Forza Horizon creative director and other Playground Games veterans leave Xbox and form a new studio: Maverick Games

For many, starting a new year implies new challenges. This is the case with some of the franchise’s key developers. Force Horizon of Xbox who have decided to leave Playground Games to form a new studio. The new developer will be called Maverick Games and will be based in the city of Leamington in the United Kingdom..

The study director will be Mike Brown, previously known for being the creative director of the series Force Horizon. He is joined by other Playground Game veterans such as Executive Producer Tom Butcher, Director of Content Gareth Harwood, Director of Audio Fraser Strachan and CTO Matt Craven. Another key figure is Harinder Sangha, award-winning leader for her work in the industry who helped build teams like SEGA’s Hardlight and Sumo Leamington and that he will take the position of COO of Maverick Games.

The report of GamesIndustry points out that the company currently has 10 employees but plans to grow to 140 to create a set of open world AAA for consoles and PC.

On his decision to form the studio, Mike Brown commented:

“[En 2021] we launch force horizon 5, which was fantastic to work on. Although it was great to be at Playground, I thought to myself, what’s next? Will I hold on to this fun and good job or will I look for other opportunities?”

“This opportunity presented itself. They asked me what my vision would be for a new studio… and I was lucky to have an idea in mind.”

The new head of Maverick Games also spoke of the studio’s vision in an interview with GamesIndustry. He assures that are looking for a studio where employees are encouraged to take risks and express their views.

“The games are made in a very determined way that brings with it real security. We know that if we do these things in a row, we’ll hit the dates and the game will be out. I think there are other ways that you can still make it to those dates, but also do a lot of new things along the way.”

The team that starts Maverick Games. (Image: GamesIndustry)

In part, this vision for the studio gives rise to the name. Maverick is a word that translates as “maverick” or “dissident”On the choice of the name of the study, Brown commented:

“It’s a word that would show up in my performance reviews. Not necessarily in a positive way. But I thought there was something really positive about that, actually. And when I’m talking about casting caution aside, encouraging people to take risks, challenging assumptions and not just doing something because we’ve always done it that way…that’s maverick. And that’s something we encourage our entire team to do. Don’t get locked in by rules that might not even be real.”

Regarding the formation of the study, the new COO of the company commented:

“I wasn’t thinking of leaving Sumo. I’m actually very happy with what we achieved in Leamington. But then I met this guy [Mike Brown] and everything changed. She worries about all the things I can’t bring to the table. I think that’s what makes this quite special, we both bring different things to the table.”

Harinder Sangha also talks that in her position she will seek to empower employees and put them in a environment where they are challenged and involved with everything that is going on, where they feel they have a voice and are valued to bring out the best in everyone.

Finally about the game they seek to develop, Mike Brown says he likes open world games more than open world games. driving Despite the fame of Playground Games in the genre: “our game will be open world, it will be AAA, it will be premium and it will have the ambition to go and win all the prizes”.