Bonnie Ross, the founder and head of Microsoft’s dedicated Halo studio 343 Industries has announced that she will depart the studio after 15 years, and Microsoft as a whole after 28 years. With the company’s leader leaving, Microsoft is also restructuring the studio’s leadership.
— Bonnie Ross (@PlutonForEver) September 12, 2022
It seems that Ross had been planning to depart the studio later this year, but brought it forward because of a family medical issue. “While I had hoped to stay with Halo until we released the Winter Update,” she writes, “I am letting you know I will be leaving 343 and attending to a family medical issue.
“I am incredibly proud of the work everyone at 343 Industries has done with Halo Infinite, the Master Chief Collection, the Halo television series and so much more. It has been an honor to serve alongside the team for the last 15 years and to be a part of a universe that I love.
“Thank you to everyone in the Halo community for your support. Halo’s future is bright. I cannot wait for all of you to experience what we have in store – and to cheer alongside you, as a fan, at the Halo World Championship in October!”
In her wake, Pierre Hintze will become 343 Industries’ studio head effective immediately (via Windows Central), stepping up from his role of production lead since joining in 2018 to the top of the organisation. There will also be new roles with Bryan Koski becoming GM of Franchise and Elizabeth Van Wyck in charge of business and operations.
This leadership group will now be in charge of trying to arrest the direction that the Halo franchise has taken in recent years. Halo Infinite’s steps into being a live service have not been smooth – features like co-op and Forge have been heavily delayed, and Season 3 is now coming in 2023 instead of this year, with the Winter Update due in November. Similarly, the Halo TV series drew strong criticism from fans over changes that it made to the stories found in the video game series, and middling to generally favourable reviews.