Xbox head Phil Spencer says Microsoft remains committed to the Halo franchise and developer 343 Industries. In an interview following this week’s Xbox and Bethesda Developer Direct showcase, Spencer told IGN “the heart and soul of Halo is with 343 and the team’s that there, and I have the utmost confidence in the team that's there and leading and the plan that they have going forward.”
Spencer’s comments come after 343 was reportedly “hit hard” by Microsoft’s recently announced company-wide layoffs. The number of employees Microsoft let go at the studio is unknown, but according to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, Halo Infinite’s campaign team saw significant cuts. The news prompted 343 to publish a brief statement on the layoffs last weekend. “Halo and Master Chief are here to stay,” studio head Pierre Hintze said. “343 Industries will continue to developer Halo now and in the future, including epic stories, multiplayer, and more of what makes Halo great.”
According to Spencer, the layoffs were an effort by Microsoft to position 343 for the future. “What we're doing now is we want to make sure that leadership team is set up with the flexibility to build the plan that they need to go build,” he said. “Halo will remain critically important to what Xbox is doing, and 343 is critically important to the success of Halo.”
Frustratingly, Spencer wouldn’t discuss the franchise's future beyond the broad strokes he offered. He declined to comment on whether Microsoft still has a 10-year support plan in place for Halo Infinite. “I'm going to let 343 talk about the plans that they have right now,” Spencer said when asked about the subject. However, he did offer reassurances for Halo fans left worrying about what comes next for Master Chief. “I expect that we'll be continuing to support and grow Halo for as long as the Xbox is a platform for people to play.” The rest of the interview is well worth reading if you're an Xbox fan. The piece covers a lot of ground, including the console’s lackluster 2022.