Playground Games make key hires for new open-world action/RPG project

Playground Games make key hires for new open-world action/RPG project
Sean Cleaver

By Sean Cleaver

November 23rd 2017 at 5:48PM

Ex-Rockstar, Konami and Ninja Theory devs join the team at its new offices increasing its headcount up to 400 people

Yesterday, we announced the news that Playground Games had secured a new office space in Leamington Spa. Located not far from its current offices, the expansion will house the development of its new open-world action/RPG project. Today we found out who is going to be occupying those offices.

According to a report from GI.biz, key new hires have joined the studio to work on the project, which job advertisements originally listed as an action/shooter. Sean Eyestone, who was most recently a senior producer for EA DICE, overseeing the development of Star Wars Battlefront II, is joining the studio as production director. Eyestone has previously worked for Kojima Productions at Konami, working on the Metal Gear Solid franchise.

Other hires include Will Kennedy, who was a level designer and senior and online mission and flow designer at Rockstar North for Grand Theft Auto V,  and ex-Ninja Theory senior designer Juan Fernandez di Simon.

Playground's new offices will house an additional 200 staff bringing the developer's headcount to over 400 people. In addition to developing the new project, the studio is reportedly working on further Forza Horizon titles for Microsoft, following the success of its most recent release, Forza Horizon 3. This will make the developer one of the largest independent triple-A developers in the UK.

"We're delighted that we've secured a second studio to house our new team," said Playground CEO Gavin Raeburn to GI.biz. "This is a hugely exciting project that is already attracting world-class talent to Playground. The combination of new blood and experienced Playground team members is already showing huge promise and I'm excited to see this talented group contribute to Playground's continued success."

Speaking with Develop earlier this year, creative director Ralph Fulton also talked about the expansion plans for the developer “That has become, that’s gone from something we’ve talked about and aspire to something that we’re actually doing.," Fulton explained. "We’re hiring for and have hired for a brand new team here in Leamington, a triple-A team, it’ll easily be 100 plus people and we’re super, super excited about that.

"I think in all honesty it’ll be a good time before we start talking about what that project is. But I love the fact that we had our most successful year ever last year, critically and commercially and we’re in a position hopefully to build on that, to diversify and to build another great team here in the UK.”