Joseph Staten, an industry veteran hired to help ship Halo Infinite, is now leaving 343 Industries to rejoin Xbox’s publishing division. This is a result of mass layoffs at Microsoft and the studio’s restructuring.
Shortly after Microsoft announced it was laying off 10,000 people, Bloomberg reported that job cuts would also affect the company’s gaming divisions, including the teams behind Starfield and Halo Infinite.
It is unclear how many people at Bethesda Game Studios and 343 Industries will lose their jobs, but 343 Industries studio head Pierre Hintze told staff in an email that the company has decided to “restructure elements of our team, which means some roles are being eliminated.”
As a result, Joseph Staten will step down as the studio’s creative leader and will rejoin Xbox’s publishing division.
Who is Joseph Staten?
- Staten started his game development career in 1998 when he joined Bungie as project manager for Myth II: Soulblighter. He then worked as a writer and designer on the action game Oni.
- Between 2000 and 2009, he had different positions at Microsoft, working on titles like Halo, Halo 2, Halo: Reach, and Halo Wars.
- Staten rejoined Bungie in 2009 to serve as writer and co-creative director for the first Destiny game.
- After that, he became a senior creative director at Microsoft where he helped a number of teams realize their creative vision, worked with different publishing partners, and contributed to the production of titles like Flight Simulator, State of Decay 2, and As Dusk Falls.
- In 2020, Staten was hired by 343 Industries to help steer Halo Infinite to the finish line. He mentored other developers, served as creative leader for the 500-person team, and finalized the vision for the game’s single-player campaign and multiplayer.
Looking back at the exodus of talent from 343 Industries
Microsoft’s first-party studio has lost a number of experienced developers in recent years. One of the first people to leave the team was studio head Chris Lee who announced his departure in 2020, shortly after Halo Infinite’s delay.
In 2022, 343 Industries lost more key employees, including art director Nicolas Bouvier, lead writer Aaron Linde, design lead Jerry Hook, lead multiplayer designer Andrew Witts, and technical director David Berger.
The list of departure developers also includes 343 Industries founder Bonnie Ross. She cited a “family medical issue” as the main reason, and her role was split between three people, Pierre Hintze, Bryan Koski, and Elizabeth Van Wyck.