It's been revealed that Playground Games, the Leamington Spa-based developer responsible for the acclaimed Forza Horizon series, is opening a second development studio to work on a new project. However, that project won't be a new racing game, but it will be set in an open world.
Opening another studio is something we've been talking about for a good few years, but we've been keen not to rush into it," Playground' founder Ralph Fulton told GamesIndustry.biz. "It's a great opportunity for us to test ourselves in a different genre."
Playground Games was first founded in 2010 by a team of racing game developers from the likes of Codemasters, Bizarre Creations and Criterion Games. So far, the studio has released three successful Forza Horizon games, so it will be interesting to see how the team's talent will be applied to a different genre. Fulton confirmed that the studio is looking to hire a broad range of new team members.
"We feel like we've become pretty good at racing games over the years. We can always get better, 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 Games currently has 115 employees, though there is room for an additional 30 when development of the Forza Horizon games becomes more intense. The new building will allow the team to expand to around 200 members.
Don't think that Playground Games will stray from racing games, however. Forza Horizon 3 was a huge critical and commercial success, so a sequel seems inevitable.
"Our business with Forza over the last six, seven years has been great for us," said Fulton. "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."