Playground Games co-founder & studio head Gavin Raeburn resigns

A leadership shuffle at the Forza Horizon 5 developer will see Raeburn leave the company as fellow founder Trevor Williams takes over as studio head.

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In 2009, Gavin Raeburn, Ralph Fulton, and Trevor Williams formed the Playground Games studio. They have since become one the foremost developers in racing games under the Microsoft Studios brand with the Forza Horizon series under their belts and the recent launch of the much applauded Forza Horizon 5. It would seem, however, that Raeburn is set to move onto greener pastures. It was recently announced that Gavin Raeburn will be resigning from his position as studio head of Playground Games with fellow co-founder Trevor Williams taking over the role and direction of the studio.

Gavin Raeburn’s resignation was announced on January 5, 2022, alongside a statement provided to Windows Central. The decision seems to have been a mutual agreement on the part of both parties.

Gavin Raeburn oversaw the launch of Forza Horizon 5 and the ongoing work on a Fable reboot. fellow co-founder Trevor Williams will take up his duties going forward.
Gavin Raeburn oversaw the launch of Forza Horizon 5 and the ongoing work on a Fable reboot. fellow co-founder Trevor Williams will take up his duties going forward.

Gavin Raeburn’s career has been long and rather illustrious. He cut his teeth on Commodore 64 games like The Equalizer and eventually came to work at fellow master racing sim developers Codemasters where he had a hand in franchises like DiRT, TOCA Championship, and GRID. He left Codemasters to help form Playground Games which worked extensively on the Forza Horizon series. The studio was eventually officially acquired by Microsoft Studios in 2018, becoming part of its extensive collection of developers. The studio put out the impeccable Forza Horizon 5 in 2021, garnering all kinds of accolades and awards, but it was also put to work on the reboot of the Fable series. Trevor Williams will pick up the reigns on both of these franchises and the ongoing projects associated with them.

With Raeburn exiting Playground Games, there’s no telling where he’ll end up, if anywhere. Nonetheless, his contributions to both Playground and the industry at large can’t be denied. Here’s hoping it’s not the last we see of him, and that Playground has what it needs to keep things moving successfully forward for both Forza Horizon and Fable. Stay tuned for more details and updates here at Shacknews.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 5, 2022 7:55 AM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, Playground Games co-founder & studio head Gavin Raeburn resigns

    • P90 legacy 10 years
      reply
      January 5, 2022 6:25 PM

      "impeccable Forza Horizon 5" What a joke. Instead of praising every developer so you get early review copies of games maybe you all should do some actual journalism and report on the multitude of issues the game has had since launch.

      • reply
        January 5, 2022 6:59 PM

        lol what?

      • reply
        January 5, 2022 8:15 PM

        It has a 92% on metacritic. I bought it day 1 and didn't have any problems. Not saying you haven't, but I wasn't aware some perceived the game as troubled or anything.

        • P90 legacy 10 years
          reply
          January 5, 2022 9:07 PM

          I also bought it day one and have played it almost every day since early access. Look at the FH forums, look at Reddit, look at the laundry list of known issues. I'm not saying it's a bad game, but referring to it as "impeccable" and all the other heaps of praise that are piled on it by game journalists is insane.

          It's way beyond some perceived troubles. It's something that I'd be ashamed to release if I were one of the developers.

          Graphics problems, audio issues, connection issues, crashing issues. No AI traffic on the roads five weeks after release. Accolades not working, weekly challenges not working, very few to no other online players showing up on the map. I could go on.

          They are fixing problems but in the state it was at launch it is not deserving of Game of The Year awards from places like IGN.

          I'm frustrated that this is what we accept as great games nowadays, where they're released in a late beta stage to the world and players are expected to QA test them and put up with the issues until they're finally in a complete working state months after release. It's shameful.

    • reply
      January 5, 2022 6:51 PM

      Create a successful racing series five games deep, sell to Microsoft and retire. That's the dream!

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