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Video Game / Project Gotham Racing

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"Life starts at 170 mph."
Tagline of PGR3

Project Gotham Racing was a racing game series developed by Bizarre Creations. All games in the series were published by Microsoft. The series was a Spiritual Successor to the Sega Dreamcast game Metropolis Street Racer, also developed by Bizarre.

Unfortunately, the series would be abandoned due to Activision buying Bizarre Creations and eventually closing the developer shortly after releasing Blur. It was highly believed that Turn 10 Studios, creator of the Forza Motorsport series, has picked up PGR and a PGR5 might be in the works, but these rumors, unfortunately, have been long since debunked. The gap PGR left in the market is now filled by Playground Games'note  Forza Horizon series, which is also considered the spiritual successor to PGR (Forza Horizon 4 even has Edinburgh, complete with a recreation of one of PGR2's tracks in the game). Another spiritual successor was Driveclub, released in 2014 by Evolution Studios for the PlayStation 4.

Known for being the series that introduced the world to Geometry Wars, which is included from the second game onwards as an Easter Egg.

Despite the name, the game has no connection to Gotham City. Although, if it did, it would be awesome. In fact, the name of the series was originally its development codename, which became a Permanent Placeholder due to said codename being printed on the billboard prior to the game's true name reveal, and without any time left to reprint the correct one, Bizarre and Microsoft opted to use that namenote .

See also Battle Gear, the series' rough Japanese equivalent.

List of PGR games released:

  • Project Gotham Racing (2001, Xbox)
  • Project Gotham Racing 2 (2003, Xbox)
  • Project Gotham Racing 3 (2005, Xbox 360)
  • Project Gotham Racing Mobile (2007, Mobile)
  • Project Gotham Racing 4 (2007, Xbox 360)
  • Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition (2009, Zune HD)note 

Project Gotham Tropes:

  • All or Nothing: The Arcade challenges provide an example: either you achieve the objective and you gain Kudos (the higher the difficulty, the higher is the Kudos quantity received), or you go home with nothing.
  • All There in the Manual: The manuals for 3 and 4 are chock-full of info about the game, but the former is more comprehensive: it even goes as far to talk about the huge soundtrack, with even a few examples from each playlist.
  • Boom Town: Almost all scenarios are actual real life cities such as London, New York City, Las Vegas and Tokyo, to name a few. 4 adds in St. Petersburg, Quebec City, Shanghai and Macau.
  • Character Tiers: Invoked Trope. The series constantly divides cars into classes. Here are the car classes in 4, with a few examples:
  • Cool Bike: The fourth game adds several sportbikes such as Ducati 999 R, Suzuki Hayabusa and Yamaha R1. And they all can be pitted against cars too, like in Midnight Club.
  • Cool Car: The A car class breathes this trope. Nothing else than non-road-legal race cars and hypercars. If you ever race in this class, get ready to see a free-for-all brawl of badass race cars to see who's the best on the track.
  • Darker and Edgier: 3 has a much darker, more minimalist and more streamlined design than the first two installments. Also Blur has cars attacking others. Although in both cases the game itself really isn't all that dark. It's just a racing game. Even in Blur it's more silly and unrealistic. It could be said that the whole franchise was rather dark, as it was one of the first games to feature hardcore metal music, some of which was very dark.
  • Denser and Wackier: A rare case in which this is darker and edgier. Blur features competing cars actually trying to attack each other with some warp-type weapon. It makes the game somewhat Star Trek-like.
  • Developer's Foresight: When you listen to your music in 3, you can see the song title and the artist appearing in the game. The feature has been dropped in 4 for unknown reasons.
  • Disc-One Nuke: In 4, Quick Race mode and the Driving Test will give you all of the hundreds of cars in the game right off the bat, so you can test them all and find the ones that fit your style... And even test out the Ferrari F50 GT.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Invoked Trope - you are encouraged to do powerslides and grab air.
  • Driving Test: The Michelin Test track for trying out any car in PGR4. From the straightforward oval circuit to the Ultimate Test, the player can measure any of the cars and bikes in the game (in this mode, all of the vehicles in the game are available from the very beginning) in three tests: a time trial in any of the five layouts of the test track, a speed run in the oval circuit, and a solo drift contest.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: On normal and hard difficulty, beating the AI will be nearly impossible if you mess up too much in career mode.
  • Easter Egg: Geometry Wars originated as this in the second game.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: In 3, the McLaren F1 LM, the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR Supersport and the Panoz Esperante GTR-1 are this to the godlike Ferrari F50 GT.
  • Level Editor: 3 interpreted it in a different way: there is a special mode called "Route Creator" where the player is able to create his own circuit by putting checkpoints in the various roads in the 4 main scenarios of the game (London, Las Vegas, Tokyo, New York City).
  • Level Grinding:
    • 3 suffered from this. While Money Grinding wasn't a big deal at all (one can acquire the Ferrari F50 GT within a few hours of playing!), the real problem was Kudos grinding.
    • Fixed in 4. The championships in the Career mode can net you several thousands of Kudos, and in some cases, you earn enough Kudos to buy certain car packs containing a set amount of cars including the Ferrari FXX, Lamborghini Murcielago, and even a McLaren F1!
  • Lighter and Softer: 4 has a more colorful and poppy design than 3.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: There is a car in 3 and 4 called the Callaway Sledgehammer Twin Turbo. The thing is essentially a tuned fourth-gen Corvette: it is really, really fast, but has very touchy handling.
  • Nintendo Hard: Platinum difficulty. Oh god: in this difficulty setting, the AI will always be on the back of your neck, and the objectives in solo challenges require nigh-inhuman skills to beat. The latter example is much stronger in 3: in style challenges (where you have to gain a determined amount of Kudos with certain moves to win), in Gold difficulty you sometimes have to reach a few thousand Kudos, but not that much to be Nintendo Hard. In Platinum? You have to beat an objective which is from 3 to 10 times bigger than the Gold difficulty one!
  • Racing Game: Well, this is Project Gotham Racing, after all.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Almost every game in this series warned players that the depictions of the game is unrealistic despite the fact that each game showed semi-realism such as breaking for turns instead of speed-turns, etc.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.: You have to be nearly perfect to beat most of the AI in higher difficulty if you want to win the races.
  • Scenery Porn: The city buildings in PGR4 look absolutely stunning even by today's standards.
    • 3 and 4 both detain a Guinness World Record: "Most Complex Scenery in a Racing Game", with New York City. Just the Brooklyn Bridge ranks up at over a million polygons and an half.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: There is a pack in 4 which costs 1 million kudos, which turns out to be a gamer picture, and an achievement. It also counts as a Bragging Rights Reward.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Metropolis Street Racer, as noted above. As for PGR itself, the Forza Horizon series. Also, note the Stealth Pun in play. This series' predecessor was Metropolis Street Racer. This was Project Gotham Racing.
  • Turn of the Millennium: Including Metropolis Street Racer, the entire series was released during the 2000s decade, with the Zune HD-exclusive Ferrari Edition being released in late 2009 to cap off the series.
  • Variable Mix: The menu theme of 4, "Shadow" by The Prodigy, changes depending on which menu screen you're on.