It looks like Perfect Dark has lost its game director

Dan Neuburger is The Initiative's second major design departure in a year.

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Orchard856d ago

The reality is this is extremely common in this industry. People jump around all the time, because it’s such a small industry with a limited pool of talent you’re almost always guaranteed a promo or pay rise by jumping around.

The thing that is weird here is that he appears to have departed without having a new role elsewhere, so perhaps his departure wasn’t his own choice.

isarai856d ago

No it's not "extremely common" to have the game director leave mid project, nor is it a "small industry with a limited pool of talent". Gaming is literally the 2nd biggest entertainment industry on the planet.

Orchard856d ago (Edited 856d ago )

Except it is. Turnover in this industry is high due to crunch/work conditions, dev cycles being long and the fact that everyone always has open positions, so that’s how you get more money / level up easily.

More common for lower level staff than directors sure, but still common. I’ve seen it happen many times.

It might be the 2nd biggest entertainment industry but the number of skilled workers in the industry is relatively small, you always end up working with people you already worked with before when moving companies.

But like I said, this one is weird because people normally have their next gig lined up before leaving their current.

tombfan855d ago

Haven't seen a lot of games changing director mid game and the ones that does usually means that are not going well.

Godmars290856d ago

"Extremely common" seemingly to MS projects.

SurgicalMenace856d ago

That's more like it. Doesn't seem like old MS can catch a break. Almost like they don't know 2hat they're doing.

Aarontk856d ago

Except you’re seeing what you want to see, confirmational bias.
Sony San Diego lost its creative director and we don’t even know what project they were working on.
The Days Gone director left and spoke about their frustration with Sony.
The director for ps5’s demon souls left.

That’s just three that come to mind. This site gravitates toward news that is potentially Xbox negative. Sometimes new directors on a project are a good thing. Sometimes bad too.

elazz855d ago

@Aarontk. Except The Days Gone director finished a game that after a rough launch received quite some praise after updates. He left after the game got on shelves. Any other projects he might have been involved in at the time would be early pre production at best. So not a similar situation as this Perfect Dark guy.

Godmars290855d ago

Sony's known for putting out a decent stream of well regarded games. MS doesn't. That they lose people on what unreleased projects they do have planned just makes it worse.

darthv72855d ago

@god, just so everyone is clear... you're saying when people leave Sony studios it's okay because Sony pumps out more games on a regular basis.

Got it. Thanks

Godmars290855d ago


I said, in regards to volume and quality, Sony is better regarded than MS. That if they lose people mid project, something I doubt there are examples of, its not as big of a deal.

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DarXyde856d ago

Hm, maybe. I kinda feel like there's a pattern. If I recall the project timeline (and correct me if I make any mistakes, I'm going off memory)...

First, we heard of something being worked on at The Initiative.

Then, Perfect Dark is announced, followed by Drew Murray leaving The Initiative.

Crystal Dynamics is onboarded, and we're now learning about the second big departure.

I don't think there are any issues with the game materializing, but my take is that there are some serious constraints that people don't like. Based on the aforementioned timeline, I kind of think there were disagreements about what would be the maiden game for the studio. Given Murray's roots at a creative studio like Insomniac, I suspect he wanted a new IP and that got ripped from his hands. He left on good terms, but who really knows?

I also suspect that Microsoft mentioning that they are "partnering with" Crystal Dynamics really means "they're the veterans, guys. Listen to them." And some infighting has ensued. It seems not improbable given this Neuburger lad previously worked for CD and may have left BECAUSE of their leadership style. If so, I think it means control of the project was wrestled from The Initiative, perhaps with Spencer's approval.

I don't really know, honestly. Is it strange for a "AAAA studio" to lose talent? I mean... People change jobs often enough in the gaming industry, but we're also talking about a studio that's effectively touted as being visionary and next-level. It feels off to have key personnel losses for what felt like a careful curation of talent.

I've long thought it might be problematic to have too many chefs in the kitchen, and there's no certainty that I'm right. I'm just saying that it does seem odd.

Crows90856d ago

Usually lower level employees change jobs often. Not directors.

Rimeskeem856d ago

The only other director I know leaving a game mid development in the last 5 years was Jeff Kaplan and that was a HUGE deal.

Crows90856d ago

Say what you want but I don't know if any game that's switched directors and ended up being any good. Usually directors will stay when they like a project.

Profchaos856d ago (Edited 856d ago )

No not common at all being a small talent pool of you can't stick out and deliver a project everyone knows about it.

When this happens it's a bad sign

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Shadowsteal856d ago

Managing 40 studios is easier said than done. Especially when Microsoft had such a difficult time managing 5 not so long ago.

esherwood856d ago

That’s what I was thinking. These companies are valued high now but who knows what they’ll be after a couple bad games. Xbox got a lot of pressure to make sure they don’t lose all that money

VersusDMC856d ago

They end up making xbox avatars like Rare?

But don't really think developers have to worry about being closed as the gamepass quality standard isn't that high and sales numbers don't matter as much. Just pump the games out.

derek856d ago

Microsoft will continue to mismanage their gaming division because there is no pressure on them to improve, it just not that important to the company as a whole. Maybe that will change with the company spending 80 billion to buy up game publishers/studios which isn't an insignificant amount of money even to a company the size of Microsoft.

jznrpg856d ago

It was supposed to be AAAA and now it doesn’t have a director . Overhyping a studio and especially a game before it even in production is a really bad idea . But that’s what MS does . I was at Target today and saw an Xbox display today . It says fastest most powerful console , but it’s definitely not the fastest and theoretical power is nice and all but it’s losing in fps for most games . That doesn’t make it a bad machine but if anyone is informed it will make them think twice before buying it because they aren’t marketing games and they aren’t marketing the truth . PS5 went for speed Xbox went for raw power so it can’t be both but they claim they win in everything which is sad really . It’s the reason why Xbox is so off putting to me , BS makes it stink.
And their fans pump out the same stuff like , game directors leaving before a game is released is common and normal but it isn’t unless the game is having a rough production .

esherwood856d ago

Who gives a crap what the fans do lol. Your not buying into a culture or something. Something tells me your one of those people

Godmars290856d ago

Except that's exactly what Game Pass is suppose to be: Gaming culture you just *happen* to pay for.

VersusDMC856d ago

Everyone is going to defend everything happening to this game behind the scenes and when it comes out Mediocre they will throw out the gamepass defence...

Michiel1989856d ago

and when it comes out good you will throw out the gamepass defense as well.

alb1899856d ago

If the game turn to be Bad it will be a shame, and a lost of money for MS.....just that. You guys try to make from everything a world end scenario.

MadLad856d ago

There's people who WANT it to come out mediocre.
Just like there were people who WANTED Infinite to come out mediocre.

Crows90856d ago

There's no game pass defence if it comes out good. And that point it's a matter of success in sales.

Nobody wants games to be bad. They simply are and infinite is nothing special. The campaign is mediocre at best. Sure you can play around in that open world but that's not really part of the story or main missions which is completely mediocre and in some cases just bad.

The multiplayer is the best part but the live service crap is the big problem.

Michiel1989856d ago

@crows there is, dont you see what being said 24/7 on here? when there is only something remotely good being said about ms the sony camp says: GP bad for the industry with nothing else to back it up besides them seeming happy Sony is charging more money for their games in the biggest entertainment industry on the globe. Its not that they are starved for cash or cant invest enough in their new games, its because they can.