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Forza Horizon 5 Creative Director and Key Developers Leave Studio to Form Maverick Games – A New AAA Company

Several veteran developers from the Forza Horizon studio, Playground Games, have left to form Maverick Games, a completely new AAA company. The creative director of Forza Horizon 5, and several other key developers at Playground Games, have left to start their own company. Maverick Games is a UK-based triple-A studio with “significant” seed funding, and is already working on its first game—a “premium open-world game” for consoles and PC.

The departures include former Forza Horizon 5 creative director Mike Brown, Playground’s lead producer Tom Butcher, technical director Matt Craven, technical art director Gareth Harwood, art director Ben Penrose, and audio director Fraser Stachan. This comes at a time when a team within the studio is focusing its efforts on a reboot of Fable, a project driven by a pure passion for the franchise.

The last couple of years have seen a notable number of big departures in the industry, with developers going on to set up their own studios. Striking Distance, the studio founded by Glen Schofield, released The Calisto Protocol last year, Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi has formed Nagoshi Studio under NetEase, and Hideo Kojima left Konami a few years ago and started Kojima Productions, which is working on Death Stranding 2 currently.

Maverick Games is an example of this trend, with its founders bringing their years of experience in AAA development to the table. With its “ultra-high quality” title in the works, it’ll be interesting to see what Maverick Games will bring to the table in the coming months and years.

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