Forza Horizon 5 Expansion Cars Rainstorm
Image via Xbox Game Studios

Six former members of Playground Games, the developer behind the acclaimed Forza Horizon series, have departed from the company and established a new studio. This studio goes by the name Maverick Games, and it has Forza Horizon 5 Creative Director Mike Brown taking the reins. The former Forza developers have already begun work on a “premium open-world game” within their newly formed studio.

Many of these former Playground employees have assumed new roles within Maverick Games. For example, Tom Butcher now works as Maverick Games’ executive producer after serving as a lead producer under Playground. Additionally, former Playground technical director Matt Craven now has a chief technical officer role at Maverick, and former Playground technical art director Gareth Harwood currently serves as Maverick’s content director. On the other hand, Fraser Strachan and Ben Penrose, who worked at Playground as an audio director and art director respectively, will keep their previous roles under Maverick.

Striving for ambition

Based near Playground Games at Leamington Spa in the UK, Maverick Games has already received “significant seed funding,” allowing the studio to jump right into developing its ambitious first project. According to Brown, Maverick Games aims to become a beloved studio that will not shy away from taking risks, pushing for innovation, and injecting authenticity into its work. The announcement of this new studio comes as a team within Playground Games works to bring the Fable franchise back in style with its upcoming entry.

Of course, we do not know anything about this mysterious open-world game at this early stage. Given the developers’ previous history with the Forza franchise, it may seem safe to assume for many that the studio has its own take on the open-world driving genre in development. However, it could just as easily be another type of open-world game.

Forza Studio Open-World Horizon 5 Race Night

Image via Xbox Game Studios

Daniel Pinheiro
Daniel is a games journalist who is deeply passionate about the medium and the impact it can have on our lives. He is open to all kinds of genres, but has a particular affinity for platformers and beat 'em ups. He also helped back the Kickstarter for The Wonderful 101: Remastered.

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