Longtime Halo development leader Joseph Staten is moving on from Microsoft. News of the series veteran's departure came initially Friday from IGN, and was quickly confirmed by Microsoft and Staten himself. This departure comes just three months after Staten exited current Halo series developer 343 Industries and returned to Xbox's publishing division.
Now Staten—who'd initially returned to the world of Halo to support the last leg of Halo Infinite's development—is leaving the land of Xbox for good. Before Halo Infinite, Staten was the cinematics director for the first two Halo games, and a writer on Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST. He also penned several books set outside the events of the games.
When Bungie and Microsoft parted ways in 2007, Staten initially stayed with the original Halo developer, before departing in 2013. He joined Xbox Game Studios in 2014 as a senior creative director and was the lead writer on Xbox exclusives ReCore and Crackdown 3.
On Twitter, Staten said he would have "more info" to share about his next role soon, but that for now he wanted to thank all his colleagues at Xbox for "their understanding and support" as he begins his next "adventure."'
A Microsoft spokesperson told IGN that the company is "grateful for Joseph's contributions to the Halo franchise and Xbox as a whole."
Staten's departure comes after a rocky period for Halo Infinite
Staten's career arc with 343 Industries maps onto a series of development struggles that the team behind Halo Infinite went through. When he initially joined the team with Pierre Hintze, the game had been delayed a year past the launch of the Xbox Series X|S, following what we would later learn to be years of development hurdles as 343 Industries struggled to create a massive open-world adventure and live service multiplayer title at the same time.
Hey folks, I am indeed leaving Microsoft. I'll have more info to share soon, but for now, I'd just like to thank all my @Xbox colleagues for all their understanding and support as I embark on a new adventure. https://t.co/oMR0LXOzZb— Joseph Staten (@joestaten) April 8, 2023
The game launched to strong reviews and with millions of players in 2021, but would struggle to ship updates to its live-service multiplayer mode in the months after release.
In 2022, Staten admitted that 343 Industries "didn't have the time" to fully realize the world of Zeta Halo. In early 2023, current and former employees at the developer expressed outrage on social media after employees of the studio were caught up in the layoff of 10,000 employees by parent company Microsoft.
"The layoffs at 343 shouldn't have happened and Halo Infinite should be in a better state," former multiplayer designer Patrick Wren said at the time. "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."
Staten was not the only high-profile departure from 343 Industries in this time period. Last year, studio founder founder Bonnie Ross, design lead Jerry Hook, multiplayer lead Andrew Witts, and art director Nicolas Bouvier all made their own departures.