Since the first game sped onto the Xbox 360 as a Forza Motorsport spin-off in 2012, Forza Horizon has set the standard for open-world racers. It’s since become Microsoft’s staple arcade racer, with Forza Horizon 5 recently surpassing 20 million players.
But before Forza Horizon, there was another first-party arcade racer exclusive on Xbox: Project Gotham Racing.
An Xbox classic
Project Gotham Racing was a launch title for the original Xbox in 2001 that showcased the power of Microsoft’s first-ever games console.
Developed by Bizarre Creations, the first game was a spiritual successor to Metropolis Street Racer released on the ill-fated Dreamcast.
PGR is remembered for its urban tracks set in real-world locations and arcade-style street racing with a unique Kudos system that rewarded stylish driving.
It spawned three sequels, with the last two games released on the Xbox 360. But while the franchise was beloved by fans, PGR has been dormant since 2007.
Playground Games pitched a Project Gotham Racing reboot
Speaking with GQ Magazine, Trevor Williams, studio head of Playground Games, revealed that Playground Games originally pitched a Project Gotham Racing reboot before creating Forza Horizon.
He pitched his idea for a Project Gotham Racing to Turn 10’s Dan Greenawalt and Alan Hartman, but they weren’t interested. Instead, they asked Playground Games to take Forza in a new direction - and Forza Horizon was born.
“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?'” Williams told GQ Magazine. “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.”
It’s a shame we haven’t had a new PGR game for 15 years. But with Forza Horizon's popularity showing no signs of slowing down, a PGR reboot is unlikely to happen, sadly.