Halo developer 343 Industries says the Master Chief and Cortana will remain under its roof, but reports of deep cuts to the Halo development team call into question the studio’s ability to sustainably develop future Halo content.
This story started last week when we learned about it Halo studio was affected by Microsoft plans to lay off 10,000 people. Since the news broke, speculation has swirled about Microsoft’s plans for its flagship franchise, including Rumors that Microsoft could pass development of Halo on to another studio entirely, leaving 343 Industries in the producer role. Those rumors prompted 343 Industries to speak out over the weekend to quell the grumbling.
Pierre Hintz, Head of Studio 343 Industries Share a message on the official Halo Twitter accounthe writes, “Halo and the Master Chief are here to stay. 343 Industries will continue to develop Halo now and in the future, including epic stories, multiplayer, and more that make Halo great.”
– Halo (@halo) January 21, 2023
But for a studio that struggled to get together infinite aura release dates many timesCan the recently downsized 343 continue to handle the development of a big-budget AAA first-person shooter franchise? It’s hard to say.
IGN reached out to Xbox representatives, but did not receive any comment prior to publication.
IGN has learned that significant cuts have been made to the 343’s Halo development team. One of the 343’s former 343 employees affected by layoffs estimated to be about a quarter of the 343’s employees has been affected, though that’s not a solid statistic. We also learned that about 30 people were let go from the art department at 343 alone, with former employees saying 343 industries were hit “severely because jobs across all disciplines were affected.”
Meanwhile, at least one high-level source familiar with the 343’s inner workings, but no longer working at the studio, told IGN that it has been shifted to the publishing team. However, based on conversations IGN has had with insiders, the situation on 343 appears to be ongoing, and there’s a growing conviction – if unconfirmed – that 343 won’t be the sole Halo developer when it’s settled.
A search through the LinkedIn profiles of other laid-off employees reveals successes for people working on the Halo Infinite engine, presentation, visual effects, gameplay, game design, and more core departments. Clearly, 343 is a very different studio than it was just seven days ago. Plus, 343 Industries has already been dealing with the growing pains of launching a live service game, with a whirlwind of highs and lows over the past year since Halo Infinite’s initial release.
Despite a solid launch at the end of 2021 which included praise for both Infinite New take on the Halo campaign and franchise The first ever free multiplayer gameSoon, cracks began to appear. The fans immediately rushed back Infinite’s controversial multiplayer progression systemlike 343 rushed to fix the shop and pass the battle.
Halo games in chronological order
But the problems didn’t stop there, though Turn off the split screen featureAnd Long delays in shaping modeAnd Long content dehydration During the first seasons of Halo Infinite. Just five months after what seemed to be the start of Halo’s big comeback, he showed up Society is running out of patience.
343 quickly experienced a creative exit after launch, with the 343 founder Bonnie RossAnd Multiplayer Creative Director Tom FrenchAnd Principal Narrative Designer Aaron Lind Everyone is leaving the company in 2022.
Patrick Wren, a former multiplayer designer now working on Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, was blunt in his assessment of Command 343 in a Twitter post.
“The layoffs in 343 shouldn’t be happening and Halo Infinite should be in better shape. The reason for both of those things is the incompetence of leadership during the development of Halo Infinite which put enormous pressure on those who work so hard to make Halo the best it can be,” wrote Ren. .
Layoffs shouldn’t be happening in 343 and Halo Infinite should be in better shape. The reason for both of these things is the incompetence of the leadership during the development of Halo Infinite which has put enormous pressure on those working hard to make Halo the best it can be.
– Patrick Wren (Witdarkstar) January 19, 2023
Alongside these departures, 343 faces another creative void at the top, with Halo Infinite exiting. Joseph Staten left 343 to rejoin Xbox Publishing. Staten’s return to Halo has always been designed to be a temporary arrangementBut his passing still raises concerns among Halo followers.
No matter what happens with Halo in the future, it’s clear that the initial 10-year plan for Halo Infinite isn’t quite working out as Microsoft had hoped. So far, Halo Infinite Season 3: Echoes Within It’s still slated for early March, adding new maps, modes, and weapons to the game.
Additional reporting by Kat Bailey.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over six years of experience in the gaming industry with minor lines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. You can find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.
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