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Maverick Games’ Ambitious Vision for a Narrative-Led, Open-World Driving Game

29 May, 2024

Amazon Games is proud to announce a publishing agreement with Maverick Games to launch the exciting first game from this new studio filled with world-class industry talent. We sat down with Maverick Games’ studio head and creative director, Mike Brown, who shared his enthusiasm about Amazon Games’ belief in Maverick’s in-development project and the unique possibilities the partnership can enable.

“From the very first conversation I had with Amazon Games, I’ve been so impressed with the drive, the commitment, and the vision that they’ve presented every step of the way,” said Brown. “Amazon continues to inspire me and get me excited about where this relationship could go and what this partnership could lead to. It’s clear Amazon Games truly puts players first and takes a long-term view to publishing games that will enable us to deliver something players will truly love.”

Something Brown is particularly excited about is the array of opportunities that collaborating with Amazon Games can enable. “Amazon has such a broad array of businesses that enable the company to reach players in a way that really goes beyond what most publishers can offer, with services like Prime Gaming, Prime Video, AWS, Twitch, and Amazon Music to name just a few.”

Mike Brown, studio head and creative director at Maverick Games

Maverick Games: Custom-built to expand what a driving game can be

Brown, a long-term veteran of the Forza Horizon series while at Playground Games and the Creative Director behind the critically acclaimed Forza Horizon 5which boasts an aggregate score of 92 on Metacritic—is rightfully proud of his pedigree on the popular driving franchise. After overseeing several games in the series, he decided to embrace a new challenge: creating an entirely new AAA studio to produce an ambitious new IP that builds on the strengths of his previous experience and the insights he gained along the way to take the genre in new and compelling directions.

“I’ve been making racing games for nearly 20 years, and I know this community really well,” said Brown. “I think there are a lot of fantasies, desires, and motivations that this community has that we have a unique opportunity to deliver on.”

His team at Maverick—currently 62 strong and growing—includes a wide range of talented developers, some of whom are former colleagues from his time at Playground Games, and others who have worked on games like Sea of Thieves, Cyberpunk 2077, Call of Duty, and more. It’s a cross-section of talent and experience that will equip Maverick to deliver something truly unique while also steeped in the fundamentals of what players already love about the most popular driving games of today.

The exciting nature of Maverick’s first project has enticed many talented developers to join the team, and the studio is already a recipient of the coveted UK Best Places To Work award in 2023. “We talk about trust a lot and we are extremely transparent with our team,” says Brown of the culture his leadership team has instilled at Maverick. “Once you have trust, that allows you to build from there and bring in the other parts of our culture, such as unbridled creativity and empowering our staff to take risks.”

A different kind of driving game

While not ready to provide comprehensive details about Maverick’s upcoming game just yet, Brown was willing to shed a little light on his aspirations for this narrative-led, open-world driving game. The narrative element of Maverick Games’ current project is something that Brown suggests will add entirely new layers of appeal on top of what many driving game fans already love.

“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.”

To that end, Maverick Games has tapped the extraordinary talents of one Jamie Brittain to serve as the lead writer on this game. Brittain is most well known as the co-creator of the BAFTA award-winning British television drama Skins, and it’s his remarkable knack for creating compelling characters that brought him top of mind for Brown and the Maverick team.

“I really believe in the power of good characters,” continued Brown. “And I think the reason Skins became a cult-like sensation is because of those characters. It is through the power of those characters and the flaws and the interesting quirks they have that makes the show resonate so well with people. And that is Jamie’s superpower: it’s creating those characters that are flawed and actually a little bit weird - just like the rest of us - and through that we can empathize with them, we can fall in love with them.”