Xbox's New Studio Brings On Uncharted 4, Battlefield 5 Developer

Microsoft's new Santa Monica studio makes yet another big-name hire.

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One of the newly established Xbox development studios, The Initiative, continues to hire big-name talent for its first project. The southern California studio has hired Sylvia Chambers--who worked on Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy at Naughty Dog and Battlefield V with DICE--to become an animator at the company.

Chambers' LinkedIn page states that she is working at The Initiative on a contract basis, having started in April 2020. In addition to working in games, Chambers worked as a shot creator for Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok at the pre-visualization studio The Third Floor.

You can check out Chambers' demo reel below. Chambers is starting with The Initiative at a unique time, as all developers there are currently working from home amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Initiative was announced at E3 2018 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 Chambers, The Initiative has assembled a big team of talent for their first game. Red Dead Redemption writer Christian Cantamessa is contributing to the script, while God of War lead producer Brian Westergaard is also working at the studio, alongside Dan Neuburger (a 12-year veteran of Crystal Dynamics), Blake Fischer (a 16-year Microsoft veteran in publishing), and Lindsey McQueeney (former recruiter at Google, Crystal Dynamics, and 38 Studios). Drew Murray, who was game director on Sunset Overdrive, is the design director at The Initiative.

The Initiative's first game has not been announced, but the game is already playable in an early state. Xbox boss Phil Spencer visited the studio in January 2020 and his visit prompted a rumor that The Initiative was working on a reboot of an Xbox franchise.

It's a big year for Xbox, as Microsoft will release the Xbox Series X this holiday with Halo Infinite as a launch title.

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