There have been plenty of high-profile staff departures in the racing game industry lately.
Last year, five key developers left Criterion Games, the creator of Burnout Paradise and more recently Burnout Paradise, to pursue new opportunities outside of EA.
Then Forza Horizon 5’s creative director Mike Brown founded Maverick Games to work on a new unannounced open-world game. And now another former Playground Games developer has formed a new AAA studio to work on a new “genre-defining franchise.”
Playground Games co-founder announces Lighthouse Games
Back in 2010, Gavin Raeburn founded Playground Games, the Leamington Spa-based studio behind the Forza Horizon franchise, alongside Trevor Williams and Ralph Fulton.
Raeburn then left Playground Games in January 2022 along with other Forza Horizon veterans. Today, Raeburn has announced his new triple-A startup studio: Lighthouse Games.
Raeburn is leading a “veteran team” of 30 staff made up of "key founding members of Playground Games’ original team" and industry veterans to build a "new best-in-class game." Like Playground Games, Lighthouse Games' studio is based in Leamington Spa.
Lighthouse Games working on new “genre-defining franchise”
“I’m delighted that 30 former colleagues and other industry heavyweights have chosen to join me at Lighthouse,” said Raeburn.
With Horizon, Playground and I created one of the most successful Xbox franchises of all time. We delivered significant commercial success year after year, to massive critical acclaim, following the success from my time at Codemasters leading Dirt, Grid and F1."
"That DNA is now at Lighthouse, and with it, we intend to build something truly special using all our experience to create a new genre-defining franchise.”
That new genre-defining franchise remains a mystery for now, but we’re hoping Raeburn and his team at Lighthouse can reinvigorate the racing genre with a new original IP – just as he did ten years ago with the original Forza Horizon.
It will also be interesting to see how these staff departures affect the future creative direction of Forza Horizon at Playground Games.
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