Ex-Forza Horizon developers launch new studio Maverick Games

by Danny Craig  · 
Updated
Ex-Forza Horizon developers launch new studio Maverick Games
Microsoft

Several former Playground Games developers have formed a brand new Leamington Spa-based AAA studio under the name Maverick Games.

The details:

  • A group of gaming industry veterans have broken away to create an all-new studio called Maverick Games. Former Sumo Leamington Co-Studio Head Harinder Sangha is among its founding team as COO.
  • Out of the studio’s small team, a sizeable portion are former employees of Playground Games, the developers behind the Forza Horizon franchise. Former Creative Director Mike Brown resumes the same role with Maverick, with CTO Matt Craven, executive producer Tom Butcher, audio director Fraser Strachan, art director Benjamin Penrose, and content director Gareth Harwood all having been previously employed by Playground Games at some point in their careers. According to the company, the team aims to grow to 140 employees in the future.
  • According to Brown, Maverick is already at work on a new "premium" open-world game, but little to no information has been provided on the title just yet. "It will have the ambition to go on and win all the awards," Brown added in a bullish interview with gamesindustry.biz.
  • Sangha’s goal on the managerial side is to create a diverse and modern studio, something she was trying to achieve at Sumo Leamington. "My aspirations still stand... 50/50," she told gamesindustry.biz before going on to say, "We almost got there with Sumo Leamington, but not quite. But, actually, sometimes people have to see it to believe it. They have to see that they have a place here. "The fact that they can see it already, right from day one, hopefully makes us a more attractive place to start with."
  • Those who are interested in working with the new team can find their available vacancies here.

What are Playground Games working on?

  • Despite some of its veteran staff departing, it continues to work on the upcoming Fable reboot that was announced in July 2020. The game will reportedly be built using the studio’s proprietary engine, despite false rumors that the game’s development had switched to Unreal Engine due to the latest build being deemed "unplayable”.
  • The studio also has a second team dedicated to working on the Forza Horizon franchise. It’s unknown if they’re working on Forza Horizon 6 as of yet, but we do know they’re developing a second expansion for 2019’s Forza Horizon 5. The new expansion is aiming for an early 2023 release date, according to game designer Torben Ellert.