Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries took to Twitter on Saturday to share a brief message about the franchise's future. “Halo and Master Chief are here to stay,” 343 said in a statement attributed to studio head Pierre Hintze. “343 Industries will continue to develop Halo now and in the future, including epic stories, multiplayer, and more of what makes Halo great.”
January 21, 2023
The statement comes after Microsoft confirmed that it would lay off 10,000 employees before the end of March. According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, 343 Industries was “hit hard” by the restructuring and lost Halo veteran and creative director Joe Staten – who joined the studio in 2020 to help bring Infinite over the finish line – to Microsoft’s publishing division. Staten’s reassignment follows a handful of other high-profile departures, including that of Slipspace Engine lead developer David Berger and 343 co-founder Bonnie Ross. Schreier couldn’t put a number to the cuts at 343, but he said Infinite’s campaign team was particularly affected by the cuts. Prior to the layoffs, the studio also had a “long-running” hiring freeze in place and had lost a lot of contractors in recent weeks and months. One former 343 staff member blamed the layoffs on "incompetent leadership up top."
Microsoft released Halo Infinite in 2021 to generally positive reviews, but the game has since struggled to maintain a consistent player base. On Steam, for instance, Infinite is currently averaging about 4,000 players per day, a steep drop from the 100,000 players it was averaging at launch. More than a year after the game’s release, Microsoft also has yet to announce new campaign content for Infinite. Halo fans rightfully have reason to be worried about the franchise’s future.