360’s life cycle coming to an end as we get deeper and deeper into the One’s? Will other game publishers follow suit and start pulling their games from the Microsoft digital store? Will you be picking up Forza Horizon before it races off into the sunset for good? Let us know in the comments below!
[Featured Image by Forza Motorsport]