Change is afoot at Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries, a mere year before Halo Infinite is due to arrive as Project Scarlett launch title. Not only did creative director Tim Longo leave 343 Industries a couple of months ago but now executive producer Mary Olson has also announced she’s left.
Olson took over the campaign team as lead producer shortly after Tim Longo departed and yet she’s already moved on to pastures new at Midwinter Entertainment. It’s all sparked consternation among Halo fans who are naturally worried about what’s in store for Halo Infinite, particularly since Halo 5: Guardians arrived to a mixed reception.
343 Industries has moved swiftly to address the departures though and in a statement from the community manager reiterated that the staff turnover will have no impact on the end product.
“I’d like to reassure everyone that the entire Halo Infinite team is rallying behind the game and is working hard to make sure we can execute on its vision,” wrote 343 Industries community manager John Junyzsek. “Tim’s role as Creative Director was to help make creative decisions around the design and direction of the game – whether it was campaign, multiplayer, etc. Mary’s role as an Executive Producer and then Lead Producer on Campaign was to help drive the game to its completion for our holiday 2020 release date – with the latter specifically focusing on campaign deliverables.
Unfortunately the thread’s title saying, “He was replaced with Mary Olson and she also left,” is far from accurate. It implies that Mary took over creative control of the entire game, didn’t like what she saw, and then decided to leave. If that’s what actually happened, I could totally understand getting worried – but that isn’t the case, as she was a Lead Producer and not a new Creative Director.
In a nutshell, Junyzsek is saying the producer is the whip-cracker and has no creative control. Their job is to get Halo Infinite ready for when it should be. The role of creative director is a different matter entirely, but this is a position which changed some months ago. Whether that’s something which ultimately affects Halo Infinite, we’ll have to wait and see. There’s a desire to read into these things more than we perhaps should do, particularly when it’s just one (pretty large) cog in a giant machine.
But, it's probably about time we began to see what Halo Infinite is all about. That reveal trailer in 2018 definitely got our appetite going but the E3 2019 trailer left a lot to be desired. We're still completely in the dark on just how radical this revamp for the Halo franchise is but as the spearhead of the next-gen Xbox console launch it's going to need to pack some serious heat when it's up against the PS5 and Knack 3.