Playground Games

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Playground Games Limited
IndustryVideo game industry
Founded2010; 9 years ago (2010)
  • Trevor Williams
  • Nick Wheelwright
Key people
  • Gavin Raeburn (CEO)
  • Trevor Williams (COO)
ProductsForza Horizon series
Number of employees
200+[1] (2017)
ParentXbox Game Studios (2018–present)

Playground Games Limited is a British video game developer and 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).


Playground Games was founded by Trevor Williams and Nick Wheelwright; the studio was announced in November 2009, with its opening scheduled for early 2010.[2] Prior to Playground Games, Williams had founded Swordfish Studios, which, after changing hands multiple times, was merged with Codemasters, the company Wheelwright was chief executive officer of.[2] In May 2010, Playground Games was accused of poaching employees from Codemasters, so to give itself a head start of one year on the development on their games.[3] Playground Games announced their first project, Forza Horizon, in 2012. 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.[citation needed]

In February 2014, Playground Games announced that they were forming a new development team focused on mobile games.[4] 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.[5] Expected headcounts for both studios were in excess of 200 people.[6]

At E3 2018, Microsoft announced they had acquired Playground Games, which became part of Microsoft Studios (now known as Xbox Game Studios).[7][8] At the same time, Microsoft Studios also announced Forza Horizon 4, which would be released on 2 October 2018, and that the studio was working on an unannounced project.[9]

Games developed[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b Bachelor, James (7 February 2017). "Playground Games opening second studio for open world game".
  2. ^ a b French, Michael (27 November 2009). "Williams and Wheelwright return with Playground Games". MCV.
  3. ^ Brice, Kath (10 May 2010). "Codemasters accuses former exec's studio of poaching staff".
  4. ^ Chapple, Craig (20 February 2014). "Playground Games forms new mobile team". MCV.
  5. ^ Cleaver, Sean (22 November 2017). "Playground Games secure a new Leamington Spa office". MCV.
  6. ^ Batchelor, James (23 November 2017). "Playground Games hires GTA V, Metal Gear Solid and Hellblade devs for open-world action RPG".
  7. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (10 June 2018). "Microsoft buys Ninja Theory, Playground Games, more". Eurogamer.
  8. ^ Grubb, Jeff (10 June 2018). "Microsoft Game Studios just added five new studios including Ninja Theory". Archived from the original on 10 June 2018.
  9. ^ Gartenberg, Chaim (10 June 2018). "Microsoft announces Forza Horizon 4 for Xbox One and PC". The Verge.

External links[edit]