PlayGround Games is developing the next instalment of Microsoft's racing series with founding developer Turn 10, with a release planned for autumn 2012.
Forza Horizon was revealed through a teaser trailer at Microsoft's Spring Showcase in San Francisco last week that emphasised an open road cutting through desert scrub and partying people, though no other details are yet clear to confirm rumours from last spring that it's to be an open-world racer.
The Leamington Spa-based studio was founded by ex-Codemasters developers who have worked on the Colin McRae, Dirt, Grid and Toca series and is led by Gavin Raeburn.
"We were looking for a partner who wanted to push our vision of pushing car lovers to games and gamers to cars, and when I say partner, I mean partner," Turn 10 creative director Dan Greenawalt told us. "We wanted to embrace this vision but for them to come up with their own way of executing it so we can expand the house, not just duplicate them."
PlayGround Games has been heavily staffing up over the past year, taking on many experienced racing developers from the closures of Bizarre Creations, Black Rock and cutbacks at Slightly Mad.
"It's a tale of triumph and tragedy at the same time," Greenawalt said. "It was able to grow because of some of the declines in the racing development community in the UK in particular. I'm asked often whether racing is coming under decline – honestly, if you look at Need For Speed or Gran Turismo racing's obviously not in decline. There is innovation, there are great products, they're selling. But across the industry there's a lot of this – the big franchises are getting bigger and the mid tiers are having trouble and the studios are cutting back.
"What was exciting for is is that PlayGround Games have this tremendous heritage, but they were also able to staff up with great talent."