Former Uncharted, Last of Us game designer joins Xbox Game Studios' The Initiative

CurryPanda

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Recently, Darrell Gallagher, Studio Head of The Initiative, announced that acclaimed developers like Brian Westergaard, Annie Lohr, Blake Fischer, Christian Cantamessa, and Lindsey McQueeney were now a part of the team. Microsoft founded The Initiative last year so that it could build quality Microsoft exclusives like God of War or Uncharted. It seems like the company has the developers to do just that because these individuals have worked on such games before.

Today, news surfaced that another former Naughty Dog developer had joined The Initiative. Robert Ryan is now the Senior Systems Designer at Microsoft's studio, but he previously worked on games like Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us: Part II. We verified this information through LinkedInafter the post by Twitter user "Klobrille."

Another great talent for XGS. Former Naughty Dog and The Motive Game Designer Robert Ryan joined The Initiative as a Senior Systems Designer. pic.twitter.com/jInUrqcR8C
— Klobrille (@klobrille) May 10, 2019
It's great to see that the team is hiring incredibly experienced people. Hopefully we'll get a glimpse of what they're working on at E3 2019. However, given the fact that it takes years to make games, that may not happen. Right now, The Initiative wants to stay small so that it can experiment with a variety of different games.

Apart from that, the team also looks wants to manage expectations because recently Gallagher said that he wants The Initiative "staying small" and "staying agile."Microsoft's first-party lineup has been heavily criticized this generation, so the studio has quite the task ahead of it.
 
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CurryPanda

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Other people that have joined The Initiative:

Brian Westergaard - Lead Producer/Senior Producer on ROTR and Senior Managing Producer on God of War

Christian Cantamessa - Leader Writer and Designer on Red Dead Redemption

Tom Shepherd - Technical director at Rockstar games (RDR GTA)

Chris O'Neill - Senior level designer at Santa Monica and Kojima Production

Drew Murray - Lead designer at Insomniac games

Daniel Neuburger - Game director at Crystal Dynamics for 12 years.
 

Abriael_GN

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Not to diminish the work done by Mr. Ryan, but he wasn't in a lead role on any game at Naughty Dog, where he worked for 6 years, which is a relatively short time.

As a matter of fact, he has been in a senior role only for 2 years at motive and not at ND, so he isn't exactly a superstar. Again, with all due respect, I'm sure he's a very capable professional, but not someone whose employment status I'd consider really newsworthy,

Naughty Dog has literally hundreds of developers of a comparable level, and they come and go. So turning this into some sort of big deal appears to be little more than a clickbait headline turning a molehill into a mountain (and I'm not surprised that it comes from a platform-specific website dedicated to hyping that platform up).

I'd understand if he was at least a lead, but game designers join and leave companies pretty much on a daily basis, so I have to question the value of this news as anything more than basic cheerleading.
 
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Wimbledon

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I hope they show at least a teaser of the concept there making. Like a tech demo of sorts or CGI trailer.

I'm sure the game is a couple years out though, when was this team made, anyway?

EDIT: never mind just went to there site i don't expect anything from E3 from them.
 
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Dabaus

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Isn’t the initiative still relatively small? Like 30 or less people small? New IP take a good 4-5 years with to make with 100 people or more teams. Look at days gone as an example. and we still don’t know much longer next gen games will take to make.
My point being while it’s good ms studios are staffing up but if you think these guys are going to be the next naughty dog or rockstar games you have no idea how much time goes into making a new aaa ip. And in my opinion time isn’t something Xbox has a a lot, at least from consumer perspective.
 
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Baron Samedi

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Not to diminish the work done by Mr. Ryan, but he wasn't in a lead role on any game at Naughty Dog, where he worked for 6 years, which is a relatively short time.

As a matter of fact, he has been in a senior role only for 2 years at motive and not at ND, so he isn't exactly a superstar. Again, with all due respect, I'm sure he's a very capable professional, but not someone whose employment status I'd consider really newsworthy,

Naughty Dog has literally hundreds of developers of a comparable level, and they come and go. So turning this into some sort of big deal appears to be little more than a clickbait headline turning a molehill into a mountain (and I'm not surprised that it comes from a platform-specific website dedicated to hyping that platform up).

I'd understand if he was at least a lead, but game designers join and leave companies pretty much on a daily basis, so I have to question the value of this news as anything more than basic cheerleading.
If You want to hate on a company, go ahead, who gives a fuck... but why would You belittle someone who has actually accomplished what very few can in a very competitive industry? You can drop " Not to diminish" and "with all due respect" all You want You're essentially sniffing at what someone has worked hard to accomplish, which is just petty.
 
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Naughty Dog has literally hundreds of developers of a comparable level, and they come and go. So turning this into some sort of big deal appears to be little more than a clickbait headline turning a molehill into a mountain (and I'm not surprised that it comes from a platform-specific website dedicated to hyping that platform up).
I think you worry too much about the details, these are mostly PR move made by MS to boost the hype - what they need to prove is if they can bring a team under their governance to build 9 to 9.5/10 games (you may personally prefer other games, but these are cream of the crop, critics as well as gamer generally see them as such) on a regular basis.

Their current model works well for iterative games that are light on story or actual differences (Forza/horizon has been doing great for a long time), but it seems that MS will either not give enough time and/or creative freedom to their teams to allow them to deliver amazing platform defining products, like Sony and Nintendo are doing.
 

FF:Enhanced_Reality

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And people wonder why PlayStation owners are wondering what's going on. An awful lot of former PlayStation development staff have joined this studio. With Microsoft snapping up development studios, I hope they aren't poaching staff. I can't see them being that petty, but seriously they're just opening the cheque book and saying 'go on, make your dream project.' Great news for gamers that Microsoft will be looking to be a major playing in the market and showing dedication but you can't help but feel as though Sony are under-estimating what Microsoft hope to accomplish to become market leader again. Phil really isn't taking any prisoners and if it is true that Microsoft have another 3 development studios coming at E3, I'd be wondering what their grand plan is for E3 and the future of their console.
 
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theHFIC

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hopefully they are all working on different projects so that it isn't just one title with a "too many cooks" situation. Looking forward to seeing whatever they put out on PC.

The name has got to go though. "The Initiative" tries to come off as some high tech secret skunkworks operation, but it sort of falls flat and sounds more like they want to give people initiative to want to own an Xbox which doesn't sound good for the brand overall.
 

rəddəM

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Joined when? Now?
Makes sense, with TLoU2 pretty much done it's only right for the devs to take a leave to make some extra M$ money.
They sure have the money and sure need the talent.
 

DForce

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Not to diminish the work done by Mr. Ryan, but he wasn't in a lead role on any game at Naughty Dog, where he worked for 6 years, which is a relatively short time.

As a matter of fact, he has been in a senior role only for 2 years at motive and not at ND, so he isn't exactly a superstar. Again, with all due respect, I'm sure he's a very capable professional, but not someone whose employment status I'd consider really newsworthy,

Naughty Dog has literally hundreds of developers of a comparable level, and they come and go. So turning this into some sort of big deal appears to be little more than a clickbait headline turning a molehill into a mountain (and I'm not surprised that it comes from a platform-specific website dedicated to hyping that platform up).

I'd understand if he was at least a lead, but game designers join and leave companies pretty much on a daily basis, so I have to question the value of this news as anything more than basic cheerleading.

I just find it funny that people call Sony games overrated and over hyped, but get excited when MS signs someone who has worked on Sony exclusives.
 
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Sycomunkee

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You can smell the butt hurt in here. This is positive for MS, anyone with a Playstation and a gaming PC should be happy about this. The love has been spread and now we have the potential for more good games instead of the staff infection that Steam has become.
 

Journey

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Yep, it looks good! Only if Microsoft had done this earlier during the 360 days. Oh well.

It takes time to do. PlayStation was nothing more than a 3rd party machine until PS2. Not only is Sony a generation ahead of the game, but the key successful entry (PS2) became the sole console for a long time after Sega bowed out and Nintendo wasn't entering until 2001. It's equivalent to just acquiring all the good cards in monopoly after players drop out.
 
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Elenchus

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This has to be the most hyped new studio ever.
Nah. Not really. Announcing new hires is what most large companies do. We do it here as well.

What’s done with the announcement on Twitter or GAF is another matter but they can’t control that.
 
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A bit of nonsense to follow every dev that is going to work for a studio, as if this is not normally at daily bases. Are we going to make a thread for every dev now?

I mean...we can make one for him:
But nobody cares.
It's because Initiative actually grabbed some senior staffs from SSM, Rockstar, Crystal Dynamics and Insomniac. Playground Games also made headlines when they did that for their second studio, infact they are hiring at a faster rate than Initiative. Microsoft is not just acquiring studios, they are also expanding them.

 
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Bogroll

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A bit of nonsense to follow every dev that is going to work for a studio, as if this is not normally at daily bases. Are we going to make a thread for every dev now?

I mean...we can make one for him:
But nobody cares.
No they don't, not for EA
 

Pallas

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Good to see The Initiative picking up talented developers and continues to grow into a potential grand studio.

I also like seeing some posters trying to downplay this or even belittle it as if it’s not worth anything.
 
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Snake29

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Good to see The Initiative picking up talented developers and continues to grow into a potential grand studio.

I also like seeing some posters trying to downplay this or even belittle it as if it’s not worth anything.
Because it is not worth to mention. I mean we've seen these threads for months now as if other studio's not hire people? I always found it weird that people get hyped about some dev (as if they know the person) joins another studio. Pick some random studio or a big Sony studio and check what all those individuals have done before. A lot of them have done work for other major studio's or have been working on big AAA games.

So only senior staff's are worth to mention, but not he actual developers on the floor? Then Neogaf or Reset are going to be filled with this kind of threads. People already have far too high expectations for this studio and that's not too good. Or they must love to disappoint themselves.
 
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A.Romero

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Fuck yeah. I'm really looking forward to find out what they are working on.

Sounds like a dream team.

The only other "dream team" I can remember is the one behind Chrono Trigger and they produced something amazing.
 

Stuart360

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And they can’t wait to wipe the salt off your dollars and toss it in the vault with the other trillion. 🤫
It does make me chuckle when you see all the 'great, i'll buy it on PC' posts, like they are smugly getting one over Microsoft by buying on PC. Yes i'm sure Microsoft are releasing their games on PC, but secretly hoping no one buys them. Likewise i'm sure all those PC gamers are desperately waiting for a reason to go buy an Xbox.
Think guys, think.
 
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Snake29

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You’ve played EA games, right? There is a reason why nobody cares about this.
It's not like people knew about this individual from ND before, same as other individual devs from other studio's. It's like you are saying all Sea of Thieves and Crackdown individual devs are shit because the games did not live up to expectations...

I bet you still playing EA games, so what's your point?
 
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