343 Industries has finally shared a response to the rumors about their involvement in the Halo franchise.
The current head of 343 Industries, Pierre Hintze, has shared this message on Twitter:
“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 rumors about Halo and 343 Industries started because of the recent layoffs at Microsoft. It was reported that the studio was significantly affected by these layoffs.
And then word came around that Microsoft had laid off employees as they have shifted goals for the Halo franchise, from making story campaigns, to simply focusing on the multiplayer for Halo Infinite, as well as leading production of new spinoff games, presumably with smaller budgets and scope than past Halo games.
We don’t know if the rumors are true or not, but they seemed to carry eight among fans as there had been many grievances within the studio about how they and their projects were being managed. These were brought up by former 343 Industries employees, including Patrick Wren, who had been senior multiplayer designer for Halo Infinite. These issues were known before Microsoft had started layoffs from last year, as they related to Halo Infinite’s development and release.
With all of this said, Hintze’s statement seems to have been designed to assuage fears of fans about the Halo franchise, without actually answering questions about what is going on with the studio and its game.
If the rumors are true that Microsoft is only going to focus on the multiplayer for Halo Infinite, that counts as 343 Industries continuing to develop Halo. When Peter says that 343 Industries will continue “to develop Halo, including stories”, that could mean those rumored smaller spinoff games instead of a full story campaign game, with multiplayer, that would fit fan expectations of what should be Halo 4. The rumors didn’t suggest that 343 Industries was going to be closed or that Halo was moving to a new developer.
It was noteworthy that 343 Industries felt it was necessary to comment on the rumors at all. At the very least, it seemed like an acknowledgement that the company had not been doing enough to talk to fans about Halo and their plans for the game and its community. If nothing else, maybe this will lead to them improving communication so fans don’t feel they are left out and have to wallow in rumors moving forward. And perhaps we’ll have a better idea of what they will have in store for Halo in the future.