Former Forza Horizon executives launch ‘AAA’ firm Maverick Games
After quitting an industry heavyweight, another another group of video game professionals is launching a new firm. Maverick Games, a Leamington Spak, UK production firm focused to ‘AAA’ projects, has been founded by key executives from Forza Horizon developer Playground Games. According to Gamesindustry.biz, former Horizon creative director Mike Brown leads the company, which also includes executive producer Tom Butcher, technical leader Matt Craven, content director Gareth Harwood, and audio lead Fraser Strachan.
Ben Penrose, the 10-person team’s art director, most recently worked at Vampire the Masquerade: Blood Hunt developer Sharkmob but also has Playground experience. Elly Marshall, a former EA experience director, is in charge of experience and interface development. Harinder Sangha, a veteran of Sega and Sumo, is in charge of operations.
Maverick hasn’t revealed much about its debut project, although it will be an open-world game for consoles and PCs, according to the company. Brown believes the game will be a reaction to how people now occupy themselves – think subscription services like TikTok. Brown defines this as games that are always engaging without becoming repetitive.
Maverick, like previous launches, hopes to steer clear of’safe’ ventures. Brown tells GI.biz that he wants to promote “creative risks,” but he also wants to keep “toxic” egos out of the squad. Sangha expects that the firm will contribute to more diversity in the gaming industry. The goal here is to shake up the present formula, which, although dependable, does not allow for much variation.
Brown and Sangha both said that they parted ways with their respective previous workplaces amicably. They and Maverick, however, are part of a larger trend of high-profile game developers going independent after experiencing creative dissatisfaction (or just ennui) at big companies. Simply said, big-name businesses cannot expect their finest personnel to stay.