— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) January 28, 2020
Spencer tweeted on Tuesday that he had visited the team and that they were “challenging themselves to do new things (and old things 🙂 ) in new ways.”
So far, all Xbox has said officially about The Initiative’s first project is that it has a mandate to create “ambitious and innovative game experiences” for Xbox.
However, in an interview at E3 2018 following the studio’s announcement, Phil Spencer did suggest it could have been established to resurrect a legacy Xbox IP.
“When [studio head, Darrell Gallagher] left Activision we started to have a discussion about what he wanted to do next,” Spencer said at the time.
“I think he really loved his time with Crystal Dynamics working on Lara Croft and Tomb Raider, kind of re-working some of that franchise.
“We were talking about some things in our past that might be interesting… nothing to announce yet, but just some things that he might want to go work on.”
Xbox is currently in the middle of a significant expansion of its first-party games production and at least one franchise, RPG series Fable, is understood to be the subject of a revival at its Playground studio.
Given the huge amount of third-person action game experience among its team, it’s likely The Initiative is working within the same genre.
Both studio head Darrell Gallagher and game director Daniel Neuburger led the Tomb Raider series at Crystal Dynamic, while lead designer Drew Murray held the same role for Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive.
The Initiative has also hired a group of God of War designers and its director of production, Brian Westergaard, also worked on God of War as senior managing producer.
Late last year it made Apex Legends’ weapon designer the latest recruit to its growing development team.
Xbox has indicated that it will reveal The Initiative’s game project sometime in 2020.