The gaming community is still recovering from the earth-shifting news that Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media/Bethesda Softworks for a hefty $7.5 billion price tag, but let’s not forget this seems to be the culmination of a three-year buying spree for Xbox.
Throughout the generation, a major advantage for Sony has been its muscular first-party content. Microsoft’s family of developers was considered in the underwhelming category, with only a handful that existed to focus on tentpole franchises (e.g. Halo, Gears, and Forza) …and that was it.
Then things changed.
A regime switch in 2017 has had Phil Spencer take a position as Vice President of the gaming division, offering talented studios complete creative freedom and healthy funds to join the house of Xbox.
With most of the deals fairly fresh, the dividends are yet to pay off. Especially in the case of Bethesda, which holds a large archive of IPs and studios that need to step through a year worth of red tape. However, the result is that the in-house collective shot up from a lukewarm stable of seven first-party studios to twenty-two incredibly exciting ones.
Now that the dust has settled on this mad acquisition phase, it’s an opportune time to sift through Xbox’s incredibly powerful family of in-house developers and see how they compare to each other, plus what fresh stuff they are currently working on?
22. The Initiative
Past Highlights: Nothing...as yet
In Development: An unknown triple-A project
Created by Xbox from the ground up in 2018, with the 'initiative' to build the type of AAA story-driven exclusive games that are more common on PlayStation consoles, as well as support their first-party brethren. Essentially, it's to be Microsoft's answer to Sony Santa Monica.
We can assume it will be something special due to the staff rooster reading like a checklist of all-star game talent: Darell Gallagher (producer of Tomb Raider reboots), Christian Cantamessa (lead writer/designer of Red Dead Redemption), Drew Murray (game director of Sunset Overdrive), and Brian Westergaard (lead producer on the God Of War reboot), just to name a few...
That's all well and good, but as of yet, they've got nothing to show, not even a logo or teaser for their in-development first project...hence why it sits at the bottom.