Digital distribution is a firmly entrenched aspect of purchasing games in 2020, with depending on where you look, physical distribution of games on discs or cartridges is starting to gradually decline in popularity. This has some fantastic advantages, where it’s more convenient than ever to buy and install a game without having to leave the house, types of games that would never be economically viable to distribute physically can still find an audience, and the connected nature of play has opened the door to a wide variety of types updates, expansions, and DLC.
It’s not all upsides though, where one of the perhaps most troubling factors to take into account is that games and content can be delisted, meaning that something is no longer available for purchase after a given date. This can happen for all sorts of reasons, but one of the most common reasons that games can get delisted is when the license agreements associated with the game expire.
The Forza racing series, with its expansive selection of licensed vehicles, and extensive selection of in-game radio stations filled with licensed tracks, is extremely susceptible to being delisted. Almost every game in the Forza series, and every piece of downloadable content for it, has ended up being delisted from digital stores, usually around four years after release. This may not be something that you’d have noticed if you primarily play on PC, since the series started out as Xbox only, but in back in September 2016, the series made it’s debut on PC, as Forza Horizon 3 was the first mainline entry to be made available on PC. I think you can see where this is going.
Today we heard the news that on the four year anniversary of Forza Horizon 3’s release, it is going to be removed from sale. This means that unless you have bought it by that time, you’ll no longer be able to grab it from the Windows Store. This game was released under Microsoft’s Play Anywhere banner, meaning that you buy it once and get both the Xbox version and the PC version with a single purchase, but with this announcement, we now know that the window of opportunity for doing so is closing. Not only is the base game going to be disappearing from the store, but any and all DLC will be removed from sale too.
Thankfully, we have at least been given a heads up that this is happening, we know that this delisting is happening, and we’ve been given over a months worth of notice, so this is a good last chance to pick up the game for anyone who wants it. Not only is it still available until September 28th, but it’s also heavily discounted, too. Whilst it remains available for sale, you’ll be able to pick up the various different bundles the game is available in, and the game’s two expansions, at a very generous discount. Here are the different options available:
- Forza Horizon 3: Standard Edition, just the Base Game – $9.89/£6.59
- Forza Horizon 3: Ultimate Edition – Base Game, All Stars-Car Pack, VIP membership and Car Pass – $20.99/£17.99
Also discounted is the Expansion Pass:
All of these are great value, and particularly the Hot Wheel expansion is fantastic. Note that no edition of the game includes the expansions, you have to buy them separately if you want them. My recommendations would be to either grab the Standard Edition of the game, plus the Expansion Pass, or if you really want to have a huge garage full of cars, then opt for the Ultimate Edition, plus the Expansion Pass.
Sadly this game is from before the time that Microsoft was releasing their games on Steam. Recently we’ve seen them achieve great success with their games like Master Chief Collection and Sea of Thieves on Steam, but back in 2016 they were still pushing their Windows Store with exclusive games, and it looks like in the case of Forza, they’re not making the effort to bring across the back catalog Forza games. Perhaps in the case of Forza Horizon 3, they knew it was because they only had the rights to sell this game for a little while longer.
If you never played Forza, or never played the Horizon spin-off series, I certainly think this is worth your attention. For me, the Forza Motorsports track-based racing games take themselves a little too seriously. They’re probably great if you’re really passionate about track-based racing simulation, but I’ve always enjoyed the Horizon sub-series more, where it lets its hair down and has a bit more fun. These are open-world games, with as much of a focus on exploration and virtual tourism as on racing. What’s particularly neat about them is that each entry centers on one real-world location, usually with interesting and varied terrain for a good mix of different types of driving experiences. I think not only are these games worth a look whether you are a hardcore racing fan, or if you just enjoy a well crafted open world.
Unlike some other racing series, I would say it’s really worth going back to play the older games too since the location changes every time, but where the game is set is a huge part of each entry’s personality. Forza Horizon 3 is set in the Australian outback, with gorgeous coastal tracks, rich jungle environments, picturesque modern cities, and a great feeling of isolation in the wilderness. You can perhaps get a suggestion of how Forza Horizon’s sense of fun with this footage of the brilliant Hot Wheel expansion
With good reason, this is one of Microsoft’s most consistently well-reviewed games across their entire lineup, and in my opinion, the team at Playground Games is one of the safest pairs of hands in the industry. I can’t wait to see what they do with Fable, and where they take Forza Horizon in the future.
If you have even a casual curiosity about this game series, we highly recommend picking this up before the September 28th deadline. It’s fully compatible with racing wheels, and our friends over at PCGuide have done a great roundup of the best racing wheels available today.
It’s entirely possible that in another two years, we’ll be seeing the same situation arise with Forza Horizon 4, so see you again, same time same place, in 2022.