It’s been a brutal week for Microsoft and Xbox Game Studios after the company announced that it would be laying off around 10,000 employees, and that Halo developer 343 Industries would be hit heavily by them.
A report by one Halo leaker in the days following suggested that the impact on the studio was greater than initially thought, and that the studio was supposedly being taken off of “active development” of the franchise to instead take on a parental role guiding development of the IP under other studios.
Today, official Halo social media channels finally broke their silence with a statement from 343’s new studio head Pierre Hintz—who replaced Bonnie Ross following her departure in September—which appeared to debunk these claims, decidedly assuring fans that Halo development remained in their hands.
“Halo and Master Chief are here to say,” the short statement reads. “343 Industries will continue to develop Halo now and in the future, including epic stories, multiplayer, and more of what makes Halo great.”
The announcement more than likely comes to clarify the state of the studio after at least 60 employees were reportedly part of the mass layoffs, which was made up in large part by the team’s single-player side and 30 members of the art team, including the director of art management Neill Harrison himself, spawning rumors that planned campaign DLC had also been scrapped.
Many of these rumors were debunked by games reporter Jason Schreier in a resetera thread, stating that his sources suggested “343 is focused on multiplayer,” but “the stuff about campaign DLC being scrapped is false” due to little of such content being planned in the first place. He also called out suggestions like the idea that the studio was relinquishing development of Halo as “wrong” or at least “just speculation.”
Hintz’s statement backs this reporting up in an official capacity, clearly reassuring people that the heavy layoffs were not symbolic of a shift away from the studio’s plans for the franchise. As to what those plans are or the scale of them, it’s difficult to imagine any significant ones in play when Halo Infinite remains in a troubled state of development and 343 Industries was already recovering from the loss of much of its prior leadership in 2022.
In a November podcast, Xbox Studios boss Matt Booty had said that the publisher and 343 had “really retrenched” when it came to development of Halo Infinite. In that case, it meant “changes in how the team is set up” and “changes in leadership,” which may have foreshadowed the rough transitional spot that the studio now sits in heading into 2023.
Pierre Hintz was previously credited as being a large part of the effort that saw the Halo Master Chief Collection be revived from its broken launch state into a beloved celebration of the franchise’s legacy, but now as the studio head for 343 as a whole, it will be more than just a single title that he will need to bring back from the brink if Halo under 343’s stewardship is to survive.