The Forza Horizon series only happened because a Project Gotham Racing reboot pitch was reject, it’s been claimed.
Williams recalled that Greenawalt and Hartman weren’t interested in reviving the series, but the meeting was salvaged by a last-minute change of plans.
“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 said.
“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.”
Forza Motorsport - official trailer
As a result of the meeting, the Forza franchise would essentially split into two separate series, Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon.
The Project Gotham Racing series, developed by Bizarre Creations, was one of the most popular franchises of the early days of Xbox.
The series ended in September 2007 when it was announced that, following its acquisition by Activision, Bizarre Creations would no longer be producing PGR games for Xbox.
That team went on to develop Blur, a spiritual successor to the franchise. Microsoft still owns the PGR IP but has yet to return to it, likely due to the popularity of the Forza series.
The first Forza Horizon game was released in 2012 for the Xbox 360. The fifth game in the series was released last year to overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Xbox has confirmed that the new Forza Motorsport will be released in spring 2023.
Simply titled Forza Motorsport at the moment, the game was shown off in a lengthy gameplay trailer, which Xbox claimed was running in real-time in 4K.