Former Naughty Dog designer joins Xbox Game Studios’ The Initiative

Another former Naughty Dog designer has joined Xbox Game Studios’ first-party development studio The Initiative. Robert Ryan, who worked on games such as the upcoming the Last if Us Part 2 and Uncharted 4, has joined Microsoft’s studio.

Ryan joins The Initiative as a Senior Systems Designer. Prior to this and his stint at Naughty Dog, he also worked at EA’s Motive Studio.

Microsoft founded The Initiative to create first party exclusives similar to Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. As such, hiring a former Naughty Dog alum such as Ryan makes a lot of sense.

Indeed, Ryan is just the latest high-profile developer that the Santa Monica-based studio has picked up. Prior to this, studio head Darren Gallagher announced that Brian Westergaard, Annie Lohr, Blake Fischer, Christian Cantamessa, and Lindsey McQueeney had also joined the team.

As with Ryan, these developers all have experience working on big AAA games. Brian Westergaard, for example, was the senior managing producer for narrative and animation on the recent God of War for PlayStation 4. Christian Cantamessa on the other hand was responsible for most of the writing behind Red Dead Redemption. He was also involved in the story of Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, with his work eventually earning him an AIAS award for Outstanding Achievement in Story.

With this kind of talent, it’s tempting to think that The Initiative’s working on a big AAA first-party exclusive for Xbox One. Indeed, the consensus seems to be that this is where the console is lacking in comparison to Sony’s PlayStation 4.

However, Darren Gallagher stated in a recent video that he wants The Initiative to “stay small” and “stay agile.”  It seems that The Initiative won’t be launching anything on the scale of Uncharted or the Last of Us any time soon. Whatever The Initiative is working on, hopefully the developers can give gamers a first glimpse of an upcoming project at E3 2019 next month.