Critics, fans worry about future of Halo series


Xbox Game Studios

Locke shoots Master Chief in a trailer for Hunt the Truth for Halo 5. When the trailer was released critics said that it marked the end of the popular franchise because of problems with the narrative of the game.

343 Industries is a huge gaming studio that worked on even more extensive projects, but with recent rumors, gamers worldwide are worried about the future of 343 and Halo as a whole. 

For over two decades, Halo has been regarded as one of the best first-person shooter games, and whether we talk about the original creator Bungie or the current creator 343 we have to acknowledge the massive waves they have created in the gigantic and diverse ocean that is gaming. Without Halo, we would not have many of the games that were influenced by it.

Recently, however, the community has been questioning the 343’s motives has with their own and Halo’s future altogether.

Halo Infinite, 343’s most recent creation, at launch was a screaming success. Of course, game didn’t come out flawless but with some minor adjustments, the game could have been ranked as one of their best games that they made but for about the first year they only made minor adjustments without any major new content. Besides a few new modes, 343 neglected to add anything exciting and players panned it for being boring.  There was just no reason to play it when there were other titles that played better and had more hype around them. This shows that no matter what modes a game features. If it isn’t fun, player counts will plumate.

Another problem that worries the community is the recent large-scale reduction in staff at 343 Industries. The most recent count of employees working at 343 around 533 employees is a mix of former Bungie developers and new people working for them. That number could have changed since late 2022 but, as of early 2023, 343 fired more than 90 employees.

If that wasn’t bad enough rumors started spreading that 343 was going to pass on the mantle to a new company and just have an outside view on the production of future Halo games. When considering this, fans are asking many questions including why a studio would essentially throw away a huge amount of money due to how popular Halo is and fire over 90 people who could work on and improve Halo.

Despite that still leaves us with the question “why the other 90-plus people?” According to a Twitter post by a laid off 343 developer, the staff cuts were due to “Incompetent Leadership” which caused lots of stress on the developers.

Joseph Staten is so important to Halo because he was around the scene at the beginning. He gave the fans faith due to him knowing and possibly being able to replicate the classic Halo feeling that the new Halo games just don’t make us feel anymore. He has a reputation for being a hard worker as well, sometimes working 80-hour weeks and staying up for 72 hours at a time just to work on Halo. 

Staten has also written books expanding the games lore aspect. He wanted Halo to thrive and so when he heard that Halo Infinite was struggling during development he decided to help and join 343 to get Halo Infinite in a good place after launch. But after many questions from angry and confused fans, it was revealed that Staten left to pursue new projects. This isn’t believed to be a random decision by Staten made. He is known to do his job and then leave the second he is done with his objective. As of the time of writing this Staten has moved over to an Xbox publisher role where he will oversee the production of many games to come.

On top of all the current employee drama 343 is dealing with a massive change. Not only have they revealed a big new “battle royal” mode that was supposed to be a Halo Infinite add-on to now its own Halo game. It is rumored to be on the Unreal Engine rather than the current Slip Space engine meaning that the newer developers will have an easier time creating due to how simple it is compared to Slip Space.

Despite portions of the Halo fan community seeing all of this as complete chaos and a doomed future for their beloved franchise, there is a lot more going on below the surface. Others are hoping that changes at 343 Industries will put the game’s development back on track now, making the game successful when working on their future projects.