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Netflix nabs ex-Halo, Destiny creative director to lead new game franchise

Joseph Staten is working on a ‘brand-new AAA multiplatform game and original IP’ for Netflix Games

Halo Infinite - Master Chief holding his helmet at his side Image: 343 Industries/Xbox Game Studios
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The co-creator of the Halo and Destiny franchises, Joseph Staten, is now at Netflix, where he’ll serve as creative director on a “brand-new AAA multiplatform game and original IP,” he announced Monday. Staten announced his departure from Microsoft, where he served as senior creative director and head of creative on Halo Infinite, earlier this month.

“In my work life, there’s nothing I love more than collaborating with others to build worlds filled with iconic characters, deep mysteries, and endless adventures,” Staten said in a tweet about his new role at Netflix. “So today, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve joined Netflix Games as Creative Director for a brand-new AAA multiplatform game and original IP. Let’s go!”

The hiring of Staten signals a key investment from Netflix for its games division, which last month announced it had 16 games in development at its in-house game studios, and 70 in development with third-party partners. Netflix’s owned games studios include Night School Studio, Boss Fight Entertainment, Next Games, Moonloot, and Spry Fox.

“Our goal is to develop a broad portfolio of games — in different genres and formats — because we believe everyone can find joy in games if they discover the one (or many!) that is right for them,” said Leanne Loombe, vice president for external games at Netflix, in March.

Staten was a longtime staffer at Bungie and Microsoft, serving as a creative lead “responsible for developing the story foundations of the Halo universe,” and writing “multi-season, serial stories and expanded fiction” for Destiny as a co-creative lead, according to his LinkedIn profile. In 2013, ahead of the launch of the original Destiny, Staten left Bungie after a 15-year career there to rejoin Microsoft and work with Xbox Games Studios’ global publishing group. He joined Halo developer 343 Industries in 2020 to work on Halo Infinite and ship that game on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Netflix kicked off its push into gaming in 2021, focusing mainly on mobile games based on its original IP, like Stranger Things. The streaming company has since acquired a number of mobile gaming deal exclusives, bringing titles like Spiritfarer, Terra Nil, Immortality, Poinpy, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge to mobile platforms as part of a regular Netflix subscription.

The company’s shift to gaming coincides with an increasing number of game adaptations for Netflix, including hits like League of Legends spinoff Arcane, The Cuphead Show, and the anime Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, and forthcoming projects based on BioShock, Dragon Age, Pokémon, and Tomb Raider.

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