New studio to lead the development
Microsoft has announced a new game that will be coming to the Forza franchise. The new title will be called Forza Horizon, and it is on track for an exclusive Xbox 360 release in the fall of 2012.
Forza Horizon is being developed by a new studio called Playground Games. While the studio is new, the people behind the scenes are not. The studio was founded by Trevor Williams and Nick Wheelright, who are ex-Codemasters alum who worked on DiRT and GRID.
The best news, however, is that the studio is a true racing development studio that features a number of programmers and developers from Black Rock, Bizarre Creations, and Slightly Mad Studios. This studio contains the creative talents that brought us such titles as Pure, Split/Second, Project Gotham Racing, Blur, and the Need for Speed Shift titles in addition to the racing titles developed at Codemasters. It is a power horse racing studio, for sure.
While no gameplay videos have been released for Horizon yet, the game is described as a spin-off that is a fast-paced pickup and play racing title. It is rumored that the game is more of an open world experience that may mirror in some ways what we saw in the recent Test Drive Unlimited offering from Atari.
While the game will be released this fall, we can expect Microsoft to feature Forza Horizon at E3; and it is safe to say we should see some gameplay by then. With the news of Forza Horizon it is also big news that Microsoft will now be releasing a Forza branded title every year, rather than the two-year release schedule that Turn 10 has been on with the Forza Motorsport franchise.