Microsoft's Mysterious Initiative Studio Hires Crystal Dynamics, Bungie Alumni

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Microsoft has tapped top talent from Bungie and Crystal Dynamics to join its mysterious ‘AAAA’ studio, The Initiative.

Among the 16 new hires revealed on LinkedIn by studio head Darrell Gallagher, we can see that Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Marvel’s Avengers director Remi Lacoste has made the jump to The Initiative to work as an Experiental Director. Destiny 2 narrative lead Christine Thompson has also joined the studio in a lead writer position.

We’re yet to learn what the studio is working on, with our latest clue arriving from Xbox head Phil Spencer, who revealed The Initiative is “challenging themselves to do new things (and old things) in new ways,”, whatever that means.

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Microsoft revealed it had founded The Initiative in Santa Monica as part of its E3 2018 conference, where it announced a slew of acquisitions. The studio is being led by Darrell Gallagher, who previously worked at Rockstar Games, Crystal Dynamics and later Activision, overseeing the development of games like GTA IV, Tomb Raider and Destiny 2. At the time, Spencer touted Gallagher’s abilities, calling him a “visionary storyteller.”

According to Santa Monica job listings found on the Microsoft website later that year, the studio was calling for experience in “shipping high quality titles at AAAA standards” and a “knowledge and understanding of the process of building new IP.” The studio went on to hire God of War lead producer Brian Westergaard and Christian Cantamessa, who was the lead writer on Red Dead Redemption. The ‘AAAA’ studio then picked up Sunset Overdrive director Drew Murray.

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Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.



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