Microsoft continues to build toward the future of Xbox by adding new talent to its ever-growing stable of first party studios, most recently hiring former Insomniac game director Drew Murray to join The Initiative.
The Initiative is shaping up to be something of a dream team in game development, with big names from several other studios signing on to make games for Microsoft. It was announced during E3 2018 that The Initiative would be a Microsoft studio, though the team would work independently to create whatever games it is passionate about. Drew Murray should be a nice addition to the roster, as he's a 10-year veteran of Insomniac, departing from the studio almost exactly three years ago.
You've most recently heard the Insomniac name being thrown around because that's the team that developed Marvel's Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4. It doesn't appear Drew Murray was involved with that mega-hit, but he was certainly hands-on for many of his former studio's biggest projects.
During the previous generation, Insomniac was sort of an unofficial PlayStation team. They got along really well with Sony, so most of their games went exclusively to the PlayStation 3. As highlighted by Gamespot, Drew Murray had a hand in many of those games, beginning with a stint as junior designer for the launch FPS, Resistance: Fall of Man. He went on to work on the Ratchet & Clank series before taking up the title of senior designer and lead designer for Resistance 2 and Resistance 3, respectively. Since the third of the lot was easily the best, that speaks highly for Murray's leading role.
Drew Murray's relationship with Microsoft really got rolling when he took on the position of director for the criminally overlooked Sunset Overdrive for Xbox One. He exited the company following the game's launch and has now been scooped up by Microsoft to join its patchwork team of some serious talent. Other team members include Tom Shepherd and Christian Cantamessa of Rockstar Games, Brian Westergaard (Senior producer for God of War), Crystal Dynamics' Dan Neuburger, Annie Lohr of Respawn, and more.
While I have no idea what these folks are working on at the moment, I feel pretty confident in two things. First, it's probably going to be a pretty ambitious game. You don't bring on all of that talent and then put out a safe first effort. Second, if you want to play whatever game they're developing, you're probably going to need to pick up whatever new console Microsoft currently has cooking.
The Initiative is just one of more than half a dozen studios Microsoft has pulled together this year, once again proving that they're going to be swinging for the fences with the next generation of consoles. Also added to the roster in recent months was Hellblade team Ninja Theory, State of Decay's Undead Labs, the Forza Horizon team at Playground Games and, more recently, two big RPG studios in Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment, who made Fallout: New Vegas and Wasteland 3, respectively.