A new report has claimed that longtime Halo developer 343 Industries is being taken off of “active development” of the franchise and that new games in the series will be created by third-party studios. According to Halo leaker Bathrobe Spartan–who has a solid track record leaking Halo inside information–and translated by Subway, Microsoft’s mass layoffs have hit 343 Industries hard and will see up to a third of its workforce laid off. veteran developer Joseph Staten is reportedly exiting the studio and will join Xbox Publishing.
The dismissals within 343 Industries are unfortunately the result of poor management of the studio and its workforce by the people in charge.
If this could have been avoided, the impact on the strategy remains minimal: multiplayer-oriented content.
— Bathrobe Spartan 🎧 Halo Podcast (@BathrobeSpartan) January 19, 2023
343 Industries will then take on a parental role for Halo, overseeing new games and content while working on maintaining the game’s engine. This isn’t entirely new territory for 343 Industries as it has relied on outside help to develop Halo Infinite’s multiplayer content (Season 2 is a prime example of this), but Bathrobe Spartan claims that the planned story-based DLC has been scrapped due to it being considered not cost-effective under 343’s stewardship.
A follow-up to Halo Infinite is also expected to enter pre-production alongside spin-off titles, with these games reportedly being franchised out to other studios and being developed on more modest budgets. While Halo Infinite had a strong launch, recent months have seen 343 Industries criticized for delayed content rollouts, tedious multiplayer progression, and numerous bugs.
Controversially, 343 canceled couch co-op so it could instead focus on developing Halo Infinite’s live-service features. Back in November, 343 also remarked on Halo Infinite’s challenging year and promised improvements to its content release cadence starting with the Winter Update, while reports began to circulate that multiplayer partner Certain Affinity was working on an ambitious new mode for the game. Season 3: Echoes Within is still scheduled to start on March 7, and will add new multiplayer maps, the Bandit rifle and two new game modes.
GameSpot has contacted Microsoft in an attempt to get more details, and will update the post once a response has been received.
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