The studio head of Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries has announced that the Microsoft-owned studio will continue to develop Halo games, despite rumors to the contrary.
In a recent Tweet (opens in new tab), from the official Halo Twitter, studio head Pierre Hintze announced: “Halo and 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 statement comes off of the back of a troubling claim by Halo leaker Bathrobe Spartan (opens in new tab) that suggested 343 had been taken off of “active development” of new Halo games following Microsoft’s recent spate of major layoffs, with its role now being filled by third-party studios (via Gamespot (opens in new tab)).
Both 343 Industries and Starfield developer Bethesda Game Studios have been hit by Microsoft’s recent layoffs. In the wake of global economic fragility, the tech giant has announced 10,000 job cuts as part of an effort to “allocate both our capital and talent to areas of secular growth and long-term competitiveness for the company”.
This corporate jargon is difficult to parse, and many feared it would mean adverse effects for 343 Industries and the Halo series going forward. Despite these concerns, however, it looks like 343 still has its hand on the tiller when it comes to Halo games.
pic.twitter.com/03Xm3a9s59January 21, 2023
The Tweet itself is somewhat vague, however, and contains no concrete indications as to what exactly the future looks like for 343 beyond the fact that it is Halo-shaped. 343 has already made it clear that Infinite won’t be receiving a sequel as such, rather, it’ll be a “new platform” for Halo content reminiscent of live-service games (via IGN). It’s a brave new world for Halo, and only time will tell as to what this means for the fans.
As someone who enjoyed Halo Infinite, I will confess to having breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing the news that 343 Industries is still heading up development. Although the latest entry in the series suffers from grindy battlepasses, the gameplay on offer earnestly captures the joyful physicality so central to the Halo experience. Warthogs bounce pleasingly as they move across Halo Infinite’s battlefields, while Spartans strafe and weave in a manner reminiscent of only the most satisfying arena shooters of yore.
However, Hintze’s announcement does beg an important question: where does the series go from here? Halo Infinite experimented with an open-world take on the traditional Halo campaign. It felt boldly reminiscent of the more open sections in the original Halo Combat Evolved whilst implementing more modern elements of open-world gameplay; such as the usual waypoint-laden map.
Halo is at a crossroads. Future content patches could herald a return to the more traditional roots of Infinite’s predecessors or a renewed push into open-world gameplay. Neither move would necessarily be bad, but it’s clear to see how the former could lead to a stagnation of the series while the latter could serve to dilute what makes Halo great in the first place. Regardless of whether or not 343 rises to the challenge, it’ll be interesting to see where the series goes in the coming years.