Perfect Dark (Xbox Series): cascading departures from The Initiative studio

With its veterans from big studios (Insomniac, Santa Monica, Ubisoft, Crystal Dynamics, Naughty Dogs) The Initiative was to be the new 5 star studio of Microsoft Gaming. The announcement of a Perfect Dark AAAA for the Xbox Series itself seemed tailored to the ambitions set by Microsoft.

Perfect Dark

Unfortunately, the reality seems to be quite far from this near-ideal picture. The announcement several months ago of technical support for Crystal Dynamics already indicated that all was not rosy internally. How could a studio made up of such sizes need the help of a third-party studio, a non-Microsoft studio at that? The departures of the design director Drew Murray (returned to Insomniac, his home studio) and more recently director Daniel Neuberger (Rise of the Tomb Raider) could legitimately cause concern.

Demo UE5 Xbox Series X

VGC confirms that these departures of “stars” are only the tip of the iceberg: 34 collaborators of The Initiative (including the two mentioned above) would have in fact left the studio for a year, and there would now only remain 50 people in office, which seems a priori very (too?) little to develop an AAA exclusive to the Xbox Series. From then on, emergency support from Crystal Dynamics almost makes sense.

Asked about the reasons for their departure, several ex-employees of The Initiative explain that the management of the project by Darrell Gallagher and Daniral Neuberger did not leave them enough initiative (hum…), an “old-fashioned” way of working. which would de facto place employees in the role of simple executors. On the side of the management of The Initiative (i.e. Darrell Gallagher), it is retorted that the turnover is not a rarity in the JV sector and that the project remains on track. Perfect Dark on Xbox Series in… 2025 (at least…)?

Leave a Comment