What you need to know
- Bonnie Ross has led 343 Industries and the Halo franchise at Microsoft for 15 years, having worked for the company for the past 27 in and around Xbox.
- Halo is a sci-fi franchise set in a distant future where humanity battles for survival against various alien factions.
- Halo Infinite launched to critical acclaim, but Microsoft is restructuring 343i's leadership to better position the game for the future of its live service.
Industry and Microsoft veteran Bonnie Ross is announcing her plan to leave the company today, with an intent to focus on her family.
Bonnie Ross worked within Microsoft's games business for the best part of three decades, working on franchises like Gears of War, Alan Wake, and even third-party publishing deals on titles like Jade Empire and Mass Effect. Most famously, she took the reins at 343 Industries after pitching her vision for Halo, against a Microsoft corporate climate that felt as though the franchise was in decline. Both before and after the creation of 343i, Ross and her team collaborated to ship several acclaimed Halo products, including Halo 3: ODST, Halo Reach, Halo Anniversary, Halo Spartan Assault/Strike, and Halo Wars 2.
“After more than 28 years in gaming at Microsoft, including 15 years leading 343 Industries and Halo through its most ambitious steps forward, Bonnie Ross will be leaving Microsoft and spending more time with her family. We are thankful for her leadership of 343 during which the team launched Halo 4, Halo 5, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the Halo television series, and Halo Infinite. We wish her all the best. Head of Production Pierre Hintze will become Studio Head effective immediately. The 343 team is hard at work shipping the Winter Update, the biggest Halo Infinite update since launch.”
Bonnie Ross' 343i also built Halo: Master Chief Collection, which ambitiously ported several Halo games into a single property. The task was gargantuan and launched in a less-than-polished state, but subsequent years of investment has made it into a truly stellar title. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Halo Infinite launched with the series' highest metacritic score to date, but its live service has left fans clamoring for faster content delivery.
To that end, Microsoft also announced the leadership team is undergoing something of a restructure, splitting Bonnie Ross' role into three parts to better serve the franchise's growing footprint, which now includes a TV show and other cross-media projects.
Studio veteran and production lead Pierre Hintze will become studio head of 343i effective immediately, leading the studio's on-going development of Halo Infinite and The Master Chief Collection, as well as future games. The senior leadership team will expand with new roles, including Bryan Koski who will become GM of Franchise, and Elizabeth Van Wyck, who will oversee business and operations.
Bonnie Ross noted on her Twitter feed that she'd hoped to stay with 343 Industries to complete the update launch, but a family medical issue has brought forward her plans.
pic.twitter.com/dy2HAbyPaVSeptember 12, 2022
In November, Halo Infinite will grab its largest content package to date dubbed The Winter Update, which will include powerful Forge map building tools and co-operative campaign play.
Halo Infinite's campaign is available to play on Xbox Game Pass, and the Halo Infinite Multiplayer is completely free to play on Xbox consoles and PC.
Halo Infinite's live service cadence hasn't been the fastest, but the game is still incredibly fun and is grabbing some major updates in the next couple of months to include co-op and map-building tools.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
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