One of Microsoft’s newest internal development studios, The Initiative, continues to add to its already impressive lineup of talent. The company recently hired former Naughty Dog developer Robert Ryan as a senior systems designer for the studio’s new, unannounced game.
Ryan worked at Naughty Dog from 2011 through 2017 where he was a game designer for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, The Last of Us, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and the upcoming The Last of Us: Part II. He moved to EA’s Motive Studios where he worked on an unannounced title before coming to The Initiative.
WindowsCentral first reported Ryan’s move to The Initiative, working off changes made to his public LinkedIn profile.
Ryan joins a team at The Initiative that is already stacked with talent. God of War veteran Brian Westergaard is the director of production, Drew Murray (Sunset Overdrive, Resistance 3) is a lead designer, William Archbell (343 Industries) is the technical director, and Blake Fischer (Xbox) is director of world and narrative. Daniel Neuburger, who worked on Rise of the Tomb Raider, is The Initiative’s game director. The Initiative also hired Rockstar Games veteran Tom Shepherd, while among the other high-profile hirings include Red Dead Redemption 1 writer/designer Christian Cantamessa.
The studio aims to stay «small,» but the company’s ambition is to «push boundaries,» «challenge convention,» and take risks as they make something «spectacular and unique.»
The Initiative is just one of seven studios that Microsoft either set up or acquired in the past year. At E3 2018, Microsoft announced that it acquired Playground Games (Forza Horizon), Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), Ninja Theory (Hellblade), and Undead Labs (State of Decay). At Microsoft’s X018 event in Mexico City, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas) and inXile Entertainment (Wasteland 3).
The acquisition of these studios and the formation of The Initiative came after Microsoft was criticized for not having enough exclusive content.