Forza Horizon developer Playground Games is opening a new studio soon to work on a non-racing open-world game.
GamesIndustry reports that the company is looking to nearly double its current headcount to around 200 people to work on a game currently codenamed “Project 2.”
“We feel like we’ve become pretty good at racing games over the years,” said founder and creative director Ralph Fulton. “We can always strive to get better but we’d love to prove ourselves in a different genre. That’s another goal of Project 2, to allow us to do that. We’re going to need to hire some very talented people with experience that we don’t have.”
Playground has made three Forza Horizon games but no other full titles since its inception in 2010. It’s unclear what the developer’s plans for Project 2 are, but Fulton did say that he and his team have no plans to abandon Forza completely.
“Our business with Forza over the last six, seven years has been great for us. It remains the cornerstone of our business–we’re not running away from racing, we still feel passionate about making new racing games and delivering new experiences for our players.
“Horizon 3 was a watershed game for us–it’s certainly our best-reviewed game critically, it’s our most commercially successful game as well. It’s the first time we’ve experienced that commercial breakout hit phenomenon–the other games have been successful but not on the level of this one. We want to keep doing that. In a way, that game took six years to make. So we want to keep developing that skillset and pushing new boundaries.”
Whether Project 2 will be exclusive to Xbox is unknown. All Playground’s games so far have been published by Microsoft, but the company is independent, and a non-Forza IP would not necessarily have to be Xbox-exclusive.