After all, Perfect Dark’s game director wasn’t the only one who left the studio. In the last 12 months, the initiative has seen half of its employees leave.
Is the departure of Perfect Dark’s game director the tip of the iceberg? Yes, according to our colleagues VGCwhich result in a massive exodus of developers within The Initiative studio. Abandonment of positions that would explain why working with Crystal Dynamics has been so much talked about. That would also be the trigger for this talent drain.
From developers to absentee subscribers
In a lengthy article, VGC reveals that the departures of Drew Murray and Dan Neuburger are not isolated cases. Within a year, The initiative lost half of its developersor 34 people, in all areas.
In fact, journalist Andy Robinson states that Jolyon Myers, responsible for the world of Perfect Dark, two systems designers and three former SIE Santa Monica Studios (God of War) have packed together. In addition, the main authors have also resigned, as well as the technical director, the artistic director, the quality manager, etc. The list is as long as your arm and can be viewed directly on VGC. Currently the team would not exceed 50 employees.
According to developers who agreed to testify, The New Perfect Dark is unsurprisingly strong affected. And if many of them have thrown in the towel, it’s obviously due to the way the project was managed by Darrell Gallagher (head of the studio) and Dan Neuburger (former game director). Despite the studio’s gossip, some elements blame a lack of autonomy, creative freedom, and other things related to development priorities. But they also mention the fact that they cannot easily communicate with management and therefore are not heard.
Making games is hard enough, let alone feeling like you can’t talk to the people making decisions that affect everyone else.
As such, the design of this Perfect Dark seems to have stalled, and developers are surprised Microsoft hasn’t responded more than that.
Perfect Dark: a new Crystal Dynamics (Tomb Raider)
According to the article, the main reason for the departures is the past partnership with Crystal Dynamics. For the Witnesses, this cooperation will certainly make it possible to raise the bar on one side. But this introduction of another team, combined with departures, could lead to a reboot and thus a very distant release.
Internally, Gallagher tries to calm down:
It’s not uncommon for this adventure to see personnel changes, especially with the global crisis of the past two years, and we still have a lot of work to do in order to offer our players an amazing Perfect Dark experience. We wish all our former colleagues well and I have faith in the current team, the new ones joining us and we look forward to sharing more details with fans.
Apparently Microsoft is giving its new structures time. However, we see that there may not be a sufficiently serious framework for projects to move at a good pace and in the right direction. Because, incidentally, Perfect Dark isn’t the first game to suffer behind the scenes. This was the case with Sea of Thieves, knowing that the Rare studio was still struggling with its next license: Everwild. The same goes for Halo Infinite, which had to be delayed by a year after a very complicated public presentation for damage control. Unfortunately, the latter still had to be dismembered, with a co-op mode being delayed again.
After reading this VGC survey, are you pessimistic about the project? Do you think that with the support of Crystal Dynamics, The Initiative will be able to offer Joanna Dark a bright future? Tell us everything in the comments.