Home Forza Horizon 4’s termination is just the latest industry middle finger to the people who ultimately fund it

Forza Horizon 4’s termination is just the latest industry middle finger to the people who ultimately fund it

I’m sitting here watching the trailer for Forza Horizon 4 on Steam. The plaudits for one of the best race games of all time flash by – “The king of open-world arcade racing” says one. “Pure racing bliss” and “Hugely entertaining,” say others. Eurogamer rounds off with “The perfect open world arcade game.

Cool, this sounds like a game that will be remembered forever then. Hall of Fame stuff. Except no, in December this year, you won’t be able to buy it anymore and all digital traces of it will be expunged from history because of “licenses”.

In a bit of a mealy-mouthed statement from the devs that doesn’t even say ‘sorry mate’, the opener reads, “Due to licensing and agreements with our partners, Forza Horizon 4 will be delisted from digital platforms (Microsoft Store and Steam) on December 15, 2024. This means the game and its additional content will no longer be available for purchase through online stores.”

Am I, or you or whoever not a partner with an agreement that when I gave you all the money for Forza Horizon 4, I could well, y’know, actually play it the way it was supposed to be played?

Now you can temper a little of your outrage in that if you already own the game you will still be able to play it, albeit in a hobbled format with no DLC to add should you want to expand it in the future, and the removal of the Festival game mode which has been present since it launched in 2021 and has reached Series 77.

Forza – disappearing over the….

And as much as Playground Games is doing its best to keep its baby alive (it currently has an 80% reduction in price on Steam so you can buy it and keep it) the whole thing tastes sour because I am buying the decayed corpse of the game, not the game that was “pure racing bliss” only yesterday.

Should I not buy the next Forza games because “licensing issues” will take them away from me at some point and maybe my favorite bits will vanish? Yes, it is on sale now, but it was still for sale recently for $60. Is this something that just popped up this morning? Is this the same for any game from now on with licensing, if that’s the case I might suggest making a version without anything that will self-destruct the game a few months down the line.

All DLC has been removed from purchase as of today, this minute. The only way to get my hands on Forza Horizon 4 DLC now is to pirate the game. How is this right?

How is the only way to get something that was “The perfect open-world arcade game” not long ago is to get hold of it illegally? Maybe people will just decide to do that from the off in the future, cut out the pesky middlemen.

This is not my sense of entitlement running wild. You lot forced me down a path where I can’t really buy physical copies of games anymore to keep safe under my bed.

And what are these licenses you speak of? And why were they so short? Imagine if Aston Martin suddenly decided they didn’t want to be James Bond’s car and you couldn’t watch Casino Royale anymore unless you owned it on VHS. And if you decided you wanted to buy it for yourself, well you can’t because of well, licenses, or worse still here’s a version where Bond has to get the bus everywhere.

I am big into video game preservation and small into the corporate nonsense that rides roughshod over history for a few dollars here and there. Devs, coders, marketing people, and gamers have slaved over Forza Horizon 4, all coming together to make it the great game it is (soon to be was). It’s not right it can just be erased from existence everywhere but the torrent sites.

Games companies are again pushing people towards illicit means because people can’t trust that the games they purchase (but don’t even own) these days will be around to play as the years go by. Between the ever-increasing costs, the shameless microtransactions, oppressive DRM, meaningless skins, mass layoffs and now things like this, the gaming industry will struggle to repair its reputation in the long term.

And to be fair, right now, it absolutely does not deserve to.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Paul McNally
Gaming Editor

Paul McNally has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision in 1980. He has been a prominent games journalist since the 1990s, spending over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title published by IDG Media. Having spent time as Head of Communications at a professional sports club and working for high-profile charities such as the National Literacy Trust, he returned as Managing Editor in charge of large US-based technology websites in 2020. Paul has written high-end gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian PlayStation Magazine,…

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