It's official: Toyota has returned to Microsoft's flagship racing video game franchise in a big way with what's arguably the most popular performance model in its history, the fourth-generation Supra. This comes after it previously said it didn't support titles that "promote illegal street racing" when asked about its absence from racing games outside Gran Turismo earlier this fall, prompting a round of criticism from enthusiasts and gamers alike.
The franchise's social media accounts announced Tuesday that the car will arrive in Forza Horizon 4 in an update that will drop on Dec. 12. No mention of pricing info suggests that this won't be paid DLC, but rather a free addition to every player's garage.
Toyota has not been seen in a Forza title since 2016's Horizon 3, with the marque almost entirely disappearing from 2017's big letdown that was Motorsport 7, save for a few racing vehicles. There are dozens of racing games out there that officially license models from manufacturers, but pretty much the only one with Toyota street cars is the track-only series Gran Turismo. Neither Toyota nor the two sister gaming franchises' developers Turn 10 Studios and Playground Games offered much of an explanation for the company's retreat from the gaming world, and the automaker didn't speak much on the matter until this past August.
Responding to a random Twitter user at the time who asked why the new Supra isn't in the new Need for Speed: Heat, Toyota UK said gamers could instead find its vehicles in titles that don't "promote illegal street racing." The pile-on that followed prompted Toyota to delete the tweet and issue a retraction reflecting on the importance of racing games to enthusiasts and suggesting a licensing deal with Gran Turismo was really to blame for its absence elsewhere. And this:
"Officially, Toyota Motor Corporation has no concrete plans to license its model range to any other games besides Gran Turismo Sport at the moment," stated Toyota UK on Twitter. "We'll be really excited to share our future plans with you as soon as we're able to."
We reached out to Toyota for the full scoop on how today's news developed and if it portends any plans for other games, and we'll update if we hear back. As cars don't make their way into games overnight, Toyota's plans as of late August may well have already involved getting the Supra back into Forza. Regardless, now that you know it's coming back, all that's left to do is count down the time. T-minus 23 days.