Despite being hit hard by layoffs just a few weeks ago, Phil Spencer says that 343 Industries is still the "heart and soul" of Halo, and that the studio is "critically important" to the success of the series.
Two weeks ago, Microsoft announced that it was going to cut 10,000 jobs by the end of March, including some from its gaming division. Although Bethesda and The Coalition were reportedly affected by the layoffs, 343 Industries seems to have been hit the hardest, with some suggesting that nearly a quarter of its workforce had been let go. This instantly started rumours that Halo had been taken away from the studio, which it was quick to deny.
Phil Spencer has commented on the situation with 343 Industries in a recent interview with IGN, reassuring fans of Halo that the studio remains the "heart and soul" of the series still, once again debunking the rumours that 343 will be less involved with the Halo series moving forward.
Spencer said, "Halo will remain critically important to what Xbox is doing, and 343 is critically important to the success of Halo. In terms of support studios and other things, that's just part of development and having other partners help us. But the heart and soul of Halo is with 343 and the team that's there, and I have the utmost confidence in the team that's there and leading and the plan that they have going forward.
Spencer also spoke about some of the issues with Halo Infinite over the past year, acknowledging that 343 built a "great Halo game", but that there were some missteps along the way in terms of updates and additional content that hasn't lived up to Xbox's standard. Despite the middling reception to Infinite in recent months, Spencer seems confident about the future of both Halo and 343 Industries.
Spencer said, "At the same time, when we launched that game, we know we needed to make some commitments to people about the content updates and our timing on those and the quality, and we didn't hit our own bar for doing that. I believe in the team that's there, Pierre and the leadership team, and the plan that they have."
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