Perfect Dark developer sees half of its core staff depart in the last 12 months

The Initiative sees half of its core staff depart in the last 12 months
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Perfect Dark developer The Initiative has seen a mass exodus of employees during the past year, VideoGamesChronicle reports. Around 34 employees are no longer working at the company, which makes up about half of the core development team. Just last year, The Initiative announced that it would be working with Crystal Dynamics "to bring this first-person spy thriller to a new generation."

This seemed weird at the time, but since the development team has been seeing frequent departures, it makes sense why Crystal Dynamics was brought on to help bring the team together. Many of those who left did not occupy small roles, either. Game director Dan Neuburger, design director Drew Murray, principal world builder Jolyon Myers, lead level designer Chris O’Neill, director of narrative Blake Fischer and narrative lead Christine Thompson have all left the company.

Senior developers who spoke to VGC claim that a lack of creative autonomy resulted in a "fast and furious" wave of departures, along with slow development progress being cited as a contributing factor. These developers "didn't feel heard" on massive problems such as project planning, development priorities and team staffing. In the past year, The Initiative has also hired around 12 new employees.

Management at The Initiative spoke to VGC, expressing confidence in the current team and the new talent that has joined the company. "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,” studio head Darrel Gallagher said.

With the introduction of Crystal Dynamics, VGC's sources claim that it's not unlikely Perfect Dark received a reboot of sorts, meaning the game could be years away from release.

Momo Tabari
Contributing Writer

Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.