343 Industries' time with the Halo franchise may be at an end. In the wake of layoffs as part of larger cuts at Microsoft, it's being reported by Halo leaker Bathrobe Spartan (and translated by Metro) that the developer will no longer create games for Xbox's sci-fi franchise.
Bathrobe Spartan's report alleges that going forward, third-party developers will create games for the series, while 343 will operate as franchise overseer. It's also been reported that single-player DLC that was planned for Halo Infinite has been canceled.
The Halo franchise is no stranger to different developers taking the reigns (see Ensemble Studios and Certain Affinity). But if the claims are true, this would be a significant shakeup for the series and the talent involved.
343 first took the Halo reigns from original developer Bungie beginning in 2011 with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. Halo 4 released the following year, and the developer has largely handled mainline installments such as 2015's Halo 5: Guardians and 2021's Halo Infinite.
Alleged Halo games created under third-party studios are planned to be smaller in cost, and may include spin-offs. At least one of the games planned is a direct sequel to Halo Infinite.
Following the layoffs at 343, former employees criticized Microsoft for its handling of Halo Infinite specifically, and claimed that mismanagement has hurt the Seattle-based studio. Joseph Staten, a key figure on the original trilogy, departed the studio to return to Xbox's publishing division.
Game Developer reached out to Microsoft and will update when a comment is provided.
Update, 1/23: On January 21, studio head Pierre Hintze released a statement on Halo's Twitter account, "Halo and Master Chief are here to stay.
"[We] will continue to make Halo games now and in the future, including epic stories, multiplayer, and more of what makes Halo great," he wrote.
Hintze's brief statement only addresses the rumor of 343 being taken off the franchise, and vaguely at that. As far as the layoffs or allegations of mismanagement are concerned, the studio has remained as silent as its lead protagonist often is.
Les licenciements au sein de 343 Industries s'inscrivent malheureusement en conséquence d'une mauvaise gestion du studio et de ses effectifs par les personnes en charge.— Bathrobe Spartan 🎧 Podcast Halo (@BathrobeSpartan) January 19, 2023
Si cela aurait pu être évité, l'impact sur la stratégie reste minime: du contenu axé multijoueur.
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