Lighthouse Games is the new studio from Forza Horizon’s co-creator

Thomas Harrison-Lord
The new Warwickshire AAA game studio has become the second to be founded by former Playground Games and Forza Horizon developers this year.
Lighthouse Games is the new studio from Forza Horizon's co-creator

A new video game studio has been formed, combining many racing title industry veterans and led by the co-creator of Forza Horizon and the co-founder of the series’ developer, Playground Games.

Gavin Raeburn departed the Leamington Spa-based studio in January 2022, known for creating all five Forza Horizon games, which was sold to Microsoft in 2018.

It was then noted that several notable racing game developers had left their existing roles, and started working in roles at an ‘Unannounced Startup’ earlier this month.

Gavin Raeburn, Lighthouse Games 02
Gavin Raeburn co-founded Playground Games in 2009 to create the Forza Horizon series

Today, 27th March 2023, Lighthouse Games has publically announced its name and its early team members.

“It’s a momentous day today as we reveal Lighthouse Games, a new development studio” said the company.

“Founded by Gavin Raeburn, we already have a team of world-class developers at work on an unannounced new IP, and we’re actively recruiting across all disciplines.”

Raeburn will act as Head of Studio and has been joined, so far, by former Formula 1 game handling designer David Greco, former Sumo Digital vehicle artist Jen Tse and a host of Playground Games’ Forza Horizon team.

David Greco - the F1 game’s handling lead departs for unannounced gaming project
David Greco worked on the F1 games for nine years

These include Vehicle Dynamics Director Marco Conti, Ben Thaker-Fell as Principal Game Designer (who worked on the Horizon series for over 12 years), Andrew Ward, Jon Davis-Hunt, Tom Perry, Samuel Pay and Ryan Vardy – all previously contributed to Microsoft’s open-world driving titles.

Pete Ridgway does not join as technical Art Director from Playground Games, but instead from Swedish mobile game experts King, however, has prior experience at racing game creators Codemasters. Matthew Banks joins directly from Electronic Arts/Codemasters.

“Using our knowledge and expertise we will create a new, genre-defining franchise,” reads its website.

“We’re delighted that 30 colleagues and industry heavyweights have chosen to join Lighthouse already,” explained a public LinkedIn post.

“People should be looking at Lighthouse expecting that we will be producing something highly polished and technologically ambitious. That’s exactly our ambition, and the heritage of our team makes that possible.”

Lighthouse Games logo 2023

The new business is, perhaps unsurprisingly, headquartered in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, and follows the news that other former Playground Games members and Forza Horizon developers have also started a new studio – Maverick Games.

Neither Lighthouse Games nor Maverick Games has formally announced the genre of game they are working on, although clearly, both have teams filled with racing game experts.

All three studios – Playground Games, Lighthouse Games and Maverick Games – are undergoing active recruitment drives at present. What we hope for is three excellent video games from three different teams, and we’ll see these come to fruition over the coming years.

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