Halo 4, ex-EGM freelancer turned game producer Ryan Payton was building a resume of high profile sequels to rest his career on. But before he could help Master Chief finish the next fight, he announced that he was leaving 343 Industries and Microsoft to open his own studio, Camouflaj.
"Some people say I'm crazy, but I want to make a game that one billion people play at once, and it's something that hits them harder than a great book or film," Payton says of Camouflaj's future projects, of which there are currently two in development.
In 2008, Payton helped launched Metal Gear Solid 4 as assistant producer at Kojima Productions in Tokyo, but when his mother in the US was diagnosed with cancer he decided to move closer to home. After interviewing at "several" studios, he decided on Microsoft, where we now know he was working on Halo 4. Unfortunately, it seems that the Halo he wanted to build wasn't exactly what Microsoft had in mind. "The Halo I wanted to build was fundamentally different and I don't think I had built enough credibility to see such a crazy endeavor through," he told Kotaku in an interview.
After seeing friend and Haunted Temple Studios creative lead Jake Kazdal laboring on his own project, Skulls of the Shogun, Payton decided it was time for a change. "I think time is the most valuable thing we have, and I've decided that I'm not going to waste one more day working on something that doesn't speak to my values."
Update: Microsoft has released a statement regarding Payton's departure, stating: "343 Industries has assembled an all-star cast of talent working on 'Halo 4' under the design leadership of Studio and 'Halo 4' Creative Director, Josh Holmes. We're excited to tell the next story in the 'Halo' universe with 'Halo 4' as the first game in the Reclaimer Trilogy. Ryan Payton, who left earlier this summer, served as Narrative Designer on 'Halo 4' for 15 months. Armando Troisi was hired as the 'Halo 4' Narrative Director in March, having formerly served as the Lead Cinematic Designer on 'Mass Effect 2.' Ryan has been a great friend and colleague during his tenure at 343 Industries and we appreciate his contributions to the team. We wish Ryan the best in his new game development venture."