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Halo franchise executive leaves 343 Industries in latest shakeup

Frank O’Connor is out at the Halo Infinite studio weeks after another big departure

Artwork of Halo Infinite season 3, with a variety of Spartans in armor and a large spire behind them 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.

Just weeks after the departure of Halo creative leader Joseph Staten from Microsoft comes confirmation that another Halo veteran, Halo franchise creative director Frank O’Connor, has left its subsidiary, 343 Industries.

A company spokesperson confirmed to Polygon in a statement Monday that O’Connor was no longer with Microsoft, saying, “We thank Frank for his numerous contributions to the Halo franchise and wish him well going forward.” The reason for O’Connor’s departure wasn’t announced, but according to his LinkedIn profile, he has the title “franchise creative director” at a separate unnamed company.

O’Connor and Staten’s departures from Microsoft and the Halo franchise are the latest in a long list of leadership changes for the brand. Longtime head of Halo developer 343 Industries Bonnie Ross announced her departure from the studio in September 2022, with 343 production head Pierre Hintze stepping up as studio head.

These departures join similar senior-level shakeups that include former Halo multiplayer creative director Tom French, who left 343 Industries in December; Halo Infinite head of design Jerry Hook, who left 343 Industries last May; and Halo Infinite art director Nicolas Bouvier, who left 343 last July after 14 years with the company. Another longtime face of the franchise, Kiki Wolfkill, transitioned from 343 studio head for Halo transmedia and entertainment to head of IP expansion and entertainment at Microsoft. Wolfkill, O’Connor, and Ross all served as executive producers on Paramount’s Halo TV series.

343 Industries was further affected by layoffs in January, when Microsoft announced it was cutting 10,000 employees from its global workforce. The Halo studio was reportedly “hit hard,” losing more than 90 employees and transitioning to new technology — from the in-house Slipspace Engine to Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 for new projects — and “all but starting from scratch” after a series of other changes.

With ever more changes coming to the studio, and old blood leaving, it will surely make many fans of the franchise wonder what’s next for Halo. For the time being, 343 studio head Pierre Hintze says “Halo and Master Chief are here to stay.”

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