Microsoft is making some big hires for its new studio, The Initiative. Studio boss Darrell Gallagher, who came to Microsoft from Square Enix and Activision, announced a series of big-name hires on his LinkedIn page recently, and they include one of the key creative leads on Rockstar’s 2010 acclaimed western Red Dead Redemption.
Though the page has since been deleted, the internet never forgets. The website RemotePlay saw the page and reports that among the new hires is Christian Cantamessa, who was the lead writer and designer for Red Dead Redemption.
One of the other new hires include Brian Westergaard, who was the lead producer on Sony’s God of War. Other new employees include Dan Neuburger (a 12-year veteran of Crystal Dynamics), Blake Fischer (a 16-year Microsoft veteran in publishing), Annie Lohr (formerly a recruiter at Respawn and Snapchat), and Annie Lohr (former recruiter at Google, Crystal Dynamics, and 38 Studios).
The Initiative was announced at E3 as part of Microsoft’s wider announcement of new studios and acquisitions. The company, which is based in Santa Monica, says its ambition is “about craft, creating story, innovating, and looking ahead to the next big thing.” While the company is owned by Microsoft, it claims to operate independently.
The studio currently has two open positions on its career page, including Art Director and Technical Director. There is no word on what The Initiative is actually working on or when it’ll be released, but Microsoft previously said the studio is making “groundbreaking” games.
In addition to establishing The Initiative, Microsoft announced at E3 that it acquired Playground Games (Forza Horizon), Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), Ninja Theory (Hellblade), and Undead Labs (State of Decay).