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Playground co-founder Raeburn opens new studio Lighthouse Games

Playground co-founder Raeburn opens new studio Lighthouse Games

The co-founder of Forza Horizon developer Playground Games, Gavin Raeburn, is heading up a brand new studio called Lighthouse Games.

As reported by, the venture is now 30 people strong and is currently at work on a brand new IP. There are few details available about this project, but Raeburn insists that it is "triple-A through-and-through".

Due to the stormy macroeconomic situation, Lighthouse isn't seeking funding from financial institutions but rather is hoping to secure cash from a publisher with whom it can have a long-term relationship.

"We wanted to work with a publisher who… is not just looking for a quick return, but one that provides both security for our team and expresses the same passion as us for creating the biggest and best games, and who understands what it takes to bring our game to a global audience," Raeburn said.

He goes on to say that he is seasoned at launching studios during financial turmoil. Playground, after all, was founded in 2010, right in the aftermath of the 2008 crash.

"2010 was not the best year to be starting a new studio, that's for sure," Raeburn continued.

"The 2008 financial crash and the then-booming expansion of mobile gaming led to publishers retrenching and finance all but drying up for console, AAA and so on. We saw many incredibly talented UK studios go out of business that year. It was a tough time to land a deal as a new startup, but those that survived against the odds really did set themselves up well for future success.

"I learned a lot about building teams and running a successful business during those lean years, and although we've seen a lot of money pour into our industry in the form of acquisitions and new startups, I think the fundamentals for long-term success remain. No studio sets out to fail, and no team sets out to make an underperforming game. They all start high on optimism, but making games is hard. Building studios is hard. You can have all the money in the world, but you've still got to deliver results, and having the knowledge of how to build successful studios during some of the toughest times in our industry is, I think, invaluable."

Raeburn left Playground at the start of 2022.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.