Former ‘Forza Horizon’ Staff Form New AAA Studio Maverick Games


ForzaHorizon 5 has proven to be possibly one of the best racing games of the last decade, and many of its developers chose to leave at a high point, with half a dozen of its core team members choosing to leave Playground Games in search of an all-new challenge to start her own studio. If their combined experience matters, it could be one of the most promising developers to emerge in the last five years.

Maverick Games was announced today and is led by Mike Brown, former creative director at Playground Games. He will be joined by Chief Operating Officer Harinder Sangha, former co-studio head of Sumo Digital Leamington, as well as a handful of top talent from around the world Forza Horizon series who are now working on a new premium open world game for PC and consoles.

Playground Games’ Brown is joined by:

  • executive producer Tom Butcher (producer on Forza Horizon 2-5as well as F1 racing stars with Codemasters);
  • Chief Technology Officer Matt Craven (Programmer with 12 years experience at Playground and 10 years at Codemasters);
  • content director Gareth Harwood (ten years as a technical artist at Playground and three years at FreeStyleGames);
  • audio director Fraser Strachan (Audio Designer for Forza Horizon 2-5); and
  • Artistic Director Ben Penrose (by Sharkmob London, with Playground Games for nine years

Joining the Playground veterans is Elly Marshall, who completes the executive team as UX/UI Director after a long career at EA, Sega Europe and Slightly Mad Studios.

Maverick Games strengthens Leamington Spa’s impressive game development scene, which alongside Playground and Sumo also serves as a base for Kwalee, Ubisoft, Mediatonic and a host of indie developers, and challenges Guildford as one of the best places for game developers to work in Great Britain. This latest addition to the lineup has secured an unspecified amount of seed funding to get its first project off the ground and recruit new staff in everything from graduate to senior positions.

In the spirit of several new studios emerging in 2022 – including Sprocket Games, Lost Lake and Gardens – Maverick is also committed to prioritizing creativity, innovation and the well-being of developers in an environment “that supports talented individuals , inspires, and empowers to create.”

Brown said, “Our goal is for Maverick Games to become a studio that people will love. For gamers we are already working on an exciting title of the highest quality, and for developers we are building a home where everyone is encouraged to take risks, be curious, create, innovate, be yourself and above all – be a maverick.”

While nothing has been revealed about Maverick Games’ upcoming game – although you’d be foolish not to bet it’s going to be a propulsive title – you can keep up to date with the company on its website, as well as on its Twitter and Instagram accounts .