Playground Games Limited
IndustryVideo games
Founded2010; 13 years ago (2010)
  • Gavin Raeburn
  • Trevor Williams
  • Ralph Fulton
Number of locations
2 (2017)[1]
Key people
Number of employees
200+[1] (2017)
ParentXbox Game Studios (2018–present)

Playground Games Limited is a British video game developer based in Leamington Spa, England. It is known for developing the Forza Horizon series, which is part of the larger Forza franchise. In 2018, Playground Games became part of Microsoft Studios (now known as Xbox Game Studios).[2] They are also developing the next game in the Fable series.[3][4]


Playground Games was founded by Gavin Raeburn,[5] Trevor Williams[6] and Ralph Fulton; the studio was announced in November 2009, with its opening scheduled for early 2010.[7][8] Playground Games announced their first project, Forza Horizon, in 2012.[7] The title was developed in collaboration with Turn 10 Studios and published by Microsoft Studios for Xbox 360 in October that year. The studio released Forza Horizon 2 on Xbox 360 and Xbox One in September 2014, and Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One and Microsoft Windows in September 2016.[9]

In February 2014, Playground Games announced that they were forming a new development team focused on mobile games.[10] In February 2017, the studio detailed plans to open a second studio, focusing on a non-racing open-world video game project.[1] In November, they announced they had leased St. Albans House in Leamington Spa, which would provide the new studio with more than 17,000 square feet of office space.[11][12] Expected headcounts for both studios were in excess of 200 people.[13]

At E3 2018, Microsoft announced they had acquired Playground Games, which became part of Microsoft Studios (now known as Xbox Game Studios).[2][14][15] At the same time, Microsoft Studios also announced Forza Horizon 4, which would be released on 2 October 2018,[16] and that the studio was working on an unannounced AAA Open-World Action RPG project, later revealed to be in the Fable franchise.[3][4]

In January 2022, it was reported that co-founder and studio director Gavin Raeburn left Playground Games to open his own studio,[17] while GM Trevor Williams replaced him as studio head.[18]

Games developed

Year Title Platform(s)
2012 Forza Horizon Xbox 360
2014 Forza Horizon 2 Xbox 360, Xbox One
2016 Forza Horizon 3 Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
2018 Forza Horizon 4 Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
2021 Forza Horizon 5
TBA Fable Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X/S


  1. ^ a b c Batchelor, James (7 February 2017). "Playground Games opening second studio for open world game". Archived from the original on 21 September 2020. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b Field, Matthew (11 June 2018). "Microsoft buys UK game studio behind Forza Horizon". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b Gartenberg, Chaim (10 June 2018). "Microsoft announces Forza Horizon 4 for Xbox One and PC". The Verge. Archived from the original on 11 June 2018. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Playground Games Hiring For "Entirely New AAA Open World Action RPG"". 4 October 2019. Archived from the original on 17 August 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Introducing the 100 most influential people working in the British games industry - 2017". Archived from the original on 1 October 2020. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Trevor Williams quits Codemasters". Archived from the original on 21 June 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Playground confirmed as Forza Horizon developer". Archived from the original on 21 June 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  8. ^ TWK. "Fast Track". Fast Track. Archived from the original on 21 June 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  9. ^ E3 2016: Forza Horizon 3 Revealed, Release Date Announced - IGN, archived from the original on 11 August 2022, retrieved 7 October 2020
  10. ^ Chapple, Craig (20 February 2014). "Playground Games forms new mobile team". MCV.
  11. ^ "Major expansion at Leamington gaming company". AC Lloyd Asset Management. 9 August 2017. Archived from the original on 31 August 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  12. ^ Cleaver, Sean (22 November 2017). "Playground Games secure a new Leamington Spa office". MCV.
  13. ^ Batchelor, James (23 November 2017). "Playground Games hires GTA V, Metal Gear Solid and Hellblade devs for open-world action RPG". Archived from the original on 23 November 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  14. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (10 June 2018). "Microsoft buys Ninja Theory, Playground Games, more". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  15. ^ Grubb, Jeff (10 June 2018). "Microsoft Game Studios just added five new studios including Ninja Theory". Archived from the original on 10 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Forza Horizon 4 Announced". TrueAchievements. Archived from the original on 11 November 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  17. ^ Batchelor, James (27 March 2023). "New AAA studio Lighthouse Games formed by Playground co-founder Gavin Raeburn". Archived from the original on 27 March 2023. Retrieved 28 March 2023.
  18. ^ Corden, Jez (5 January 2022). "Playground Games' co-founder Trevor Williams is set to replace Gavin Raeburn as Studio Head". Windows Central. Archived from the original on 7 January 2022. Retrieved 7 January 2022.