Xbox has recruited game designers from God of War for its recently-formed first-party game studio The Initiative. Microsoft is busy organizing Xbox Game Studios, a team that comprises a series of first-party developers. This team includes The Initiative, as well as 343 Industries, Minecraft, Ninja Theory and Obsidian Entertainment, among others.
Considering that some of these studios are relatively new to Microsoft, Xbox has plans about becoming a serious contender during the next generation of gaming. The company botched its release of the Xbox One and has spent much of that console's life cycle making it up to gamers by adding key features to the console, including adaptive controllers, mouse and keyboard support, cross-play and backward compatibility. However, many still criticize Xbox One for its lack of exclusive games, something competitor Sony has the upper-hand with on the PS4. Microsoft plans on adding even more first-party developers to its Xbox Game Studios line-up before the launch of its next-generation console.
In the meantime, Xbox is hiring some of the best game designers in the business. VGC reports that Xbox recently employed God of War level designers Ian Miller, Kai Zheng, Chris O'Neill and Ray Yeomans for The Initiative. The company also previously hired former Naughty Dog senior designer Robert Ryan. The Initiative already employs Tomb Raider game director Daniel Neuburger, Sunset Overdrive lead designer Drew Murray and God of War senior managing producer Brian Westergaard. Based on the talent hired, The Initiative's first game is likely a first-person action title.
As it stands, Xbox One sales still trail behind the PS4. However, a recent survey shows that the Xbox brand is more valuable than Nintendo and Sony. Microsoft has done a lot to regain trust from the industry and consumers going into the next generation. Xbox also announced that it would bring Xbox Live to Nintendo Switch and mobile in an ambitious move to win over an entirely new market of players.
Xbox officially announced its next-gen console, Xbox Scarlett, at its 2019 E3 presentation, and its set to release in late 2020. Although there is already a lot of buzz about the new system, what will sell it are exclusives. Although Xbox Scarlett will launch with one exclusive title, Halo Infinite, it will need to have other exclusives on the system to compete in any real way. That's why beefing up Xbox's first-party studios is essential and why bringing in the right talent will be critical to that console's success.