Microsoft’s new first-party studio isn’t messing about with hires

Microsoft’s Santa Monica-based studio the Initiative, announced at this year’s E3, has seen a wave of new, high profile hires according to boss Darrell Gallagher – with names coming in having the likes of Rockstar, Sony, and Crystal Dynamics on their CVs.

In a fine example of the internet being the internet, Gallagher’s original post concerning the hires was pulled down – but not before it was captured by an intrepid user on the ResetEra forums, who handily posted it up:

screengrab via ResetEra/CrimsonEclipse

screengrab via ResetEra/CrimsonEclipse

As well as the individuals named in the original link confirming they’d been hired by the Initiative, we also have a nice roundabout confirmation from Gallagher himself, whose Twitter now includes a link to this story, which is based on his posting of the information which was then taken down. Still with us?

Gallagher posts story, screenshots are grabbed, story is removed, screenshots are posted, news stories are written, Gallagher posts link to news story about his story which was removed. It’s pretty straightforward.

Anyway, the new hires are made up roundly of high profile positions from big budget projects, featuring the likes of the God of War reboot’s lead producer, Brian Westergaard (confirmation here), Dan Neuburger, former game director at Crystal Dynamics (confirmation here), and Shadow of Mordor lead writer and Red Dead Redemption lead designer/writer Christian Cantamessa (confirmation here).

Non-development hires come from high profile backgrounds too, with the likes of Lindsey McQueeny joining as HR and culture manager after spells at Crystal Dynamics and Google, and Annie Lohr coming aboard as recruiter following her time with Riot and Respawn.

Finally there’s Blake Fischer, who had been working at Microsoft as senior director of portfolio planning for almost 17 years before making the switch. His new role is as-yet undefined.

The Initiative continues its hiring, and is already showing the ambition Microsoft has for it isn’t just bluster.

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