One of Microsoft’s new studios, The Initiative, has been quietly hiring a group of developers who worked on the new God of War. The half-sequel, half-reboot of God of War has been one of the most successful PlayStation exclusives, both critically and commercially, this generation. Clearly, Microsoft is building a team that it hopes will compete for that title in the next generation of consoles.
God of War‘s lead level designer Chris O’Neill, and senior designers Ian Miller, Kai Zheng, and Ray Yeomans have all moved from Sony Santa Monica to The Initiative, where they also join Daniel Neuburger, game director of the Tomb Raider series; Tom Shepherd, technical director on GTA V and Red Dead Redemption 2; and three ex-Naughty Dog developers. You can see a full list of staff over on VGC, who trawled through LinkedIn to find out who was working at Microsoft’s new studio.
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In June 2018, Microsoft announced that it was opening a new studio in Santa Monica called The Initiative and it was going to be run by former Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallagher. While at Crystal Dynamics, he worked on the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot.
Looking across the known team, with so much experience in games like God of War, Uncharted, and Tomb Raider, it seems a likely bet the team is working on a third-person action game. Whether the team is working on a new IP or a reboot of Blinx: The Time Sweeper, we just don’t know. However, whatever exclusive The Initiative is working on, it’s clearly coming from a talented team.