Halo veteran developer and Halo Infinite head of creative Joseph Staten is leaving 343 Industries to rejoin Xbox Game Studios Publishing. The news arrives amidst massive layoffs taking place at Microsoft where over 10,000 employees are being terminated. 343 Industries is among one of the many studios under Xbox to be hit by these layoffs.
Staten previously worked on the Halo series in its early days under Bungie and is often credited for leading the franchise’s creation alongside the original team. Staten worked as a director of cinematics on Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2 and Halo 3. He would later work on the story development for the Halo 3 expansion, Halo 3: ODST, before moving with Bungie to work as a design director and writer on Destiny.
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From 2014, Staten worked at Xbox Games Studios Publishing division until he joined 343 Industries to lead the creative development of Halo Infinite in 2020, shortly after the studio was criticised for its infamous initial gameplay showcase. Staten’s position as head of creative apparently brought the game back on track leading up to its eventual release in late 2021.
According to Bloomberg, Staten is now leaving 343 Industries and rejoining Xbox’s publishing division. An email from 343 Industries head Pierre Hintze revealed that the company “made the difficult decision to restructure” following the announcement that Microsoft would be laying off thousands of employees under its various divisions. Halo Infinite‘s live-service features will continue to be supported, though.
Several Xbox studios are reportedly being impacted by the mass layoffs which account for 5% of its work force, including Gears of War studio The Coalition and Bethesda, among others. It’s unclear what this could mean for studios under Microsoft and how that will affect the development of several first-party games, but we’ll surely know more information in the coming days and weeks.
Halo Infinite is currently available for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.