Here’s hoping the departures aren’t infinite, as Halo: Infinite suffers another high profile loss to its team.
343 Industries partner studio head Chris Lee has had his departure from Halo: Infinite confirmed by Bloomberg. It follows the loss of two creative directors in rapid succession last year, Mary Olson and Tim Longo. Lee will remain a Microsoft employee for now.
“I have stepped back from Infinite and I am looking at future opportunities,” Lee said. “I believe in the team and am confident they will deliver a great game and now is a good time for me to step away.”
Chris Lee has played a major part in the Halo franchise since before 343 officially took the baton from Bungie, being lead producer for Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach. At 343 he was a senior producer for Halo 4 and executive producer for Halo 5: Guardians.
So what’s happening at 343?
Halo Infinite was delayed in August from launching alongside the new Xbox consoles next month following (but not necessarily due to) a rough fan reaction to its showing at the Xbox Games Showcase event.
Halo Infinite Development Update pic.twitter.com/TFZvXhRN9f
— Halo (@Halo) August 11, 2020
At the time, Lee put out a statement citing the ongoing pandemic among the “development challenges” that had affected the studio.
“It is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday,” Lee said.
The delay paired with yet another high profile loss on the pile is certainly indicative of some developmental difficulties. Former Bungie devs in Joe Staten and Pierre Hintze have been brought in to aid in the campaign and multiplayer’s development since said delay.
With the Xbox Series X/S consoles no longer relying on Halo: Infinite as an incentive to invest at launch, we’ll just have to hope the project isn’t ill-fated and can take advantage of the breathing room to recover. Losing yet another director certainly doesn’t instil hope, however.
Halo: Infinite lacks a firm release date, but is expected to launch in 2021.