Ex-Playground Games Devs Set Up New AAA Studio

Ex-Playground Games developers, including Forza Horizon creative director Mike Brown, have set up a brand new AAA studio with some ambitious goals.

Published: January 10, 2023 9:05 AM /


The logo for Maverick Games, the studio founded by ex-Playground developers

Several ex-Playground Games developers, including prominent figures who worked on the Forza Horizon series, have set up a brand new AAA studio. Maverick Games has ambitious plans to grow its ten-strong workforce exponentially, and it's already working on an open-world game of some kind.

The team will be led by Forza Horizon creative director Mike Brown, and will also include ex-Playground staffers like content director Gareth Harwood, CTO Matt Craven, and audio director Fraser Strachan. Also joining the team from elsewhere are ex-Sumo Digital Leamington co-studio head Harinder Sangha and UX director Elly Marshall, who previously worked for EA.

Brown says the goal for Maverick is to "be a studio people will love". He says he wants to create a home for developers and studio staff where they can "be curious, be creative, be innovative", and take risks in their creative process. According to a press release, Maverick has already secured "significant seed funding" and is currently hard at work on its first project.

Two cars racing on a rain-slicked road in Forza Horizon 5, some of the staff of which have founded Maverick Games
Maverick Games includes several staffers who worked prominently on Forza Horizon 5.

Not much is known about Maverick's game right now. We do know it'll be a "new, premium open-world game" that will be available for consoles and PC. Does Maverick perhaps intend to compete with Playground Games' upcoming Fable reboot, or is Forza Horizon the new studio's closest point of competition? We'll have to wait and see.

One notable absence from Maverick's roster is Playground co-founder Gavin Raeburn, who departed Playground in January last year. Raeburn's LinkedIn profile lists an "unannounced startup" as his next project, so we're assuming he'll remain in the realm of game development. Still, it appears this venture is separate to Maverick, so again, we'll have to wait and see what Raeburn has in store for us.

If you'd like to follow Maverick Games' progress, you can head to the new studio's official website, where you can also submit a resume if you want to apply to work there. You can also follow the official Maverick Games Twitter account to stay abreast of everything that goes on, including any potential game announcements. Stay tuned to TechRaptor for more on Maverick.

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Joe has been writing for TechRaptor for five years, and in those five years has learned a lot about the gaming industry and its foibles. He’s originally an… More about Joseph