As we previously hinted in our extensive 2013 racing games preview, the rumour mill has been in full swing for a reboot of Project Gotham Racing since Activision pulled the plug on the late Bizarre Creations who previously handled the series.
Turns out that some of Bizarre's ex-employees have been a busy bunch as of late. Sources are now claiming that Project Gotham Racing 5 is currently in development by a company called Lucid Games, a new Liverpool-based studio made up of former Bizarre Creations and Criterion Games employees.
A new teaser website also seems to be pointing to a Project Gotham Racing revival, containing an image of a cordoned off London street with a teasing message that reads: "Road opens 2013." London has been a long-standing location throughout the series, tracing right back to its inception on Dreamcast in Metropolis Street Racer, so it seems perfectly plausible to presume it will be reprised. What is up for speculation, however, is the possibility of PGR5 being a next generation title.
With Microsoft pouring all their efforts into their flagship Forza franchise, we think it's about time a Project Gotham Racing title saw the light of day. Indeed, it would make sense to release PGR5 as an Xbox 720 launch title given that, traditionally, PGR has always been a launch title for the Xbox much in the same way that Ridge Racer has always been faithful to every PlayStation launch.
Don't think Sony will take this lying down, however. As we know, the PS4 is highly likely to be revealed during a special presentation this month, and rumour has it that Evolution Studios is hard at work preparing a top secret racing game of their own to launch on Sony's next console. Ironically, former Bizarre Creations staff also joined Evolution, including PGR's Lead Designer Ged Talbot, along with ex-employees of Sony Liverpool who were famed for the Wipeout series. It's not the first time an ex senior Bizarre Creations employee has joined a UK racing game studio, either – Blur's Design Manager Gareth Wilson is currently Sumo Digital's Chief Designer, who oversaw the development of Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed.
Evolution are best known for their acclaimed off-road MotorStorm series on PS3, but whether or not they will be continuing the series on PS4 remains to be seen. In the past, Evolution has tended to concentrate on one series throughout each console generation, with WRC on the PS2 and MotorStorm on the PS3, which leads me to wonder if they will continue the tradition and launch a completely new IP for the next generation.
Whatever happens, all is likely to be revealed on February 20th during Sony's revealing presentation, so we could well be watching the first footage of a next generation racing game in just a couple of weeks time. Exciting times!