Microsoft revving up new Project Gotham Racing?

Publisher said to be seeking an independent European studio to craft new installment in highly regarded Xbox-exclusive street racing franchise.

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Source: UK industry news site Develop.

What we heard: Bizarre Creations very nearly had Project Gotham Racing 4 out the door in 2007 when Activision announced its acquisition of the British studio. Since then, Microsoft's highly acclaimed Xbox-exclusive street racer has lain dormant, with Bizarre going on to create the Blur franchise for Activision, as well as assuming development duties on this week's James Bond 007: Blood Stone.

However, if a Develop report is to be believed, Microsoft may soon be parking the next PGR in a new developer's garage. According to the UK-based industry news site, Microsoft is currently shopping the PGR series around to "several European independent studios," with the goal of releasing a new installment on the Xbox 360.

Project Gotham Racing will apparently live beyond Bizarre Creations.
Project Gotham Racing will apparently live beyond Bizarre Creations.

Specific studios were not named as part of Develop's report. However, the fact that Microsoft is looking to have the game created at an independent studio in Europe seems to rule out the publisher's own suburban Seattle-based Turn 10 studio, which creates the Forza series.

Though both Forza and PGR feature licensed cars from manufacturers throughout the world, they have different racing environments. Whereas Forza focuses on more track-based races, the Bizarre Creations-led racer emphasizes urban environments, with examples from PGR4 including Tokyo, Shanghai, and New York City.

The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation."--A Microsoft representative.

Bogus or not bogus?: Looking not bogus. PGR is one of Microsoft's most highly rated, system-exclusive franchises, and it makes sense that the multimillion-unit series will eventually make its comeback.

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