The troubling development of Halo Infinite continues to take even more troubling turns as another key executive leaves 343 Industries and the game behind to join a different game studio. While employees and executives shifting around between companies within the industry is nothing new, this shift comes on the heels of another executive leaving the company during a pivotal moment in Halo Infinite's development.
This time, it is executive producer Mary Olson, who quietly departed from 343 Industries to join Midwinter Entertainment, a newly formed development company that is currently working on it's first game, Scavengers. If Olson's name sounds familiar, it's because she recently took over as the Lead Producer for Halo Infinite after the departure of Creative Director Tim Longo earlier this year; however, it should be noted that she did not take the position of Creative Director and was instead tasked with finishing development on the story, not the game as a whole.
It is unclear now why Olson left the company, but from a Reddit post by Unyshek, a 343 Industries employee, the company wishes to express that the recent departure should be of little worry. That is 343 Industries' word against the speculation of those outside of the company. Such departures from high profile names during a game's development does often raise alarm, as swapping out the creative voices in the middle of development, especially when not all story threads have been nailed down and prepped for technical development, can negatively affect the narrative of such a cinematic game.
When high profile games have lost high ranking executives and their creative leads in recent history it has, in some cases, been indicative of internal conflicts within the company. One such example from earlier this year would be the tumultuous development process of Bioware's Anthem, which saw a number of top executives leave before the unsteady launch of both Anthem and Mass Effect: Andromeda, both of which had shaky releases and some of the lowest ratings in Bioware's catalog. While that was a single example of internal struggles leading to a game's unhealthy development, it is hard to say if that is exactly what is happening at 343 Industries and if the same can be expected for Halo Infinite.
It's never great to see different creative leads take control and redirect a story that they hadn't originally designed themselves, and the stakes become excessively high with a narrative as complex as the Halo series. In some cases this can lead to the stories that fans rally behind becoming convoluted and eventually losing the "magic" that launched the series in the first place. However, considering that the overall structure of 343 Industries had never put Olson up as the figurehead, it's still unclear how this shift will affect the game's development.
Halo Infinite is scheduled to release during the 2020 holiday season for PC, Xbox One, and as a launch release for Xbox Scarlett.