What you need to know
- This week, 343i director Bonnie Ross departed Microsoft after 27 years, 15 years of which were spent leading Halo's direction.
- Halo is Microsoft's iconic flagship Xbox IP, that has struggled to maintain mindshare in a competitive landscape.
- Halo Infinite launched to critical acclaim, but the slow pace of development on its live service has left it struggling to compete with matured free to play shooters like Fortnite, Valorant, Warzone, and others.
- A report from gaming outlet Lords of Gaming which we can corroborate independently indicates that David Berger, who led development on Halo Infinite's Slipspace Engine, is also leaving 343i.
This past week has seen some pretty large restructuring at 343 Industries, who steward Microsoft's flagship Xbox IP Halo. After 15 years leading the shooter's direction, industry legend and Microsoft veteran Bonnie Ross revealed her departure from the team to attend family matters at home.
Halo Infinite launched to critical acclaim, but the live service for the title has left a lot to be desired. In the wake of Halo Infinite's ongoing developmental issues, various 343i staffers have left in recent years, including previous studio lead Chris Lee. Microsoft has shored up the studio with ex-Bungie alumni, including Joseph Staten who now serves as the franchise's creative director. Earlier in the summer, veteran Halo staffer Paul Bertone also re-joined the franchise, taking up a role as the game's technical design director. Microsoft also restructured Bonnie Ross' leadership role into three separate roles, with Pierre Hintze taking up leadership of the studio, Elizabeth Van Wyck leading business and operations, and Bryan Koski, who will oversee the franchise. Today, we got confirmation that another major staffing change is hitting the developer.
David Berger, who led development of the Slipspace Engine used by Halo Infinite, is also leaving 343i. The report comes originally from outlet Lords of Gaming, but we can confirm via our own sources that it seems to be accurate. Berger has led technical development at 343i for several years, working on Halo 4, 5, and Halo Infinite. Berger is also a veteran Microsoft director who worked on classic titles like Mechwarrior, Shadowrun, and Too Human, before taking up the reins at 343i's engineering department.
We've reached out to Microsoft to comment on what Berger's (as of yet unconfirmed) departure may mean for Halo Infinite.
Halo Infinite's campaign is available as part of Xbox Game Pass, with the multiplayer portion available for free on PC and Xbox Series X|S consoles.
Halo Infinite's live service has been the subject of criticism, but the base game is still incredibly fun, with tight shooting mechanics in a gorgeous sci-fi world. The Winter Update aims to add co-operative play and powerful Forge map building tools, with on-going seasonal content updates to supplement the free-to-play multiplayer.
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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!