Former Forza Horizon leads form new studio, Maverick Games

The newly formed United Kingdom-based studio already has plans for its debut title.
forza horizon maverick games studio

Former Forza Horizon leads, who played key roles at Xbox developer Playground Games, have officially departed to form their own triple-A ‘forward-looking’ studio, known as Maverick Games. The United Kingdom-based team, which includes Forza Horizon creative director Mike Brown as studio head, has reportedly secured major seed funding and is already working on its debut title.

While details of this project and its genre are unknown, it’s described as a ‘new, premium open world game for consoles and PC’.

Joining Brown on the founding development team is Harinder Sangha as COO (previously of Sumo Digital Leamington), Ben Penrose (formerly of Sharkmob London), Elly Marshall (formerly of EA), and former Playground Games developers Tom Butcher (Executive Producer), Matt Craven (CTO), Gareth Harwood (Content Director) and Fraser Strachan (Audio Director).

Read: The Art of Forza Horizon 5’s Audio Design, with Fraser Strachan

‘Our goal is for Maverick Games to be a studio people will love,’ Mike Brown said of the new studio’s establishment. ‘For players, we’re already at work on an exciting ultra-high quality title, and for developers, we’re building a home where everyone is encouraged to take risks, be curious, be creative, be innovative, be themselves, and above all – be a Maverick.’

The studio is currently in the process of recruiting new staff, with the goal of working with ‘motivated and talented teammates’ to ‘stretch … creative limits’ as they begin work on their debut title.

Despite the sparsity of the game announcement, there are reasons to be excited about Maverick and its plans. Forza Horizon 5, the most recent project from members of the studio, is a highly-acclaimed racing adventure boasting compelling open-world exploration, sweeping vistas, and brilliant audio design.

Given core members of the Maverick team were responsible for many of these features – which earned the game a five-star review at GamesHub – it’s clear the studio’s mystery AAA project will be founded on impressive talent, care, and attention.

Stay tuned for the latest developments from this emerging studio.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.