Microsoft's first-party studios hold special game summits, which are internal mini-conferences were experts come together to share expertise and technology while opening the doors for collaboration on new projects.
Iteration is one of the most exciting things about game development, especially when it comes to first-party studios that are linked together under the same banner. We've seen this kind of collaboration between Sony's first-party studios with Insomniac's machine learning inference object deformation on the PlayStation 5, and the collaborations between Kojima Productions and Guerrilla Games with the Decima Engine, which powered both Horizon and Death Stranding.
The same kind of higher-level collaboration also exists at Microsoft's internal studios, and rightly so given the depth of the DirectX 12 in-house API toolsets and SDKs. Different devs have their own unique ways of doing things and will often share tips with other studios. Microsoft exec Matt Booty says that the company holds game summits where teams will gather and work together to solve problems and iterate on many different things.
"We have this structure in place that we call summits, where we get subject matter experts together for one or two days and it's grounds-up, it's sort of grassroots by the people who do this work. So we'll have an animation summit, or a user interface summit, or even an Unreal Engine and physics summit," Head of Microsoft Studios Matt Booty said in a recent PAX interview with Major Nelson.
"I think we did close to 25 summits in the last year. That's our main mechanism for the teams to share technology back and forth."
Booty gives an example of the current collaboration between studios; interestingly enough, Gears of War's Coalition team is working with Undead Labs on State of Decay 3.
"So you mentioned Undead Labs. They're working with The Coalition up in Vancouver, our Gears of War studio, and using some of the technology around Unreal Engine 5 and some of the stuff that's been in Gears of War before to sort of bring that into the new State of Decay."
This is just a fraction of the inter-studio collaborative efforts that go on behind closed doors at Microsoft Game Studios, and it would be really interesting to see who all is working with who.