The dismissals within 343 Industries are unfortunately the result of poor management of the studio and its workforce by the people in charge. If this could have been avoided, the impact on the strategy remains minimal: multiplayer-oriented content.
Before talking about the future of 343 Industries, let's first talk about the impact on the studio's current strategy, the state of which we have already mentioned to you in our previous thread.
If we put aside the very sad human toll of these layoffs, the strategy initiated by 343 Industries in 20222 is ultimately only slightly impacted:
Produce content for the multiplayer portion of the title at the expense of narrative single-player content.
As such, these headcount losses will not impact the studio's current plans for Halo Infinite for 2023 and beyond:
All content planned for this year, future seasons, modes and elements are maintained and are not disrupted.
This will include all Halo Infinite related projects being worked on by 343 Industries & external studios:
- Forge :: SkyboxLabs
- Maps & content :: Sperasoft
- Modes & Elements :: Certain Affinity
So that's not the end of Halo Infinite when it comes to multiplayer.
For your information, these layoffs are not the only loss of 343 Industries:
Between this, the positions transferred to other teams within MSFT and the non-renewal of external contractors, 343 Industries is actually losing 1/3 of its workforce.
On the other hand, these departures mainly impacting the teams in charge of the production of visual and narrative content for the title are the result of 2 divergent visions within 343 Industries:
A small team had drawn up the (possible) plans for the continuation of the Major-117 adventure, supported by Mr Staten, then proposing:
Several short DLCs for Infinite leading to a bigger expansion for the game via a new campaign within it.
The new management team of 343 Industries, following the departure of Bonnie Ross, had drawn up another assessment of the campaign and the single-player narrative content offered by Halo Infinite.
Unfortunately against the latter and rather for the benefit of the multiplayer part..
According to them:
- Narrative solo content has proven to be difficult to produce over the past few years
- Not offering strong player retention
- Not allowing viable monetization for the sustainability of the studio and the teams
A decision will then have been made not to continue production of narrative single-player content for Halo Infinite, or for Halo in general at this stage. So, faced with the financial expectations that Halo Infinite did not meet, the leaders of 343 Industries were forced to act.
These dismissals are the consequence of several factors: - Microsoft's overall preparation for a possible recession - the high operating costs of the studio for financial objectives not achieved - multiplayer-focused strategy for the future of Halo Infinite
343 Industries isn't going away, however, the "Game Development" part of the studio is going to fade away. The projects & the future of the studio will thus reside in a 2-point strategy: - Coordinate Halo Infinite follow-up - Franchise the Halo license to other studios
Coordinate Halo Infinite follow-up By keeping several people in charge of project management and balancing Halo Infinite, 343 Industries can delegate content production to external studios, as was already the case for Season 2.
As a reminder, a large part of the content of Season 2, whether it is a question of multiplayer maps as well as elements in the store and the Battle Pass were designed by Sperasoft as well as Certain Affinity. This type of production will thus continue for 2023.
Franchising the Halo license to other studios Already in 2020, Xbox Publishing had approached other studios to imagine the design of new Halo experiences, delegated but supervised by Xbox Game Studios and 343 Industries.
With the downsizing and loss of talent for producing narrative single-player content, this is the approach that will be favored in the future, allowing other studios to build, with permission, Halo titles, at scale. and lower budget.
These studios will notably be able to have access to certain resources of 343 Industries, including the Slipspace engine: This one, property of the studio, continues to be updated, perfected and improved, the studio keeping within them the engineering team in charge of the engine.
This would therefore lead, in the future, to more Halo video game products, therefore several games, which could explore different ideas and approaches to licensing. 343 Industries would therefore find a place of license manager, as it was during Halo Legends.
In summary: The main changes to come will be:
The loss of internal game development capabilities at 343 Industries
The openness to making Halo available as a franchise that can be distributed to outside studios for the creation of new games.
Different scenarios had been studied, in particular the possibility of stopping and purely and simply assigning the license to another studio, the first piece of information we had and which then seemed shocking to us.
In the end, that will not be the case.
In the end, if we have to give you our personal opinion:
Apart from the disastrous human toll & loss of credibility of 343 Industries, these are positive changes for the future.
343 Industries focused on the planning, and the partners on the content.
If you like Halo Infinite's multiplayer, then this is good news:
Each having their role and thus being able to mobilize their respective forces on the main sites, the monitoring and seasonality of the game will be ensured.
If you like Halo in general, this is also good news:
New Halo games will see the light of day, in more diverse and varied styles than an FPS made as a game and the only game in the series over several years.
That said, it will take time.
On the other hand, yes, if you were hoping to have narrative single-player content in the years to come, then this is a great loss for you and we completely understand the heartbreak this can cause you.
One of the reasons for 343 Industries' lawsuit is in particular the very positive image that the Master Chief Collection enjoys with Microsoft:
In their concern for the eco-system, the MCC is seen as a jewel whose fitness is fully welcomed by Microsoft & Xbox.
We also openly apologize to you: before publishing our last emotional tweets, we should have waited for the confirmations that we had asked our sources, so as not to unnecessarily alert the Halo community.
We hope that you have all the information you need to understand the impact of these dismissals on 343 Industries' strategy regarding Halo Infinite and the license.
Your expectations will tell you if these changes are positive or negative.
If we weren't clear enough in our Thread, ask your questions, we will try to answer them as best we can according to our information.
Thus, it is not the end of 343 Industries and even less that of Halo.
It is the end of a closed cycle, of a new orientation allowing to refocus the license and to open new horizons to it.
We were wrong: Halo is not over.
[about if other studios could make single player stuff] At this point, we have no information on this, but from what we deduce, yes it is entirely possible indeed: an external studio could be entrusted with a narrative single-player Halo game, supervised by 343 Industries for , for example, to ensure narrative coherence.