Developers who previously worked on Halo Infinite have spoken out against Microsoft’s leadership in the wake of the company’s recent announcement of massive layoffs. In case you missed it, on January 18, Microsoft stated that by the end of the fiscal year 2023, they would be eliminating 10,000 employees.
Microsoft’s game sector is reportedly affected as well, meaning that layoffs might affect people at the Xbox division, 343 Industries, and Bethesda. Through a series of acquisitions in the 2010s, Microsoft began to increase its clout in the video gaming business.
Rapid expansion followed its 2018 purchases of Obsidian Entertainment and Ninja Theory, with the addition of ZeniMax Media in 2020 and the widely publicized early 2021 attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard. At this point, these massive investments appear to be starting to bear fruit.
After these events transpired, it was revealed that 343 Industries, the company behind Halo Infinite, would undergo a period of organizational change. Many disgruntled ex-343 Industries workers have resorted to social media to vent their ire and place the responsibility for Halo Infinite’s failure squarely on Microsoft’s layoffs.
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On Twitter, former senior multiplayer designer of Halo Infinite Patrick Wren expressed his opinion that the layoffs at 343 Industries and the current state of Halo Infinite should never have occurred because of ineffective leadership at the helm of the game’s development, which put undue pressure on the team’s efforts to make the game the best it could be.
The layoffs at 343 shouldn't have happened and Halo Infinite should be in a better state. The reason for both of those things is incompetent leadership up top during Halo Infinite development causing massive stress on those working hard to make Halo the best it can be.
— Patrick Wren (@Witdarkstar) January 19, 2023
Former Halo developer Tyler Owens took to Twitter to air his complaints with Microsoft, claiming that the company’s policies are what are ultimately killing off the Halo Infinite series. Owens believes Microsoft has set up the Halo series to fail because of the company’s cutthroat contracting procedures meant to maximize tax incentives and the layoffs that have been dished out despite the company’s enormous earnings and executive bonuses.
It looks like we might finally find out what actually went wrong so woefully within 343 and the development of Halo Infinite. There is absolutely a crazy story there. Such a shame how things ended up for an IP that had (still has) immense potential.
— Gaz (@Gazondaily) January 19, 2023
The gaming community and the gaming industry have good reason to be concerned about these developments. It’s important to remember that Microsoft employs over 220,000 people worldwide. Even if the company wanted to cut 5 percent of that number, it would have a mechanism for continuing game production and other operations. Launched simultaneously for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, Halo Infinite is now available.
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