Rumor: 343 Industries 'starts from scratch' with Halo, transition to the Unreal Engine
Now thanks to the investigative work of Jason Schreier of Bloomberg, we find out - albeit without having official confirmation - what is happening in the Redmond study.
The newspaper explains that it has seen internal documents to 343 that show how more than 95 employees and collaborators were fired with a few days' notice, including veterans and prominent figures of the firm. This caused some concern within the studio, but the head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty, sent an internal letter to reassure the remaining employees that they will continue to have full control over the development of the franchise, whether it is internal or carried out through external outsourced studios.
But that's not all: Bloomberg also explains that, within the study, many were dissatisfied with the Slipspace Engine, the new engine built on the basis of the old Halo engine, because it is difficult to use and very problematic. Even some multiplayer modes, now ready, have not yet been released due to problems with the engine. Many were therefore pushing for the transition to the more mature Unreal Engine, but it is only after the abandonment last year of the former leader of the studio Bonnie Ross and the former head of the engine David Berger, with the installation of the new leader Pierre Hintze, that it was finally decided to switch to the engine of Epic Games.
The abandonment of the Slipspace will involve both the Multiplayer component and the Campaign: it is no coincidence that Scrheier speaks of a real "restart from scratch" for the studio, with completely restructured teams, a new leadership and a restart of developments on the game, which at this point we can not imagine how long they will take and what shape they will give to the franchise.
The first project in development with the Unreal Engine, however, is already started and in full production: it is the elusive Tatanka developed together with the Texans Certain Affinity, which seems to have started as a Battle Royale mode but may have evolved in a different direction.
In the study, however, some remain skeptical about the success of the transition to the EU, because, according to them, it would change the feeling of the game and what has made Halo what it has been so far. However, it seems that it is a necessary change, which could also bring a breath of fresh air to the franchise.
Of course, this does not mean that 343 will abruptly stop development on the current Halo Infinite, especially on F2P multiplayer which is still going very well: in an email sent to staff after the layoffs, studio head Pierre Hintze wrote that 343's current plan is to support "a robust live offering" for Halo Infinite and the new creation tool Forge, and to "kick-start our new technology stack" (intended as the move to EU) for future Halo games, as well as "bringing Halo to more players across more platforms than ever before."
We now wait to find out what the next steps of the American studio will be.