It was reported earlier this week by Video Games Chronicle that Perfect Dark developer The Initiative was having problems with staff turnover, and now some insight from Windows Central has perhaps shed more light on the issues.
According to Windows Central's Jez Corden, the possible reason for the departures stems around a "big disagreement" the team had about how to make the new Perfect Dark, which resulted in two schools of thought:
"I was told from sources I can't mention, trusted sources I should add, that basically there was a big disagreement over how to proceed with Perfect Dark. The way The Initiative was set up was almost in a unique sort of studio format, I don't want to say flat structure, but they did build it to try and explore a different way of making a game studio. Anti-crunch, which is great, and a more sort of democratic development process structure.
The problem with that is there emerged two schools of thought about how to develop Perfect Dark. One of them was, we hire the people in, the other school of thought was, we remain small and build sort of high quality indie level games, but because of the hype surrounding the studio, I don't think Microsoft wanted to let The Initiative be that kind of smaller studio... This conflict between the two schools of thought seems to have resulted in a lot of what we see as the departures now."
In addition, VGC spoke to a variety of former employees earlier this week about the situation at The Initiative, who reportedly "attributed the wave of departures to frustration among senior talent over the direction of the project set down by [studio head] Darrell Gallagher and game director Daniel Neuburger (who himself left the company last month)."
VGC says it's heard the "development hierarchy [was] very ‘top-down’" and this meant "many [former] senior team members were frustrated by this perceived lack of autonomy and didn’t feel heard on key issues such as development priorities, project planning and team staffing." The website's sources say that the introduction of Crystal Dynamics to the project may have triggered an "effective soft reboot", and CD could even now be leading development.
"VGC’s sources agreed that they would be surprised if Crystal Dynamics’ introduction, combined with the significant departures of core staff, hadn’t triggered an effective soft reboot of Perfect Dark and that it was likely still years away from release."
Meanwhile, going back to Jez Corden at Windows Central, he advised on the latest Windows Central Gaming podcast that despite the issues, he's "personally not worried about Perfect Dark now", as he believes the team now have a vision in place and are all working towards a common goal, even though it's been messy up until this point.
Let's hope The Initiative and Crystal Dynamics can find a way to turn this negative press around into a really great game when Perfect Dark finally emerges on the scene, but we might have a few years to wait until that point.
What are your thoughts on all this? Let us know down in the comments section below.