The Initiative is working on something, and since there are some big names in the team, their game might be outstanding, too.
Christian Cantamessa (the writer and designer of Red Dead Redemption), Brian Westergaard (the producer of God of War), Drew Murray (Sunset Overdrive, Resistance 3), and many veteran employees who formerly worked at Respawn, BioWare, and Naughty Dog – this list doesn’t sound shabby, and the studio is led by Darrell Gallagher, who formerly had executive positions at both Square Enix and Activision.
Murray revealed on Twitter that the team isn’t lazy: they are doing something that might even be in a playable state: „Playtesting is informative, essential, and, if you have any ego, will leave you in the gutter. Fortunately, the design team of The Initiative and Xbox have souls of iron coated in Teflon, so we just have fancy cocktails and talk about what we learned and what to fix next. The playtesting phase for me runs from the day you have anything working onscreen until after you’ve shipped. Don’t read too much into it. The constant heads-down is overrated. If you don’t have the breathing space to think, you’re wasting time making bad decisions. If you can’t break bread with your team to build trust and community it’ll murder your game later on. Also, it’s hard for me to get in-studio shots.”
The Initiative, which admittedly wants to stay „small,” has eighteen open positions, and it looks like they want to throw conventional things out the window, which isn’t entirely a bad idea. With creative work, you just can’t always do it daily, as the result will show that. As Murray says, you need some creative space, because while it might externally look like the employee is lazy, doing nothing, if the creative spark kicks in, they could get something on the table in no time if appropriate working conditions (and pay) are provided, with them being somewhat free in their working approach. Many people could learn from this. (Such as studios that use crunch.)
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