Halo Developer Continuing Work On Franchise — Will See Layoffs And Engine Pivot To Unreal

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The Microsoft studio behind Halo Infinite, 343 Industries, will continue working on the franchise but will see mass layoffs, a switch to Unreal Engine, and a focus on multiplayer-only experiences in the near future.

Bloomberg is reporting via Jason Schreier that Microsoft’s 343 Industries will still make Halo games, despite some rumours, but will experience a layoff of at least 95 people, as well as a switch to Unreal Engine and a focus on multiplayer-only titles for the near future, in what is a bombshell report on the future of one of the most beloved shooter titles of this millennium.

Phil Spencer Denounces Tribalism In Gaming

Head of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty, said in an interview that “343 will continue as the internal developer for Halo and as the home of Halo.” Even with discussion internally that suggests they will work with outside partners and outsourcing houses, 343 Industries will remain in charge.

During this mass layoff, full-time employees got severance packages, while contractors only got a few days to pack up and leave. After a leadership overhaul, followed by these layoffs, huge changes, and several delays during development, the outfit is all but starting from scratch. This comes days after several ex-employees blasted Microsoft for their handling of layoffs and the Halo franchise as a whole.

Metaphorically “hitting the reset button,” 343 Industries will now need to pull itself back up after what Schreier reports the “biggest core problems over the last few years” have been a “heavy reliance on contractors, who can only stay a maximum of 18 months.”

Report: Halo May Use Reliable Unreal Engine As 343 Industries Moves Forward 1

On the bright side, the switch to Unreal Engine should be a big help for the developers and a step in the right direction, as the previous Slipspace engine has been argued over for the past two decades as one of the sources of woes on Halo’s projects.

This switch will start with a new game, code-named Tatanka, according to people familiar with the plans. That project, which 343 is developing alongside the Austin, Texas-based game studio Certain Affinity, started off as a battle royale but may evolve in different directions, the people said.

This is incredibly unfortunate news for a studio that saw some redemption with Halo Infinite following positive critical and fan responses seemingly across the board, but now the studio will have to attempt a fresh start while helming one of Xbox’s most-important intellectual properties.

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