In August, Microsoft confirmed that Halo: Infinite creative director Tim Longo had left 343 Industries, and that as a result, executive producer Mary Olson "will now take charge of the Campaign team on Halo Infinite as the Lead Producer, utilizing her many years of experience at 343 to help craft a great campaign for fans." Some of those fans were a little unnerved to learn over the weekend that Olson has also left the studio, to become head of production at indie developer Midwinter Entertainment.
Despite the loss of two high-profile developers in such a short span, 343 said on Reddit that her departure isn't something for Halo fans to worry about. Community manager John Junyszek said the title of a thread describing Olson as Longo's replacement is "super misleading," because it suggests that she stepped into Longo's role and then bailed out when she saw the state of development. There would be cause for concern if that's actually what happened, Junyszek said, but it's not.
"Tim’s role as Creative Director was to help make creative decisions around the design and direction of the game—whether it was campaign, multiplayer, etc," he explained. "Mary’s role as an Executive Producer and then Lead Producer on Campaign was to help drive the game to its completion for our holiday 2020 release date—with the latter specifically focusing on campaign deliverables."
"Producers at our studio support designers, engineers, artists, etc. by helping each of them track and hit deliverables. They also ensure the people they support are not overwhelmed with too much work and have all the tools and information needed to hit their deadlines. To put it simply, producers are the ones tasked with making sure the studio is always moving forward—even our Community Team has a producer to ensure we’re tracking our deliverables; blogs, social media posts, flighting emails, and whatever pops up in between."
Bottom line, Junyszek, said, "There is no creative dilemma inside the studio, and there’s no writing on the walls."
Halo Infinite is expected to come out during the 2020 holiday season, and so far neither 343 nor Microsoft have had much to say about it—which is probably one of the reasons the Halo community can be a little jumpy when it looks like things aren't going right. It's built on a new engine, "may" have more RPG elements than previous games, might have microtransactions but won't have loot boxes, and probably won't have a battle royale mode. Check the full rundown of everything we know (and some things we suspect) here.