Gavin Raeburn, the studio director and co-founder of Forza studio Playground Games, is leaving the studio after 12 years. Raeburn has been at the helm of Playground Games for the release of every Forza Horizon game to date.
Microsoft and Playground Games made the announcement and shared the following message with Windows Central.
“After 12 years working on five award-winning Forza Horizon games, Gavin Raeburn is leaving Playground Games as Studio Director. A founding member of Playground Games, we thank Gav for his leadership and contributions to the Forza franchise and wish him all the best. Co-founder Trevor Williams will transition from General Manager to Studio Head effective immediately, as the Playground Games team focuses on updates to Forza Horizon 5 and the development of Fable.”
Forza Horizon has become one of Microsoft’s tentpole franchises since it started in 2012. Forza Horizon 5, which launched at the end of last year, received incredible reviews from critics and praise from fans. It instantly became the most popular Forza Horizon game ever and even one of Xbox’s most popular games. During the game’s first week, it set records for the most played game in the history of Xbox. Over 10 million gamers played Forza Horizon 5 during its first week, which was the most of any game in Xbox history.
Gavin Raeburn is an industry veteran who began working on the Commodore 64 in the 80s. From 1987 to 2009, he worked for Codemasters, the studio best known in the 21st century for its racing games such as the Formula 1 and Dirt Rally franchises. Raeburn took that racing game experience with him to co-found Playground Games, which was purchased by Microsoft in 2018. Playground Games has only worked on the Forza Horizon franchise since it was founded. However, the studio is currently working on the next installment of the Fable franchise, which will utilize the Forza Horizon engine, ForzaTech.