Several sources report that David Berger, engineering director at 343 Industries, will be leaving the studio in the coming weeks.
Lords of Gaming initially reported the story, claiming two anonymous sources, and Windows Central followed up with a similar report. 343 Industries has helmed the Halo franchise for more than ten years, ever since Bungie’s exodus from Microsoft. The team is responsible for the more recent slate of Halo titles, such as Halo 4, Halo 5: Guardians, and 2021’s Halo Infinite. However, the company is in very hot water with fans right now and appears to be suffering from severe staff turnover.
It was only a couple of days ago that Bonnie Ross, founder of 343 and its studio head for the past 15 years, publicly announced her exit from the company, stating simply that she’s attending to a family medical issue. Public departures of higher-ups are regrettably common for 343. During the game’s development back in 2020, co-lead Chris Lee left the company without giving much of a tangible reason why. Now, Berger, who’s been tenured in 343 for 14 years and led development on Halo Infinite’s proprietary game engine, may be departing as well.
Though Halo Infinite’s campaign was well-received and most players praise its fundamental gameplay, many consider its content output as a live-service game to have been lackluster since it released, and fan backlash is at its highest yet. 343 recently revealed several delays to previously announced features. The beta for Halo’s ever-popular Forge mode was delayed two months, while the campaign co-op was delayed three (both will arrive in November).
Local split-screen for the campaign was canceled entirely, with the statement that this was done “to better address player feedback.” Season 3 of the game was pushed back to March 2023. Season 2 began in May 2022, meaning it’s going to be 10 months total before fans get a sizable chunk of new content.
More than ever, talk is popping up from industry commentators, and Halo players in general, that perhaps it’s time to hand the reins of the franchise, inarguably one of Microsoft’s most recognized IPs, to a different studio; perhaps one of their recently acquired studios, such as those in the Bethesda or Activision families.