New Xbox studio said to be working on Perfect Dark hires PlayStation and Infinity Ward talent
From studios including Naughty Dog, Santa Monica and Insomniac
Xbox studio The Initiative is continuing to staff up with talent from leading studios as work progresses on its debut project, which is reportedly set in the Perfect Dark universe.
Established in 2018, The Initiative is led by former Crystal Dynamics studio head and Activision development boss Darrell Gallagher.
Other notable figures on its experienced team include game director Daniel Neuburger, who held the same role on the Tomb Raider series, and lead designer Drew Murray, who held the same position on Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive.
Over the past few months the Santa Monica, California-based outfit has grown its team with the following talent from studios including Naughty Dog, Infinity Ward, Santa Monica Studio and Blizzard:
- Giovanni Martinez, senior environment artist since September following 4.5 years as environment artist at Insomniac
- Hawar Doghramachi, senior graphics engineer since October, having most recently spent almost four years as a graphics programmer at Naughty Dog
- Jaime Molina, environment artist since August, following over two years in the same role at Infinity Ward
- Jolyon Myers, principal world builder since October, having previously spent over a decade at Infinity Ward as expert designer
- Joseph Than, a producer who has just joined following almost three years as a producer at Blizzard
- Lauren Manuel Garcia Carro, senior shader tech artist since October, having most recently spent three years as a character shading TD at Naughty Dog
- Lee Davis, lead gameplay animator since October following over a decade as an animator at Naughty Dog
- Maxwell Morrison, QA lead since August who is the owner of his own QA consulting firm and has held roles at Id Software, Riot and Gearbox
- Nigel Loster, gameplay designer since October who previously held the same role for five years at The Coalition
- Pasquale Scionti, senior environment/lighting artist since August who has freelanced for Epic Games and has extensive Unreal Engine experience
- Sarah Swenson, environment artist since October, having held the same role at Santa Monica Studio and before that at Naughty Dog
- Stephen Clayburn, principal lead online services engineer since September, having spent over three years in engineering roles at Blizzard
- Victor Chavez, senior animator, who most recently spent over four years as an animator at Amazon Game Studios
While its debut project remains unannounced, The Initiative is reportedly working on a third-person game set in the Perfect Dark universe. If true, it would mark the Rare franchise’s first instalment since 2005’s Perfect Dark Zero, which was an Xbox 360 launch title.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has previously suggested that the studio could be working on a legacy IP, long speculated to be Rare’s spy shooter – which would match the “weapons, gadgets, and a camera surveillance system” gameplay listed in a designer’s CV earlier this year.