We know this from The Game Awards 2020, The Initiative, the studio founded by Microsoft in 2018, is currently preparing the return of the Perfect Dark franchise with a new opus that will act as a reboot. However, apart from the trailer released when it was announced and some rumors from the hallway, the project is still very mysterious. And unfortunately, it could still go on for a while if we are to believe the information shared by Video Games Chronicle, which evokes a particularly chaotic situation internally.
A chaotic development for Perfect Dark?
In a report published earlier today, journalist Andy Robinson reveals to us that The Initiative would have lost almost half of its workforce over the last twelve months. In total, nearly 34 developers have left the ranks, including Dan Neuburger (game director), Drew Murray (design director), Chris O’Neill (level designer in chief), two scriptwriters, the technical director, the chief animator and more. In other words, important figures who were part of the senior team.
Nearly half of The Initiative’s workforce reportedly quit within 12 months
Most of these departures have never been officially announced but are clearly indicated on the various LinkedIn profiles of those concerned. Moreover, as the journalist notes, it would seem that the majority coincides with the announcement of the arrival of Crystal Dynamics on the project, of which we learned the position of co-developer in September 2021. Asked about the reasons for their resignation, those concerned would then have highlighted the lack of creative autonomy at their disposal, as well as the rate of evolution of the development that would be ” painfully “ slow.
The reason for this would be, among other things, the hierarchical system in force within the studio. Because if the official site of The Initiative promotes a work environment “collaborative”it would actually be more about a dominant position on the part of Darrell Gallagher, the man at the head of the studio, and Neuburger – who resigned last month – on the direction of the project. And unfortunately, the developers don’t seem to be able to count on Microsoft either, which has decided to show some leniency despite the lack of results at the moment.
The director of The Initiative remains confident
Of course, as one can imagine, such a wave of departure is then far from having arranged the situation. Nevertheless, sources reportedly told Video Games Chronicle that the arrival of Crystal Dynamics on the project would have made it possible to fill in some of the gaps caused by the departures on the side of The Initiative. Besides, it is not impossible that the studio even ended up having a more important position, to the point of causing a “soft reboot” development. Therefore, Perfect Dark would still be several years away from seeing the light of day.
The release of Perfect Dark could still be a long way off
Despite all this, Gallagher still ensures to remain confident for this game which, let us remember, aims to become a real AAAA experience:
It’s no small feat to build a studio and reinvent a beloved franchise. In creating The Initiative, we have decided to leverage co-development partnerships to accomplish our ambitions, and we are truly thrilled with all the progress we are seeing in our relationship with Crystal Dynamics. […] We wish the best to all our former colleagues, and I have confidence in the team we have in place.
Waiting to know more, everything suggests that we will therefore have to show a lot of patience before discovering this new version of the adventures of Joanna Dark. According to recent rumors, a presentation of Perfect Dark is currently planned for E3 2022. Nevertheless, in view of this new information, it is better to take this with tweezers because it is not impossible that the game of The Initiative is taking longer than expected before being officially talked about again.