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How Microsoft’s Latest Layoffs Are Affecting Halo Infinite
January 23, 2023

How Microsoft’s Latest Layoffs Are Affecting Halo Infinite

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What’s in store for Halo’s future?

Halo Infinite had a rocky development cycle, with multiple delays. Even after its release, Halo Infinite’s troubles continued with missing features and no support for couch co-op. And with a series of layoffs hitting Microsoft hard, including 343 Industries, the developer behind Halo Infinite, you may wonder how the future of Halo stands.

So, what has happened with Microsoft’s layoffs, and how will it affect Halo Infinite and, in turn, the entire Halo franchise? Let’s find out.

Microsoft Lays Off 10,000 Employees

Due to a global economic slowdown, Microsoft had to reduce its workforce by around 10,000. According to Forbes, Microsoft laid off 1,000 employees in 2022, but Microsoft’s abrupt announcement that it’ll remove 10,000 workers last January 18, 2023, is worrying for Xbox Game Studios.

Of the 10,000 employees laid off, Bloomberg UK reports that workers from Bethesda Game Studios working on Starfield and workers at 343 Industries working on Halo Infinite have been struck by the layoffs.

With 343 Industries losing at least 60 employees, the implications for Halo Infinite could be huge. So let’s examine how Microsoft’s layoffs have affected Halo Infinite.

1. 343 Industries’ Campaign Team Has Been Gutted

The biggest impact Microsoft’s layoffs had on 343 Industries is with Halo Infinite’s campaign development team.

With Halo Infinite set out to be the next ten years of Halo as a live service, many fans have expected future story expansions and campaign content to be guaranteed. But with the gutting of the team responsible for that content, extra campaign content for the game looks highly unlikely.

This isn’t the first time Halo Infinite has fallen short with campaign content either, with local co-op campaigns unavailable in Halo Infinite, forcing you to find an unofficial way to play local co-op in Halo Infinite.

2. Legacy Halo Writer Joe Staten Has Left 343 Industries

One of, if not the biggest, hit 343 Industries has taken to its development team is Joe Staten, one of the lead writers for Bungie’s Halo games, leaving 343 Industries. While not confirmed to be part of the Microsoft layoffs, Joe Staten’s departure from 343 Industries comes at the same time as the layoffs affecting the company.

However, as reported by IGN, Joe Staten’s position at 343 Industries was always temporary, so you could take this aspect of 343 Industries’ reductions as par for the course.

Unfortunately, for an industry veteran like Joe Staten to leave when Halo’s story team is in disarray is a sign of the state of 343 Industries as a game developer. With many campaign developers, including Joe Staten, leaving 343 Industries, Halo Infinite’s future may be in jeopardy.

3. 343 Industries’ Art Team Were Also Drastically Reduced

Unfortunately, another effect of Microsoft’s layoffs you need to be aware of is the reduction of the art team for Halo Infinite.

As shared on LinkedIn by ex-Director of Art Management at 343 Industries Neil Harrison, the art team for 343 Industries lost around 30 employees due to Microsoft’s layoffs.

When taken with the cuts to the campaign team, reducing both the story content and art content development teams doesn’t bode well for the future of Halo’s campaign or 343 Industries as the developers of Halo in general.

You may be especially confused by this, as the two aspects of Halo Infinite that were universally praised were its campaign mode and art style. Yet, these are the two most significantly hit areas of 343 Industries, but who’s to blame?

Ex-343 Industries Employees Blame the Leadership

You may think that Microsoft’s massive reduction in force is the main reason for 343 Industries’ setbacks and cuts. Although this event is a catalyst, it’s not the sole or primary reason for the developer’s issues.

According to ex-343 employee Patrick Wren via a post on Twitter, 343 Industries’ leadership is to blame. So while the layoffs forced cutbacks to 343 Industries, Patrick’s post implies that there were pre-existing issues in the company during the development of Halo Infinite, which contributed to the effects of Microsoft’s layoffs on the game.

This isn’t surprising considering that Halo Infinite’s issues have persisted since its launch and how multiplayer followed other free-to-play games with predatory microtransactions and the dangers that come with it. While Microsoft may be the main offender then, the leadership at 343 Industries certainly did themselves no favors.

Halo Infinite Will Forever Change After the Microsoft Layoffs

No matter what you may think about the state of Halo Infinite and 343 Industries’ management or leadership of the franchise, Microsoft’s layoffs represent a transformation in how Xbox sees its most recognizable IP. With legacy employees gone and campaign and art staff gutted, it’s hard to see Halo Infinite carrying on as is and not experiencing change.

Fortunately, Halo Infinite consistently releases fan content through its Forge mode, so you can take a break from all the negativity around Halo and switch to some classic social Halo multiplayer fun.


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