When Microsoft—a company that made “$198 billion in revenue and $83 billion in operating income” in 2022—made the decision to axe 10,000 workers last week, a number of those came from their video game operations, particularly 343 Industries, the overseers of the Halo series.
343, hit now by a combination of layoffs and key departures, does not appear to be in good shape. As we reported last week:
“The layoffs at 343 shouldn’t have happened and Halo Infinite should be in a better state,” former Halo Infinite multiplayer designer, Patrick Wren, tweeted Wednesday night. “The reason for both of those things is incompetent leadership up top during Halo Infinite development causing massive stress on those working hard to make Halo the best it can be.”
Even prior to yesterday’s layoffs, 343 Industries has been facing wave after wave of high level departures as Halo Infinite struggled to ship new seasonal updates and features on time. The most notable was studio head Bonnie Ross’ departure last September. More recently, multiplayer director and longtime Halo veteran Tom French revealed he was leaving in December. And yesterday, amid the chaos, Bloomberg reported that director and longtime Halo writer, Joseph Staten, was headed to the Xbox publishing side of the business as the studio made the “difficult decision to restructure.”
Those hits led to reports last week that development on future Halo games was going to be handed off to outside studios, with 343 being relegated to a supervisory role. Reports that have seemingly led 343 to tweet the following statement on the official Halo account, denying them (to an extent) and saying 343 “will continue to develop Halo now and in the future”.
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.
That’s a short statement that does nothing to address the report that other studios could now also be making Halo games (which isn’t that new anyway, given Creative Assembly’s work on Halo Wars), nor does it address the scale of the layoffs it was just hit with, but it does at least affirm that 343 themselves will still be directly involved in some way in the series’ future.