half The Initiative core development team quit Perfect Dark at Microsoft Studios, Crystal Dynamics taking control with Darrell Gallagher

Perfect Dark reboot developer The Initiative has apparently seen as much as half of its staff quit the company in the past year, according to VGC reporting. The tally adds up to around 34 people who have left, though the company has also hired roughly another dozen employees in the past year. The reasons for the departures are reportedly numerous but interconnected.

Chiefly, former Initiative developers told VGC that studio head Darrell Gallagher and game director Daniel Neuburger maintained a top-down hierarchy and held on to significant creative control. Incidentally, Neuburger also quit The Initiative last month though. Additionally, development of the Perfect Dark reboot has apparently been “painfully” sluggish, and former staff were apparently unanimously surprised at how patient Microsoft has been with The Initiative in finding its footing.

In September 2021, Microsoft announced Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics was becoming a co-developer on Perfect Dark. As VGC notes, Gallagher and Neuburger were previously studio head and game director respectively of Crystal Dynamics, and it is believed The Initiative partnered with the studio so that there would be more staff familiar with their development and leadership style. Nonetheless, there is speculation that the Perfect Dark reboot may currently be undergoing its own soft reboot right now, following all of these staffing changes.

However, in spite of how many staff seem to have quit The Initiative in the past year, Darrell Gallagher shared a positive and forward-looking message on the subject. Among other things, he stated, “In this journey, it’s not uncommon for there to be staffing changes, especially during a time of global upheaval over the last two years, and there’s plenty more work in front of us to deliver a fantastic Perfect Dark experience to our players. We wish all our former colleagues the very best, and I’m confident in the team we have in place, the new talent joining, and we can’t wait to share more with the fans.”

When all is said and done, the new Perfect Dark game might be spectacular. However, you shouldn’t expect it to arrive on Xbox Series X | S and PC anytime soon.

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