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Playground Games hires GTA V, Metal Gear Solid and Hellblade devs for open-world action RPG

Forza Horizon developer also secures new 200-person studio, which will bring headcount up to 400

Key talent has been brought into the fold at Playground Games as the firm ramps up efforts on its first ever non-racing project. revealed the developer behind Forza Horizon was planning to open a second studio earlier this year, and that the new team will be working on a non-racing game - now described to us as an "open-world action RPG."

The newest addition to this project is Sean Eyestone, who takes on the role of production director and leaves his role as senior producer at Battlefront II developer EA DICE. Prior to this, he spent ten years working at Kojima Productions on various Metal Gear Solid games, including open-world entries Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes.

Previous new hires for the second team include chief designer Will Kennedy and principal combat designer Juan Fernandez di Simon. Kennedy joined in July after eight years at Rockstar North, working as level and game designer then senior online mission and flow designer on Grand Theft Auto V.

Meanwhile, di Simon joined in October after working as senior designer on Ninja Theory's Hellblade. Before this, he spent three years at Rime developer Tequila Works.

The hires coincide with news that Playground has now secured office space for its second studio within its hometown of Leamington Spa. The new premises were actually revealed by property advisor Bromwich Hardy via its blog.

Playground's second studio will be located at St Albans House and is 17,365 square feet. The company is planning a major refurbishment and will begin by occupying both the ground and first floor, with plans to move into the second floor by the end of 2018.

The office will be home to more than 200 employees, who will all work on Playground's open-world action RPG. Combined with the established Playground studio, this will bring the company's headcount up to more than 400.

"We're delighted that we've secured a second studio to house our new team," CEO Gavin Raeburn tells "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."

Playground Games was one of this year's winners in our inaugural Best Places To Work Awards. You can find out more about why it deserves this honour right here.

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James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at He has been a B2B journalist since 2006, and an author since he knew what one was