343’s statement goes against deep cuts in Halo development team

343’s statement goes against deep cuts in Halo development team
343’s statement goes against deep cuts in Halo development team

Halo developer 343 Industries says Master Chief and Cortana remain under its roof, but reports of deep cuts to Halo’s development team call into question the studio’s ability to sustainably develop future content from Halo.

This saga began last week, when we learned that the Halo studio was impacted through 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 hand over development of Halo entirely to another studio, leaving 343 Industries to play more of a producer role. These rumors prompted 343 Industries to speak out over the weekend to shut down the rumors.

Workshop manager 343 Industries Pierre Hintze shared a message on the official Halo Twitter accountwriting, “Halo and Master Chief are here to stay. 343 Industries will continue to develop Halo now and in the future, including epic stories, multiplayer, and more of what makes Halo great.

But for a studio that struggled to answer Infinite Halo release date several times, can the recently cut 343 continue to handle the development of a big-budget AAA first-person shooter franchise? It’s hard to say.

IGN contacted Xbox representatives, but did not receive comment prior to publication.

‘Hit hard’

IGN has learned that significant cuts have been made to 343’s Halo development team. A former 343 employee affected by the layoffs estimates that about a quarter of 343’s staff have been affected, although that’s not a firm statistics. We also learned about 30 people have been laid off from 343’s art department alone, with former employees saying 343 Industries has been “hit hard with impacted positions across disciplines.”

Meanwhile, at least one high-level source with knowledge of the inner workings of 343, but no longer with the studio, has told IGN that it’s been reduced to a release team. However, based on conversations IGN has had with knowledgeable sources, the situation at 343 appears to be ongoing, and there is a growing – though unconfirmed – belief that 343 will no longer be the sole developer of Halo. when it is settled.

Scrolling through the LinkedIn profiles of other terminated employees reveals achievements for people working on Halo Infinite’s engine, layout, visual effects, gameplay, game design, and other core departments. It’s clear that 343 is a very different studio than it was just seven days ago. Additionally, 343 Industries was already dealing with the growing pains of launching a live service game, with a whirlwind of ups and downs over the past year since Halo Infinite’s initial release.

Despite a strong late 2021 launch that included praise for both Infinite new take on a Halo campaign and the franchise first free multiplayer, the cracks soon began to appear. Fans instantly pushed back Infinite’s controversial multiplayer progression systemas 343 rushed to fix the shop and battle pass.

Halo games in chronological order

But the problems didn’t stop there, with the split-screen co-op cancel, long delays in Forge modeand long content droughts during the early seasons of Halo Infinite. Just five months after what seemed like the start of Halo’s big comeback, the the community was at the end of its tether.

343 quickly experienced a creative exodus after its launch, with Bonnie Ross, founder of 343, multiplayer creative director Tom Frenchand lead narrative designer Aaron Linde all leaving the company in 2022.

Patrick Wren, a former senior multiplayer designer now working on Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, went all out with his leadership rating of 343 in a Twitter post.

“Layoffs at 343 shouldn’t have happened and Halo Infinite should be in better shape. The reason for both of these things is incompetent leadership at the top during Halo Infinite’s development, which is causing tremendous stress for those working hard to make Halo the best it can be. be,” Wren wrote.

Along with these departures, 343 faces another creative vacuum at the top, with the director of Halo Infinite Joseph Staten leaves 343 to join the Xbox edition. Staten’s return to Halo was always meant to be a temporary arrangementbut his departure still raises concerns among the Halo faithful.

Regardless of what happens with Halo in the future, it’s clear that the original 10-year plan for Halo Infinite isn’t going exactly as Microsoft had hoped. For now, Halo Infinite Season 3: Echoes Within is still set to launch in 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 gaming industry experience with signings at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.

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