Microsoft hasn’t just been acquiring established studios- last year, they also set up The Initiative, a new first party studio, from scratch. And since then, the youngest studio in the Xbox Game Studios lineup has been recruiting heavily, and has made a number of impressive hires, raking in talent from PlayStation, God of War developers Sony Santa Monica, Insomniac, Rockstar, and a lot more.


Now, as per updates to profiles on LinkedIn (via VGC), the Santa Monica-based studio has hired four more people who’ve worked on some big games in the recent past. Sean Slayback has joined as the Lead Systems Designer, Ryan Duffin has joined as the Gameplay Animation Director, Ryan Trowbridge joins as Tech Art Director, while Justin Walters joins as a Senior Environment Artist.


Slayback was previously a senior game designer at Respawn Entertainment, and served in that capacity for Apex Legends, having also worked on several Call of Duty titles at Treyarch and Infinity Ward prior to that. Duffin was previously at BioWare, and worked on animations for Anthem, while before that he worked on Battlefield 5 at DICE.


Trowbridge joined directly from SIE Bend Studio, where he worked on Days Gone, prior to which he worked at Naughty Dog on Uncharted 4. Finally, Walters joins from Avalanche Studios, where he worked on Just Cause 4, while his past projects also include the likes of DOOM, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, and more.


The Initiative is bringing in some serious talent, and doing so at a fast and steady clip, so it’ll be interesting to see what they’re working on- even though it’s probably going to be a while before we hear or see anything concrete of their project. Recently, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that Microsoft’s first parties will put out single player games in the future, so here’s hoping The Initiative is working on one of those.




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