Red Dead Redemption, GTA 5 Veteran Joins Microsoft's New Studio

Microsoft's new studio, The Initiative, brings on another big name.


Microsoft's newest internal game studio, The Initiative, continues to add big-names. The company has hired Rockstar Games veteran Tom Shepherd, who was the technical director for Red Dead Redemption 1, Max Payne 3, and Grand Theft Auto V. He also worked on Midnight Club 3 and Midnight Club Remix during his 11 years at Rockstar San Diego.

WindowsCentral first reported Shepherd's move to The Initiative. It's not immediately clear what role Shepherd will have at The Initiative. The Initiative's careers page shows an opening for Technical Director, which might be the position that Shepherd has filled.

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Whatever the case, Shepherd is just the latest big name that Microsoft has brought on at The Initiative. Microsoft previously hired Red Dead Redemption 1 writer/designer Christian Cantamessa, along with God of War lead producer Brian Westergaard. Other newly hired employees include Dan Neuburger (a 12-year veteran of Crystal Dynamics), Blake Fischer (a 16-year Microsoft veteran in publishing), Annie Lohr (formerly a recruiter at Respawn and Snapchat), and Lindsey McQueeney (former recruiter at Google, Crystal Dynamics, and 38 Studios).

The Initiative was announced at E3 as part of Microsoft's wider announcement of new studios and acquisitions. The company, which is based in Santa Monica, says its ambition is "about craft, creating story, innovating, and looking ahead to the next big thing." While the company is owned by Microsoft, it claims to operate independently.

In addition to establishing The Initiative, Microsoft announced at E3 that it acquired Playground Games (Forza Horizon), Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), Ninja Theory (Hellblade), and Undead Labs (State of Decay). Microsoft is rumoured to acquire Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian next.

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