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Playground Games co-founder departs

Tenure spanned 12 years, five Forzas, but no Fable.

Playground Games co-founder and studio director Gavin Raeburn has left the company after 12 years.

Microsoft shared the news in a brief statement today, first reported by Windows Central. It’s unclear where Raeburn is headed next.

Raeburn leaves a company he co-founded back in 2009 and helped grow into one of Microsoft’s most important studios – home to the hugely-successful Forza Horizon series and, at some point, the next iteration of Fable.

A veteran of the video games industry, Raeburn served 24 years at Codemasters, beginning in the age of the Commodore 64. It was there he worked on Dirt, Grid and F1, before co-founding Playground.

At Playground, Raeburn and his co-founders Trevor Williams and Ralph Fulton grew the Forza Horizon offshoot into Xbox’s biggest and best racing franchise. Its success has eclipsed that of the original Forza Motorsport, and helped win Playground the job of rebooting Fable.

But while Forza Horizon 5, released to acclaim last year, is off to another flying start, Fable is still nowhere to be seen.

Originally announced via teaser trailer back in July 2020, no new details on the Fable reboot have been released since.

“After 12 years working on five award-winning Forza Horizon games, Gavin Raeburn is leaving Playground Games as studio director,” Alan Hartman, Microsoft CVP of Forza and Fable, stated today.

“A founding member of Playground Games, we thank Gav for his leadership and contributions to the Forza franchise and wish him all the best. Co-founder Trevor Williams will transition from general manager to studio head effective immediately, as the Playground Games team focuses on updates to Forza Horizon 5 and the development of Fable.”

Back in 2020, Microsoft described its plans for a Fable reboot as “a new beginning” for the fantasy franchise. Eurogamer first heard word of Playground’s involvement with a new Fable back in 2018, years before it was made official.

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