Several developers from Forza Horizon developer Playground Games have left Microsoft, and have formed a new studio called Maverick Games. According to Eurogamer, 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.
The studio is already working on its first game thanks to it having secured “significant” seed funding, a new “premium open-world game” for consoles and PC.
“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 developer said in a statement.
The departure of several key staff members from Playground Games comes at a time when a team within the studio is focusing its efforts on a reboot of Fable, a project that Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty says is driven by pure passion for the franchise.
“They had a particular passion for the IP, and they also demonstrated that they understand what the heart and soul of Fable is about, and how they can bring it forward for today’s sensibilities,” Booty said in an interview last year. “Some of the things that I’ve seen are so encouraging. They’ve got a great technology base and they’ve just got such a demonstrated commitment to crafting quality.”
The last couple of years have seen a notable number of big departures in the industry, with these 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 most famously of all, Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima left Konami a few years ago and started Kojima Productions, which is working on Death Stranding 2 currently.