Game news Forza Motorsport: The Forza Horizon side series stems from a cult Xbox generation game
It’s well known, small stories make great history and video games are no exception to this rule. During an interview, the director of the Playground Games studio, behind the Forza license, revealed that the alternative series, Horizon, actually stemmed from a famous saga that made the heyday of Xbox… and even the Dreamcast.
The Gotham Project
In this interview granted to QG-Magazine, Trevor Williams reveals that his initial goal was to revive the Project Gotham Racing license. Developed by the Bizarre Creations studio, on which the foundations of Playground Games are based, this automotive franchise has had a profound effect on Xbox owners.
In the mid-1990s, Bizarre Creations made a name for itself by creating a game that would hit the headlines and win countless awards: Formula 1. The Formula 1 simulation is such a slap on PlayStation (and PC) that Liverpool’s proteges are attracting envy. During a video game fair taking place in London, Katsuhisa Sato (known as Kats Sato), officiating for SEGA Europe, sees the game running on a screen. Taking advantage of a moment of inattention by the employees of Psygnosis and Sony (the publisher and the producer), the interested party disconnects and reconnects the television socket. And for good reason, the demo set up by the developers presents a race – but also the name of each of the creators of the game! Kats Sato jots down the name of the studio, grabs the names of the developers, and storms off from the Sony and Psygnosis booth. A few months later, when looking for developers for the Dreamcast, he will not fail to come back to them and this SEGA / Bizarre Creations association will bring the excellent Metropolis Street Racer, known as MSR, to life on the spiral console.
From MSR to Project Gotham then Forza
Metropolis Street Racer will innovate by including an awesome system: Kudos. Concretely, depending on the player’s piloting, points are awarded to allow him to progress. The system is so popular with gamers that Bizarre Creations decides to optimize it for its new Xbox exclusive license: Project Gotham Racing, says PGR. The Liverpool studio has always tried to bring a revival to the genre and its developers also put the package to impress the eyes and the ears of the players. Both MSR and PGR distinguished themselves by their admirable graphics, but also by the various radio stations that accompanied each race.
Trevor Williams thus explained that it was initially a question of a revival from Project Gotham Racing. Finally, while at the restaurant with his team, he learned that this was not possible (perhaps for rights issues, but Microsoft said no). In the most total haste, they then defined the contours of what will become Forza Horizon, in other words a license parallel to Forza Motorsport allowing to juggle between the two. As he says himself:
After five minutes, Alan Hatman, Vice President of Forza, asked me, ‘What would you do with Forza? Where would you take Forza?’ and we slept, almost on a towel, the one that would become Horizon.
This shows that ideas one day can be very different the next. Luckily for us, while Project Gotham Racing hasn’t been revived, Playground Games has managed to bring a spin off from Forza absolutely amazing. Each episode of Horizon is a slap! Can’t wait for the next one!