Industry vet Darrell Gallagher was the first hire to Microsoft's The Initiative, joining the Big M in April 2018 before the studio was even announced.
HIs career started in 1997 when he worked for five years as head of creative for Sony. That was before a two-year stint at Rockstar as a lead artist and a 16-month run at THQ, where he held the role of studio art director.
In 2005 he was hired by Tomb Raider maker Crystal Dynamics where he worked for a decade, first as director of art before being promoted to head of studio. During this time he worked on Legends, Anniversary, Underworld, Guardian of Light and The Tomb Raider Trilogy, before the 2013 reboot.
Square Enix must have liked what they saw in Gallagher as in January 2013, he was promoted to head of production and development studios, overseeing pretty much every game Square Enix's Western studios worked on between 2013 and 2016, including Life is Strange, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. From the Japanese publishing giant he was hired by Activision, where he worked for over two years as SVP, head of development. In this role, he oversaw development on 2016 and 2017's Call of Duty titles, as well as Destiny 2.
And in April 2018, Microsoft hired the development to head up its new Santa Monica-based studio, The Initiative.
Neuburger has spent quite literally his entire career until working at Tomb Raider studio Crystal Dynamics. He started out in 2003 in the firm's art and graphics team working on Stunt Hamsters, before contributing to Tomb Raider Underworld and Anniversary. From there he joined the design team for 2010's Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, before going on to direct Tomb Raider and its sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Now he is working in a currently unknown role at The Initiative. but it's very likely he'll be involved in directing whatever the new Microsoft studio is working on.
Having worked as an attorney for five years between 1999 and 2004, Drew Murray made the lead to the games industry. He started as a junior designer at Insomniac in July 2005, working on PlayStation 3 launch title Resistance: Fall of Man, working on the studio's titles including Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction, both Resistance 2 and 2, before working as game director on Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive.
He departed that developer in October 2015, returning to the industry in November 2018 as lead designer at The Initiative.
Senior Systems Designer
Robert Ryan's games career started in 2009 at Vogster Entertainment where he worked as an assistant producer for one year. From there he moved to THQ's Kaos Studios, working on Homefront, before being hired by Naughty Dog in July 2011. At that developer, he was part of the teams for Uncharted 3 and 4, as well as The Last of Us and its unreleased sequel as a game designer.
That was until May 2017, when he moved to EA's Motive Studios working on an announced title, likely the cancelled Star Wars title, on which he was a senior game designer, before moving to The Initiative in April 2019 as senior systems designer.
Lead Systems Engineer
For 25 years now, Ben Diamand has been working as a programmer in the games industry. Starting off in 1994 Velocity, he moved to Activision the following year, working on Zork: Nemesis, Grand Inquisitor and Apocalypse. 1997 saw the developer join defunct games firm Midway, where he worked until 2002 - as a senior and lead programmer - and again from 2003 to 2004 as a lead engine programmer. That preceded a short stint at Rockstar before he was hired by Sony Santa Monica, where he worked between June 2004 and August 2013, starting as a senior programmer on the original God of War and its sequel, then as a senior staff programmer on God of War 3 and Ascension.
In the summer of 2013, he was snapped up by Respawn Entertainment to help finish production on Titanfall between August of that year and April 2014. After this, he worked outside of games for close-to- five years, holding the role of senior flight software engineer at Elon Musk's SpaceX company. He left in December 2013 to become lead systems engineer at The Initiative.
Lead Gameplay Engineer
Robert Marr had quite the start to his career, spending four years between 1997 and 2001 at Chris Roberts' Digital Anvil studio as a programmer. After this time, he moved to Midway Home Entertainment as a senior programmer, spending three years there, before joining Locomotive Games in the same role in February 2004. In August 2008, he joined Portable Zoo for seven months as chief technology officer but left in February of the following year. In August 2010 he was hired by Cryptic Studios as principal software engineer, a role he held until April 2019 when he was snapped up by The Initiative as lead gameplay engineer.
For most of his career, William Archbell has worked at Microsoft one way or another. His time in the games industry started at the Big M where he worked as a software design engineer for Windows Live Messenger (remember that!) until 2006 and then in the same role on Origami Experience. He left in August 2007, spending just over a year at HTC as a software developer before returning to Microsoft in 2008 a software development engineer. During this three-year stint, he worked on Silverlight. Then in 2011, he moved to Halo developer 343 Industries, working as a senior software engineer on Halo 4 and then as lead multiplayer engineer between 2012 and 2015 on Halo 5. This was before a two-year and nine-month stint at League of Legends developer Riot Games as an engineering manager, after which moved back to Microsoft as technical director for its new Santa Monica-based The Initiative studio.
Senior Level Designer
Zheng's career in the games industry started just 11 years ago when he joined EA as a level designer, working on the likes of Dead Space, Battlefield and Dante's Inferno during his five-year stint at the publishing giant. He left in June 2013, spending two years as a design consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area before being hired as a senior level designer at Sony's Santa Monica Studio in June 2015. During his time at PlayStation's LA outfit, he worked on 2018's God of War. Last month, he was hired as a senior level designer to work at Sony Santa Monica's Microsoft rival, The Initiative.
For over half of his career, designer Ray Yeomans has worked at Tomb Raider maker Crystal Dynamics. He started here at January 2007, working as a level designer for just over two years before moving to Planet Moon Studios as a game designer. His time at this studio lasted jut 19 months, before he took some time off in July 2010, returning to Crystal Dynamics as a senior level designer in February 2011. He was at the Lara Croft developer for over six years and departed in March 2017 to work at Sony Santa Monica as a senior staff level designer. Slightly over two years later, he joined The Initiative as a senior designer.
In June 2007, Ian Miller joined Sega, working at the Japanese publishing giant's Secret Level studio for 16 months. At that point he was hired by Ubisoft, working at both the firm's Singapore studio and its Shanghai operation as a senior level designer and mission designer. After two years, he moved back to the US, joining Crystal Dynamics as a senior designer, a role he held for five-and-a-half years before leaving in September 2015 to join Sony Santa Monica. This month, he was hired by rival Xbox studio The Initiative as a senior designer.
Over half of Tom Shepherd's career' 21 year-long career was spent at Rockstar San Diego, where he started as a senior engineer, before being promoted to multiplayer lead and eventually technical director. During this time he worked on titles such as Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto V, Max Payne 3 and left after the first few years of development on Red Dead Redemption 2.
His career started in 1998 as a lead programmer for developer Studio33 before, where he worked for almost five years. Via a brief two-month stint at 3DO, he was snapped up by Rockstar. Following his time there, founded MatchyMaximus in September 2015. That company is still running but in September 2018, he was brought into The Initiative in a role that isn't specified on his LinkedIn profile.
Senior Software Engineer
Following a two-plus year stint as CenPRA working as an intern and researchder, Cesar Castro's career in games kicked off in 2005 when he was hired as a game engine developer. He held this role until the end of the year, picking up his career again in March 2006 as a senior engineer for TecToy Digital Development. From there he moved to Brazil's São Paulo, working for 18 months as a game developer for mobile-focused Gameloft. Following this, he moved continent to Canada and for almost five years was technical director for Other Ocean Interactive. A brief six-month stint at GameHouse was followed by another close-to five years working at EA as a software engineering. During this time, Castro worked on titles including FIFA Ultimate Team 2016, FIFA 17, NHL 19 and UFC 3. In February 2019 he joined The Initiative as a software engineer.
Lead Level Designer
In 2003, Chris O'Neill landed what would have been a dream job for most young gamers; product testing Lionhead's next game for Activision, The Movies. From there he moved to Seven Studios, spending two years and seven months, first as lead level designer on The Sopranos: Road to Respect PlayStation 2 game, before serving as both lead designer and writer on a DS and PSP Napoleon Dynamite game. In 2013 he was hired by Kojima Productions - the Konami one, not the Sony one, working as both a creative lead and a senior game designer on the Online segment of Metal Gear Solid V, but left in November 2014. At the start of 2015, he was started working at Sony's Santa Monica Studio on 2018's God of War, where his role was senior staff level designer. O'Neill was at this outfit for four years, starting 2019 by joining The Initiative as lead level designer.
Narrative ConsultantThough involved with development at The Initiative, Christian Canamessa is in fact a consultant whose main job is heading up his own studio, Sleep Deprivation Lab. He's been working at the Microsoft studio since June 2018, and before that has leant his services to the likes of Ubisoft's The Crew and Warner Bros' Shadow of Mordor since he set up Sleep Deprivation Lab in 2011.
His career started in 1997 at Trecision, going on to break into triple-A in 1999 when he joined Ubisoft. Following a 19-month stint at the French publisher, Canamessa joined Rockstar San Diego where he worked for almost a decade on titles including both Manhunt games, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and Red Dead Redemption.