Forza Horizon Exists Because Xbox Turned Down Project Gotham Racing Reboot

"Out of the ashes"

Forza Horizon Playground Games Project Gotham Racing Xbox
Forza Horizon Exists Because Xbox Turned Down Project Gotham Racing Reboot

Xbox has invested heavily in both iterations of its star racing series, Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon. Both have received plenty of new entries, but the conception of the Horizon franchise is a different story entirely. According to Playground Games, Forza Horizon only exists because Xbox once turned down a pitched Project Gotham Racing reboot.

In an interview with GQ, Playground Games studio head Trevor Williams talked about how the Forza Horizon series came about. Williams and his team once pitched a reboot of Project Gotham Racing to Forza‘s general manager Dan Greenawalt and Forza corporate vice president Alan Hartman.

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During the pitch, Greenawalt and Hartman were apparently uninterested in reviving Project Gotham Racing. However, a last-minute change of plans led to the conceptualisation of Forza Horizon. “It was one of those stories where the steak turns to ash in your mouth, and I’m thinking, ‘how do we afford the flights home?’,” explained Williams. “After five minutes, Alan was like, ‘What would you do with Forza? Where would you take Forza?’ And we pitched what literally became Horizon, almost on a napkin.”

Following the meeting, the Forza franchise would be split into Motorsport and Horizon.

As for the Project Gotham Racing series, the last entry launched in 2007 and was developed by Bizarre Creations. However, when the studio was acquired by Activision, Bizarre Creations confirmed that it would no longer be continuing the PGR series for Xbox. Instead, the studio developed its spiritual successor, Blur.

The Project Gotham Racing IP currently resides with Microsoft, though the company has never revealed any plans to continue it, likely due to the popularity of the Forza Horizon series. Playground Games went on to develop the first Forza Horizon game in 2012, which was followed by four sequels over the last decade.

Playground Games is currently working on new content for its latest entry, Forza Horizon 5, which will introduce Hot Wheels DLC.

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Source: GQ

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