Halo Franchise Director Frank O'Connor has left Microsoft (Update)

The Mister Chief helmet in Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
O'Connor created Mister Chief, a gag character that inspired the creation of a cosmetic unlock in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Halo Franchise Creative Director Frank O'Connor may have left Microsoft after working on the series for almost 20 years.
  • O'Connor's LinkedIn suggests that he's no longer working with Microsoft and 343 Industries on Halo, though this hasn't been confirmed officially.
  • O'Connor has been involved with Halo since 2004, working with Bungie before joining Microsoft in 2008.
  • As Franchise Creative Director, O'Connor has contributed to the "creative, narrative, and story development aspects" of many Halo projects.

Update 4/17/23 at 3:00 p.m. PT / 6:00 p.m. ET: According to a Tweet from Axios' Stephen Totilo, Microsoft has confirmed Frank O'Connor's departure from Microsoft and 343 Industries.

"We thank Frank for his numerous contributions to the Halo franchise and wish him well going forward," a Microsoft spokesperson reportedly said.

Our original story is below.

Frank O'Connor, the Franchise Creative Director for Xbox's flagship shooter series Halo, may have parted ways with Microsoft after working on the franchise for nearly 20 years.

O'Connor's LinkedIn page has been updated with an April 2023 end date for his time as Halo's Franchise Creative Director, along with a new "NA" role. Though there hasn't been an official confirmation of O'Connor's departure, these changes suggest that he may have left his position.

O'Connor has contributed to Halo since 2004, first authoring the Bungie Weekly Update that began during the development of Halo 2. He remained with Bungie until the developer left to work on its then-new IP Destiny, choosing to join Microsoft and work with its new studio 343 Industries in 2008. He then went on to become Franchise Creative Director and work on the "creative, narrative, and story development aspects" of various Halo projects such as games, novels, and most recently, the Halo TV series on Paramount Plus.

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

If O'Connor has withdrawn from Halo and 343 Industries, his exit is the latest in a series of recent high-level departures. In 2022, Art Director Nicolas "Sparth" Bouvier, Head of Design Jerry Hook, Lead Multiplayer Designer Andrew Witts, and others left the studio. 343 Industries Founder and Studio Head Bonnie Ross also left Xbox after leading Halo for 15 years. Additionally, Microsoft cut roughly 10,000 employees earlier this year, many of which were developers at 343 Industries.

Since it's currently unclear if O'Connor has actually left Microsoft or not, we've reached out to the company for clarification. We'll update this article with the latest information as soon as we get it.

Halo Infinite, the latest game released in the franchise, is currently in the middle of its third season. It offers players an expansive open world-style campaign set on the Zeta Halo ring, as well as a variety of matchmade multiplayer modes. Fans can also edit and create maps with the Forge mode and enjoy custom gametypes with other players in Custom Games.

The Halo Infinite campaign is available with any tier of Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass service, and its multiplayer is free-to-play on both Xbox and Windows PC.


Halo Infinite

Despite its issues, there's plenty to like about Halo Infinite. The core multiplayer gameplay is great, and since it's free-to-play, there's no barrier to entry. The campaign is fantastic, too, as it features an excellent story, fun open world gameplay, and plenty of action-packed levels to play through.

See at: Amazon | Microsoft

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.