Halo 4‘s creative director, Ryan Payton, one of the producers for Metal Gear Solid 4, has left 343 Industries, citing he was not “creatively excited” by the title anymore. We can’t really blame him – there are so many Halo games and it’s a tough balance to change things up without ruining what fans like about the previous iterations.
For the worried fans of this potentially blow to the game’s production and quality, Payton’s departure has not affected development of Halo 4 in an adverse way, according to 343 Industries’ franchise development director, Frank O’Connor.
We had earlier talked about about Payton and his Halo 4 departure, who gave his own thoughts about his leaving 343 Industries, but O’Connor went into what that meant, or rather didn’t mean for Halo 4‘s development. O’Connor went so far as to say that other staffers at the development house wouldn’t have known what Payton’s contributions were. Payton had worked on the narrative design, specifically the involvement of cutscenes and how they would be used to convey story.
Halo 4 will see the return of Master Chief and will lay the foundation for many Halo games to come, representing the first installment in the series called “The Reclaimer Trilogy.” 343 Industries is excited to take the series in a new direction and see Halo 4 as starting a new generation of Halo games with the franchise poster boy back in the player’s control.
At the Tokyo Game Show, Frank O’Connor spoke to CVG regarding Payton’s leaving the company and what it would mean for the development team – here’s what he said on the subject:
“He was working on the narrative design on the game. I absolutely get that in some ways he was making a game with cinematics and for want of a better term – fairly conventional storytelling.”
“I don’t want to speak for him, that’s so unfair, but definitely coming from his Japanese narrative background, the narrative design stuff that he was doing with Halo was very sort of European-American style of conventional narrative story-telling.”
“I can absolutely see why he wouldn’t find that challenging and innovative. I wish him well. He wasn’t working on game design at all.”
People who played Metal Gear Solid 4 have seen Payton’s handiwork first hand and might know MGS4 as having some of the most awe-inspring cinematics in videogame history. It’s a shame he felt unable to bring his Japanese inspired sensibilities to Halo 4, but that’s the way the Caloriemate crumbles.
O’Connor also discussed the publicity of Payton’s departure and attributed it to a well known name leaving, likening it to if O’Connor himself had left the company.
Not having gameplay elements of Halo 4 affected by Payton’s leaving might reassure fans that the controller time they’ll have on the title will still remain strong, whenever those elements get revealed.
Halo 4 releases Q4 2012 exclusively for Xbox 360.
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