Perfect Dark game director leaves Xbox's The Initiative studio

Perfect Dark Dec 2020 Concept Art
Perfect Dark Dec 2020 Concept Art (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • The Initiative is a brand-new studio under the Xbox Game Studios umbrella, currently working on a reboot of Perfect Dark.
  • It was recently discovered that Dan Neuburger may have left his position as Perfect Dark game director in February.
  • A member of The Initiative's team for nearly four years, Neuburger's reasons for departing are unclear at the moment.
  • The Initiative and partner Crystal Dynamics are continuing to work on Perfect Dark, which purportedly may arrive as early as 2023.

The Initiative is a member of the expansive Xbox Game Studios family, established by a team of industry veterans to bring to life new gaming experiences. The studio is currently working on a reboot of first-person shooter Perfect Dark in collaboration with Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics. The game has been in active development for years, but it was recently brought to light that the project has lost its game director.

Revealed by Neuburger's LinkedIn profile (thanks, VGC), this would be the second high profile departure from The Initiative in recent memory, after the design director for Perfect Dark left in Feb. 2021.

Neuburger was the game director for nearly four years before leaving in Feb. 2022, and before that was game director at Crystal Dynamics, which is now partnered with The Initiative. The reasons for Neuburger's departure aren't clear, but it appears he's seeking out new opportunities elsewhere as a game director. It's also not clear if The Initiative is looking for a replacement or has already found one, but the studio's available positions don't list a game director.

The Initiative is still comprised of many talented individuals working on Perfect Dark, which has been in active development for several years now. There's reason to believe that Perfect Dark is nearing the final stages of development between The Initiative and Crystal Dynamics, and could release as soon as 2023 or 2024. We may hear more about the project later this year alongside upcoming Xbox titles like Starfield and Redfall.

Not a lot is currently known about the Perfect Dark reboot, but we know it'll release as an Xbox console exclusive, and will launch into Xbox Game Pass on day one. If The Initiative and Crystal Dynamics are able to revive and modernize what made the original Perfect Dark so special, they could have one of the best Xbox games on their hands.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.