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Xbox Game Studios 'The Initiative' talks 'staying small, staying agile'

The Initiative E3 2018
The Initiative E3 2018 (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has spent the past year scaling The Initiative, its newest game development studio based in Santa Monica, California. Amid a wave of studio acquisitions under the newly-rebranded Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft is doubling down on its investments for new titles under the Xbox family. Headed by former Crystal Dynamics lead, Darrell Gallagher, The Initiative assembles a wide variety of top industry talent.

A fresh teaser video has now dropped for The Initiative, discussing the Santa Monica team's future ambitions. And while yet to address its upcoming projects, Microsoft is pushing the core team personalities and underlying philosophies.

The Xbox One's first-party games lineup has faced heavy criticism in recent years, failing to establish the console has a leading platform for in-house titles. Early Microsoft career listings pitched The Initiative as a "AAAA" studio from Microsoft, expected to elevate the publisher's games portfolio. Similar themes remain today, with key studio figures framing its upcoming plans as "new and innovative," and "spectacular and unique."

However, The Initiative also looks to set expectations going forward, claiming "staying small, and staying agile, will actually be our strength." Followed by words from Gallagher, the studio lead states "the bar is high" and "the challenge for us is making sure we deliver on those expectations." It indicates The Initiative is starting small for its early projects, leveraging a tight team focused on innovation – not scale.

The Initiative has picked up promising talent since early 2018, onboarding Xbox veterans, alongside former members of Sony, Activision, Treyarch, Respawn Entertainment, and Riot Games. Hopefully, we'll hear more on the studio's work in the months ahead, with E3 2019 fast approaching.

Everything Microsoft's Xbox Game Studios is working on right now

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

3 Comments
  • Tbh that sound like experimental indie games. They can be awesome but I hoped for some new AAA franchises.
  • This studio have been called for the news media as the first AAAA studio but still nobody knows in what kind of project their are working.
  • I'm a bit surprise by this. I was expecting something major from them after the whole "AAAA" label. Also how there were so many articles about how they were getting talents from so many different studios...
    I hope they really provide new and innovative games. I hope they are given their time to produce what they want to make and not rushed into releasing games quickly...