‘God of War’ Producer Switches Sides to Bolster New Microsoft Studio

By:  Robert Workman

In the video game industry, things can change on the flip of a dime. One minute you’re working on a best-selling franchise for Sony and the PlayStation brand; the next, you’re joining up with an internal studio at Microsoft to push big things for them.

At least, that’s what’s happening with Brian Westergaard. Based on this report from VGR, the former senior managing producer for narrative and animation at Santa Monica Studios has joined The Initiative, the latest studio to be opened by Microsoft. He joins several other developers in the hopes of pushing big new Xbox projects from the studio.

Several other names were announced by studio head Darrell Gallagher, including Annie Lohr (formerly of Respawn Entertainment), Blake Fischer (Microsoft), Christian Cantamessa (Rockstar), Daniel Neuburger (Crystal Dynamics), and Lindsey Mcqueeney (Crystal Dynamics). As you can see, they bring years of experience to the table, and that could bring big things from The Initiative in the future.

The studio’s general goal is to push quality exclusive content for Xbox and Windows platforms, though particular projects haven’t been announced at this time. Westergaard’s experience will no doubt help the team out, as he served as a “senior figure” for God of War, according to VGR. His experience, combined with the others, should give the studio just the kind of development know-how it needs to succeed.

The Initiative was revealed as one of Microsoft’s development teams during its E3 presentation a couple of months ago, alongside other acquired studios like Compulsion Games, Undead Labs and, to everyone’s surprise, Ninja Theory. No doubt the Xbox crew is building up for something big, and hopefully we’ll see what it is sooner rather than later. More than likely, it’ll be for Microsoft’s newest platform, which could be introduced within the next year or two. But that’s speculative, as we could see something announced for Xbox One and Xbox One X as well.


Congrats to Westergaard on his big move. We certainly can’t wait to see what him and the newly founded team can put together for the Xbox brand. Based on God of War’s success, it’s likely to be pretty epic.