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.