The Initiative, the new AAA studio that’s being put together by Microsoft, has just added two former Naughty Dog developers to their company.
Joining the Microsoft team are, Lauren Garcia who worked as a Character Shading Technical Director, and Lee Davis who was Head of Melee Animation. They will be assigned to Senior Shading Technologies and Lead Gameplay Animation respectively.
Garcia and Davis both worked on The Last of Us Part 2. The game was critically acclaimed for its animation and the visual fidelity of its characters. Davis also worked on Uncharted 2, Uncharted 4, and the original The Last of Us.
Garcia took to social media to announce his new position, saying he was happy to be part of the Microsoft team.
“So happy to announce that this week I joined at The Initiative. This is an incredible team working on something truly special. It was so hard to leave behind my friends at Naughty Dog. But I need to say thank you to @Xbox and @XboxP3 to allow me be part of Xbox family!”
So happy to announce that this week I joined at The Initiative. This is an incredible team working on something truly special. It was so hard to left behind my friends at NaughtyDog. But I need to say thank you to @Xbox @XboxP3 to allow me be part of Xbox family! <3
— Lauren Garcia (@MrLGarcia) October 13, 2020
The new hires are not the first for the company. The Initiative also employed former Uncharted 4 developer Sylvia Chambers, an animator who worked for Naughty Dog and on Battlefield V for DICE. Her credits also include Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, where she worked as a shot creator.
Formed in 2018, The Initiative was one of the many studios announced as part of Microsoft’s push for internal development teams making exclusive next-gen games. The studio was unveiled at E3 where the company also announced several acquisitions including Playground Games, Ninja Theory, and Undead Labs. That same year the developer also hired former God of War producer Brian Westergaard.
The Initiatives latest hires probably means that the company wants to replicate Naughty Dog’s high standards of game animation. What the developer is currently working on is still unknown, but rumours doing the rounds online suggest that the studio is developing a Perfect Dark reboot.