Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries has released a statement about the franchise’s future at the studio, looking to counter reports and rumours that have emerged following a wave of layoffs that have affected the developer.
“Halo and Master Chief are here to stay,” Studio Head Pierre Hintze stated on the Halo Twitter account. “343 Industries will continue to develop Halo now and in the future, including epic stories, multiplayer, and more of what makes Halo great.”
It’s a direct response to reports that 343 Industries would take a step back to acting solely as a custodian for the franchise, no longer developing games in house and instead overseeing third party developers creating games in the Halo universe. Those reports emerged after 343 was hit by layoffs that saw long-time Halo figurehead Joe Staten returns to his role a Xbox Publishing, and the Halo Infinite campaign team also being hit hard.
That led to the suspicion that Halo Infinite campaign DLC was being cancelled, but while single player DLC was widely expected within the fanbase, Windows Central’s Jez Corden Tweeted that campaign content never went beyond internal discussions.
This was likely down, in part, to the studio’s need to address a number of issues with Halo Infinite over the past year. Various features were missing from Halo Infinite at launch, including campaign co-op and Forge, with the studio stretching out multiplayer seasons as they work on finishing these features.
A lot of the blame for this is being pinned on the studio’s management. Former Halo studio head Bonnie Ross announced departure late last year, with a new leadership being formed in her wake, but that hasn’t stopped former employees from being scathing about how the studio has been run. In particular, there’s certain practices like a reliance on contractors that can only be employed for 18 months and the ageing core of the in-house Halo game engine which have been highlighted in the past as making development harder than it really needs to be.
There was a certain amount of positivity to the reports that 343 might no longer develop the mainline games. Working with external studios has always a part of 343’s remit, as they supervised the development of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary by Saber Interactive, Halo Wars 2 by Creative Assembly, and the broad multi-studio effort for Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Of course, 343 has been in charge of three mainline games during this game, with Halo 4, Halo 5: Guardians and Halo Infinite.
While Hintze has countered the reports to a certain extent, there’s still significant questions surrounding the future of Halo that will be speculated upon for months and years to come.