To the delight of many gaming fans, Microsoft had a lot to say at E3 2018 as it showed off new gameplay and trailers for games like Forza Horizon 4, Cyberpunk 2077, and Tom Clancy's The Division 2. The company also had a few major announcements as well including the founding of a brand new studio based in Santa Monica. Headed up by industry veteran Darrell Gallagher, the studio revealed a few more major names that have recently come on board.
While Gallagher has worked on everything from Deus Ex and Tomb Raider to Destiny 2, his studio known as The Initiative just got even more serious talent from the games industry. Originally posting the news to Twitter and LinkedIn before later taking it down, Gallagher revealed that Microsoft recently hired six new members to join the Santa Monica studio. The latest additions all have an impressive history and come from various studios and projects like Red Dead Redemption, God of War, Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and more.
The impressive list of names include Brian Westergaard, Annie Lohr, Christian Cantamessa, Blake Fischer, Daniel Neuburger, and Linsey McQueeny. Cantamessa's claim to fame was serving as Lead Writer and Designer on Red Dead Redemption while Neuburger worked alongside Brian Horton at Crystal Dynamics to essentially reboot the Tomb Raider franchise. Interestingly enough, the expertise of many of these new hires appear to be story driven games, which could indicate the direction that The Initiative is going.
Announcing The Initiative wasn't the only bold studio announcement from Microsoft at E3. In addition to founding a new studio, Phil Spencer revealed that the company went out and purchased four more developers. Playground Games, the developer of the Forza Horizon franchise as well as currently rumored to be working on a new Fable, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games, and Ninja Theory. Even though fans likely won't be seeing dividends on these announcements for a few years, the move clearly indicates that Microsoft is putting a bigger focus on first party experiences, something its chief rival Sony has proven to excel at.