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Amazon Games Maverick Games partnership

Amazon Games Partners With Former Forza Horizon Devs For Story-Focused Open-World Driving Game

by Marcus Stewart on May 29, 2024 at 08:00 AM

Amazon Games has announced a publishing agreement with Maverick Games, a young studio formed in 2022 by former Forza Horizon developers. The developer’s first project will be a story-focused, open-world driving game.

Maverick Games is based in Warwick, UK, and was founded by six former leaders from Playground Games. Its roster includes studio head and creative director Mike Brown, former creative director of the Forza Horizon series, executive producer Tom Butcher, chief technical officer Matt Craven, and content director Gareth Harwood. It also includes former Playground audio director and art director Fraser Stachan and Ben Penrose, respectively.

Maverick Games staff

The studio announced in January 2023 that its first title would be a “premium open-world game for consoles and PC.” A press release includes an interview with Mike Brown, who provides hints of what Maverick’s game has in store, which appears to emphasize storytelling and character development more than you'd expect for a driving game. 

“Lots of great driving games have amazing gameplay, amazing content,” said Brown. “But to really cross that bridge, to become a game that people genuinely love, then there needs to be that human connection where you’re actually rooting for these characters, falling in love with these characters. That, I think, is a place where our game will be able to really differentiate itself from the other titles in the genre. There’s nothing about this genre that prevents it from having amazing characters and amazing stories – it’s just not really been explored yet.”

The press release also announces the hiring of Jamie Brittain, co-creator of the award-winning British TV drama Skins, as the game’s lead writer. Brown explains his belief in the power of good characters and cites Skins as an example of showcasing interesting, flawed characters to garner its cult-like following. 

Maverick Games’ project joins Amazon’s growing portfolio of games, which includes Crystal Dynamics’ upcoming Tomb Raider title, an MMO based on The Lord of the Rings by New World developer Amazon Games Orange County, along with its existing titles Lost Ark and New Word.