Six Playground Games employees, including the creative director of 2021’s Forza Horizon 5, have left the studio to form their own.
This new studio is called Maverick Games and the team there is already working on a new “premium open-world game for consoles and PC,” according to a Eurogamer report. This studio is not connected to Microsoft’s Xbox umbrella of studios.
Forza Horizon 5’s creative director, Mike Brown, is leading Maverick and is joined by Playground’s former lead producer Tom Butcher, who is the new studio’s executive producer, former technical director Matt Craven, who is Maverick’s chief technical officer, and former technical art director Gareth Harwood, who is now content director. Harwood is joined in that position by Fraser Stachan, a former Playground audio director, and Ben Penrose, a former art director at Playground.
Eurogamer reports that Maverick has already secured “significant seed funding” and is now actively working on its new game, which will be the aforementioned open world game for consoles and PC.
“Our goal is for Maverick Games to be a studio people will love,” Brown writes in a press release, according to Eurogamer. “For players, we’re already at work on an exciting ultra-high quality title, and for developers, we’re building a home where everyone is encouraged to take risks, be curious, be creative, be innovative, be themselves, and above all – be a Maverick.”
Someone watched the latest Top Gun movie last summer.
Eurogamer‘s report seems to indicate this will not affect Playground Games’ in-development Fable title, which is being developed by a team separate from the Forza Horizon team within the studio.
This isn’t the first studio shakeup since it released Forza Horizon 5 in 2021. Last January, Playground studio director and co-founder Gavin Raeburn revealed he was leaving the company after 12 years.