Forza Horizon 5 is one of the biggest games on Xbox Series X right now, and the series continues to find new fans. However, the Forza Motorsport spin-off almost didn't exist at all. In a new interview with GQ, Playground Games studio head Trevor Williams revealed that the developer originally pitched an entirely different racing game. According to Williams, the team met with Alan Hartman and Dan Greenawalt, Forza's corporate vice president and general manager, respectively. Playground Games went to dinner with the two to pitch a new entry in the Project Gotham Racing series, but the offer was declined.
"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. "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."
While the moment may have caused some initial panic for Williams and Playground Games, the decision proved to be a smart one for Playground Games. The first Forza Horizon released in 2012, and the games have become massively successful for Xbox over the last decade. There are big hopes that next year's entry in the Forza Motorsport series will be enjoyed by an even bigger number of players.
"With Forza Horizon 5 now reaching over 20 million players already. It's just a monster. And each of our titles keeps getting bigger," Hartman told GQ.
Unfortunately for fans of Project Gotham Racing, it doesn't seem likely that the series will return anytime soon. The last new entry in the series released in 2007 on Xbox 360. While Microsoft owns the rights to the series, developer Bizarre Creations shut down just a few years later, in 2011. The pitch from Playground Games might have been the best chance at the series returning, but clearly things worked out for the best!
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