Playground Games Co-Founder Leaves Studio After 12 Years

Gavin Raeburn, co-founder of Forza Horizon studio Playground Games, is stepping down from the studio after 12 years

Published: January 5, 2022 9:44 AM /


A car drives off into the sunset in Forza Horizon 5, which Gavin Raeburn oversaw with Playground Games

Gavin Raeburn, head of Forza Horizon and Fable studio Playground Games, is departing the company after co-founding it 12 years ago. Fellow co-founder Trevor Williams is to take over as studio head immediately and will oversee continuing development on both Forza Horizon 5 and Fable going forward.

Why is Gavin Raeburn leaving Playground Games?

Raeburn's departure was announced by Fable and Forza vice president Alan Hartman. In his message, Hartman thanks Raeburn for his years of service and confirms that Williams will take over Raeburn's role, with development continuing on the new Fable title and future Forza Horizon 5 content. Hartman doesn't give any kind of reason for Raeburn's departure, nor does he say what Raeburn will do next. He hasn't yet updated his LinkedIn page to reflect the change, so it looks like we'll have to wait and see what Raeburn's next move will be.

A fairy inspects a flower in Playground Games' Fable, which was being overseen by Gavin Raeburn
In addition to Forza Horizon 5, Gavin Raeburn was also overseeing development on the new Playground Games Fable title.

Raeburn has a long and storied history as a game industry veteran. He got his start in the 1980s, working on titles like Terminator and Rallycross Simulator (the latter of which would dictate where he ended up later in his career). He went on to do design work for the TOCA Race Driver, DiRT, and GRID franchises, founding Playground Games in 2010. Playground's first title was Forza Horizon, a decidedly more arcade-style take on the Forza series of racing sims. The Horizon series has gone on to enjoy more success than the mainline franchise, with the fifth instalment, Forza Horizon 5, launching in 2021 to critical acclaim (not least from us). Wherever he goes next, Raeburn leaves an impressive legacy behind.

What's next for Playground Games?

Don't worry if you're excited for new Fable content or more Forza Horizon 5. Hartman has confirmed that both franchises will continue under Playground Games, and work on Fable and Forza will be overseen by new solo studio head Trevor Williams, who originally co-founded Playground with Raeburn in 2010. We'll have to wait and see what comes of that, but work is continuing on both games, so although Raeburn's departure will be sad for many Playground employees, it shouldn't impact development schedules.

Cars racing off-road in Playground Games' Forza Horizon 5
Development on Forza Horizon 5 will continue, even without Gavin Raeburn's input.

While we wait to find out what Gavin Raeburn's next move will be, you can download Forza Horizon 5 right now on Xbox consoles and PC. The game is also available via Xbox Game Pass, so if you're a subscriber, you can download it right now on either of those platforms. Sadly, we don't have any news regarding the new Fable game yet, but we'll bring that to you as soon as we get it.

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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