It was recently noticed online that The Initiative's Dan Neuburger, the now former game director for the rebooted Perfect Dark, had left the development team after years of working at the studio. However, it seems Neuburger is far from the only developer that's departed the studio in the past year or so. A new report details not only a wave of additional departures but talks of the momentum on the game's development being "heavily affected" by these losses and frustrations with the development process.
The Xbox-focused Klobrille spotted the departure of Neuburger after checking out the developers LinkedIn profile. Neuburger previously worked at Crystal Dynamics for over 12 years, the studio known for its Tomb Raider games and the same one that was announced last year to be working with The Initiative on the new Perfect Dark game.
In addition to that departure, VGC reported that several other members of the game's senior leadership team had left within the past 12 months. Returning again to LinkedIn, it's shown that The Initiative currently has fewer than 50 people working at the studio with previous developers ranging from senior writers to the lead gameplay engineer and more all leaving at some point within the last year. This combined with the lack of advertised hiring opportunities on The Initiative's site – three in total – may mean that Crystal Dynamics is doing more than initially expected on the reboot, VGC speculated.
The outlet also interviewed several senior developers who'd left the studio with the former employees describing the wave of departures as "fast and furious" and also said that the game's development was "heavily affected" by these changes. Those interviewed also said they felt frustrated by feeling as though they weren't listened to in regards to development priorities and other key topics. It was also said by the former developers that Neuburger and studio head Darrell Gallagher favored a top-down approach to game development which went against what some developers expected.
Gallagher also used to work at Crystal Dynamics in a senior position, so it was alleged by those interviewed by VGC that the Tomb Raider and Marvel's Avengers studio was brought on in part because development might move more smoothly working with a studio already familiar with the two senior leaders.
When reached for comment about the situation, The Initiative's management said it was confident in the development team with Gallagher adding the group was "really excited" about the progress seen in regards to working with Crystal Dynamics.
Xbox's Perfect Dark reboot does not yet have a release date.
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