Halo Infinite Studio Head is leaving after a string of departures

Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries, featured on stage at E3 2015.

Photo: Marc Ralston (Getty Images)

Since 343 Industries has existed, Bonnie Ross has been responsible for it. Not anymore. The Microsoft veteran announced on Monday that she will be leaving the studio in charge of Infinite Halo to deal with a family medical problem. It’s the latest high-profile departure on a pivotal Xbox game that continues to face great challenges approaching his first birthday.

“While I was hoping to stay with Halo until we release the winter update i will let you know that i will be leaving 343 and attending to a family medical issue,” Ross tweeted today. She said she was incredibly proud of all the work 343 Industries had done on the Halo franchise, and called its future “bright”.

Microsoft revealed to Windows Central that Ross will be replaced by three people instead of one. Associate production manager, Pierre Hintze, will become the new studio manager, head of Halo marketing, Bryan Koski, will become general manager of the franchise and current head of Halo operations, Elizabeth Van Wyck will continue to oversee the business side. While some fans interpreted Ross’s departure as a temporary move, Microsoft confirmed that she was definitely leave the company.

Ross has been with Microsoft since 2005 and spent 15 of those years running 343 Industries, a studio the tech giant created to take control Halo after series creator Bungie left to become an independent studio again. 343 Industries has since shipped Halo 4, Halo: The Master Chief Collectionand Halo 5: Guardiansin addition to several spin-offs and even a tv show.

Currently, however, the series is facing a difficult climb as the latest release, 2021 Infinite Halo, continues to struggle during its post-launch phase as a live service game. Recently, 343 Industries announced that a long-awaited feature promised at launch, local split-screen co-op, has been cancelledand that the game’s third multiplayer season would be delayed until 2023.

These setbacks come as big names continue to come out of 343 Industries. In March, lead multiplayer designer Andrew Witts left. In May, Infinite Halo design manager, Jerry Hook, who had worked at Microsoft and on Halo for nearly two decades, left to create a new studio with funding from NetEase.

Whereas Infinite HaloThe main campaign was praised by critics when it launched, it faced its own delay, and the build-up was also marked by departures. Creative director Tim Longo and executive producer Mary Olson both left the project in August 2019. In October 2020, then-Infinite Halo director Chris Lee has announced that he is also leaving 343 Industries after Bloomberg reported that he had already been sidelined in the game’s development.

Now out in the wild, players are pinning their hopes on the future of gaming in the forge, its content creator mode. Originally slated to arrive earlier this year, it was delayed to August and then again until November. Even so, players who already have access to the tests for it create really cool stuff.

Update: 2:59 PM ET, 9/12/2022: Added a comment from Microsoft on how 343 Industries will be restructured in Ross’s absence.

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