Things definitely don’t seem to be running smoothly over at The Initiative. According to a report by VGC, the Xbox Studio tasked with the development of the reboot of Perfect Dark has seen numerous staff exits over the last twelve months.
The report gives insight into the turbulent level of staff turnover at the studio, with a number as high as 50% of core team members abandoning ship. This includes the game’s director Dan Neuberger, along with several other notable members of Perfect Dark’s senior design team.
‘Painfully slow’ game development has been cited as just one of the reasons that so many team members have left The Initiative. The game’s lead level designer, principal worldbuilder, two senior systems designers and three designers who formerly worked on God Of War have also walked out on the studio. In addition, the two most senior writers and a whole host of other core gameplay creation staff have recently quit.
VGC have based their report on a range of anonymous interviews done with multiple ex-senior developers. These former staff members have claimed that ‘slow development progress’ and ‘a lack of creative autonomy’ are the main reasons behind their departures from The Initiative. The ‘fast and furious’ number of exits from the studio is said to have ‘heavily affected’ the momentum of the development of the Perfect Dark project.
The former staff members spoken to by VGC were also critical of The Initiative’s style of operation, claiming that the workplace was far from collaborative and instead was run with a top-down, hierarchical structure. This clashed with the expectations of many Initiative staff members, who expected more teamwork and a bottom-up approach to the project.
It seems that the workplace culture clash and staff turnover issues mean that the Perfect Dark reboot is still going to be a long time coming. The full details of VGC’s findings can be read over on their website.