After layoffs at Microsoft: The future of "Halo" is uncertain
The Halo development studio 343 Industries has been hit by the wave of layoffs at Microsoft. Rumour has it that the sci-fi franchise will be developed further by other studios in the future.
Microsoft is laying off over 10,000 employees. This also affects the Xbox Game Studios - specifically: The Coalition ("Gears of War"), Bethesda ("Fallout", "The Elder Scrolls", "Starfield") and 343 Industries ("Halo").
What's next for "Halo"?
What impact the job cuts will have on game development is still unclear. Halo leaker and industry insider Bathrobe Spartan claims in an extensive Twitter thread that 343 Industries will be hit particularly hard by the layoffs - with a third of the workforce affected by the cuts. From now on, the studio will no longer develop Halo games, but will only coordinate the development of future games at external studios and further develop the in-house Slipspace Engine. In addition, the planned single-player DLC for "Halo Infinite" was reportedly scrapped completely.
Shortly after the insider info was published, Pierre Hintze, studio head at 343 Industries, spoke out via the official Halo Twitter account:
"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 of what makes Halo great."
The woozily worded message confirms that 343 Industries is still working on Halo games - or at least: "Halo Infinite" - will (co-)work on. Whether and to what extent external studios will also be involved in the development of future games remains open with this statement. It also remains unclear how hard the studio was really hit by the wave of layoffs and whether the story DLC for "Halo Infinite" is still planned.
The many problems of 343 Industries
. In addition to the mass layoffs and rumours surrounding the future of "Halo," 343 Industries is currently dealing with a number of high-profile layoffs. In recent months, Bonnie Ross, former studio head of 343 Industries, Joseph Staten, long-time Halo director and writer, and Patrick Wren, multiplayer designer of "Halo Infinite", among others, have left the company. The latter spoke out about the current events on Twitter - he accuses the studio bosses of "incompetent management", which is said to have led to massive pressure among employees and the layoffs.
343 Industries acquired the Halo franchise from Bungie in 2007. Among Halo fans, the development studio is controversial. The team has made itself unpopular with mediocre sequels and technical fiascos like the Master Chief Collection.
The development of the current game "Halo Infinite" has also been turbulent. After a disastrous and graphically unimpressive gameplay showcase at E3 2020, the game was delayed shortly before launch. However, the new, ambitious open-world concept for the single-player campaign could not be fully realised even after the postponement. Announced features such as the split-screen co-op mode were completely cancelled. The online mode of "Halo Infinite" also currently suffers from a lack of new content and updates, which results in a constantly decreasing number of players.
Hardcore Halo fans have therefore long wanted to see fundamental changes and new development studios for the Halo franchise. They still haven't given up hope even after Pierre Hintze's tweet.
Youtuber Crowbcat sums up why Halo fans are unhappy with 343 Industries' performance in the following video: .
My love of video games was unleashed at the tender age of five by the original Gameboy. Over the years, it's grown in leaps and bounds.
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