Xbox has not only purchased a lot of studios in the past few years, but it has also founded one.
The Initiative is a first-party Xbox studio based in Santa Monica, California and is made up of gaming veterans from across the industry.
It has since been revealed that the first game being worked on by The Initiative is a reboot of Perfect Dark. Here are some reasons why The Initiative is the perfect studio to bring Perfect Dark to a new generation.
Importance to Xbox
When you look at the list of first party games that Xbox has released in the past few years, there aren’t many outstanding titles coming straight out of Xbox Game Studios. Of course Xbox owns a lot of studios – for example, they had Moon Studios put out Ori and the Will of the Wisps – but what they lack is a single-player story that can rival those that Sony has been pushing out for the past 10 years.
Now that Xbox is being led by Phil Spencer, and has a mission to bring great games to Xbox platforms, they are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. Creating a first-party studio from the ground up and pairing it with a franchise that people love, but haven’t seen in a long time, is the perfect opportunity to get the ball rolling and make a statement with an exclusive single-player game.
One big aspect that will help The Initiative is the amount of money Xbox is putting into this project. Xbox relies too much on their classic franchises like Halo, Gears of War, and Forza to carry their brand every generation.
Series like Halo and Gears of War aren’t at the level of brand strength that they were during the Xbox 360 generation, and Forza is not a franchise that can rally a large number of players. With the return of Perfect Dark, Xbox is investing in a reboot of a property that could set the standard for single-player games on their systems, with potential to have it stem into sequels for the Series X and future consoles.
Having Perfect Dark be their next big foray into single-player games is a major risk that can pay off in major rewards, if it is treated the right way. Creating The Initiative and funding this game so it can reach the level at which Xbox wants it to be are great steps to creating an incredible future for not only Perfect Dark, but all single-player games on Xbox platforms.
Brand New Culture
One of the benefits of The Initiative being a brand new studio is having the sense of a new beginning.
It is a fresh start for everybody on the team, in a new environment that can inspire them to create better and greater games. While some members of the team have worked together in the past, they are all now able to come together, bring in everyone’s expertise, and put it towards a franchise that they have never worked on before. This will enable them to bring fresh ideas to the franchise, take a look at what worked for Perfect Dark in the past, and make it even better for this new title.
When it comes to creating a brand new studio, I would assume a difficult part of the process is deciding what style of game they are going to make. There is a lot of pressure on creating a new IP that can deliver a great experience to the players. Having The Initiative already be assigned an IP that has a history in games and novels, and which has already established the characters and the worlds that they will be using, is thus a wise decision.
When it came to creating a brand new studio, Xbox did not mess around in bringing in industry veterans that are at the top of their game. The Initiative is composed of people from incredible companies like BioWare, Naughty Dog, Insomniac Games, Rockstar Games, and so many more.
First and foremost, the studio is being led by Darrell Gallagher. Gallagher was previously the studio head of Crystal Dynamics, overseeing work on the first two games in the latest Tomb Raider trilogy, which began in 2013. He then went on to become the Senior VP and Head of Development at Activision. While there, Gallagher managed development on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, Destiny 2, and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Put simply, Gallagher knows how a game should be made and will make sure the finished product is something worthy of pride.
Another veteran joining the team is Christian Cantamessa, who was a lead writer and designer for Red Dead Redemption. Praised for its incredible story, world building, and character development, Red Dead Redemption is one of the best games to come out in the past 20 years. Having Cantamessa on this team suggests that Perfect Dark will receive the same treatment as Red Dead Redemption – an exciting prospect to be sure.
One last name that you should know is Brian Westergaard, the lead producer of 2018’s God of War. Those familiar with the game know that it is as close to a masterpiece as one can get. Taking Kratos and giving him a new purpose proved a breath of fresh air for brand new players to the God of War franchise as well as those who have been playing these games since the beginning.
The team assembled at The Initiative should be able to bring together their talents and influences, putting it towards Perfect Dark and giving Xbox gamers something truly enticing. Perfect Dark could be the start of a new age of AAA single-player games for Xbox, and this is a great team to lead those efforts.