According to studio head Darrell Gallagher, the team added 16 people on the roster. The Initiative added Remi Lacoste, an alumnus of Marvel’s Avengers studio Crystal Dynamics. They also included Christine Thompson, Destiny 2’s narrative lead.
In 2018, the Santa Monica-based studio came into light. The first reveal was on E3, and Microsoft assured them that they were working on “big things.” Since then, there’s not a ton of industry info on what they do.
The only public information about Microsoft’s AAAA studio is its talent acquisition. The team has silently headhunted across the industry. The people they get are from many other AAA teams, including Bungie, Naughty Dog, Respawn, and more.
Right now, Gallagher notes that Lacoste is now an “experiential director.” Thompson now has the title of lead writer, but nobody knows what game they’re working on. So far, the only vague clue came from Xbox President Phil Spencer early this year.
According to a tweet, Spencer updated with Gallagher and Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty. He noted that the team is an “incredibly talented studio challenging themselves to do new things (and old things 🙂 ) in new ways.”
Since then, there is no clear info on what the team is likely working on. Speculations initially ran rampant for the studio. Microsoft dubbing a studio “AAAA” means there are big expectations on their shoulders.
The Initiative is building on its pedigree to create a mysterious hype for its creation. Since nobody knows what they’re up to, it likely points out to a few choice projects. The team is either reviving old IPs or experimenting with new ones.
It’s hard to ignore how blockbuster their team became over the last few years. Apart from this year’s hires, the studio has more high-value members added the last few years.
Some of these hires include senior systems designer Justin Perez of Respawn Entertainment. There’s also senior gameplay engineer Francisco Aisa Garcia of Naughty Dog. With these top dogs in the team, the possible experience will be superb.
So far, the emphasis for much of the Xbox experience is on the Xbox Series X. Even then, Microsoft is trying to drive into a new philosophy of a multiplatform ecosystem.
Whatever The Initiative is doing, it will likely empower Microsoft’s new commitments. It’s only a matter of time until the public learns what this AAAA studio has in store.
Featured image courtesy of The Initiative/YouTube Screenshot
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