343 Industries
Company typeDivision
IndustryVideo games
Founded2007; 17 years ago (2007)
FounderBonnie Ross
Headquarters,
US
Key people
Pierre Hintze (studio head)
ProductsHalo series
ParentXbox Game Studios
Website343industries.com

343 Industries is an American video game developer located in Redmond, Washington, part of Xbox Game Studios. Headed by Pierre Hintze, the studio is responsible for the Halo series of military science fiction games, originally created and produced by Bungie, and is the developer of the Slipspace Engine. Named after the Halo character 343 Guilty Spark, the studio was established in 2007 after the departure of Bungie after the release of Halo 3.

After co-developing downloadable content for Halo: Reach, Bungie's final Halo game, 343 Industries released Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 4, the latter starting the studio's "Reclaimer Saga" of the mainline games.

Formation

Bungie was a video game developer working on their next project when they were acquired by Microsoft in 2000. Their in-development game, Halo: Combat Evolved, turned into a launch title for Microsoft's Xbox console. Bungie and Microsoft's cultures never meshed, and after the release of Halo 2 Bungie began renegotiating for better profit sharing for their next game, Halo 3. These discussions led to Bungie announcing its independence from Microsoft in 2007. While Bungie was still contracted to deliver new Halo games, the rights to the franchise remained with Microsoft.[1][2][3][4] Xbox general manager Bonnie Ross recalled that her colleagues felt Halo was a waning property and looked at contracting an outside company to produce new games;[5][6]: 21:45–23:00  the series's deep backstory and universe appealed to Ross, and she argued for a different approach.[6]: 26:15–27:05  Ross' pitch won over Microsoft Game Studios general manager Shane Kim, and she was put in charge of a new internal Halo studio, 343 Industries, named after the Halo character 343 Guilty Spark.[3][7][8][9][10]

343 Industries started with a staff of roughly a dozen people in late 2007.[6]: 28:22  Bungie staffer Frank O'Connor assisted in the transition, and quit Bungie to serve as 343 Industries' franchise director.[5][1] Ross' vision for Halo also impressed Microsoft art director Kiki Wolfkill, who joined the team as a studio head.[1] During the transition, 343 Industries worked with the company Starlight Runner to interview Bungie staff and compile a centralized story bible for the universe. 343 Industries also worked with Bungie on their last Halo projects, Halo 3: ODST (2009) and Reach (2010).[6]: 30:50 [11][12][failed verification]

Development

In July 2009, it was announced that 343 Industries was working on a seven-part Halo anime series called Halo Legends.[13] Later that year the studio created Halo Waypoint, a downloadable application that tracks a user's Halo accomplishments.[14] 343 Industries also increased staff for Halo development, recruiting staff from the defunct Pandemic Studios.[15] 343 Industries also collaborated with Certain Affinity on Halo: Reach's second and third map packs. The company was responsible for the remastered version of Halo: Combat Evolved, titled Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, which was released on November 15, 2011, to celebrate the 10th year since the release of the first franchise installment on November 15, 2001.

Following Bungie's completion of their last Halo title, Halo: Reach, 343 Industries was eventually given complete control of the Halo franchise including servers and data on March 31, 2012. The studio's development of Halo 4, which began in 2009, was completed in September.[16] It was released on November 6, 2012, as the first title of a new Halo Reclaimer Trilogy which will include at least two more installments over the years. At E3 2013, Microsoft and 343 Industries announced the next "Halo" installment set for release on the Xbox One. Shortly after the announcement, the Reclaimer Trilogy was confirmed by Microsoft Studios corporate vice-president Phil Spencer to be expanded into a Reclaimer Saga.[17] The following year at E3 2014, the official title was revealed as "Halo 5: Guardians" along with plans for its release on October 27, 2015. Microsoft, in a contract with Mega Bloks, is in conjunction with 343 Industries to manufacture a new line of toys and other memorabilia for the upcoming Halo saga.[18] Halo 5: Guardians was released on October 27, 2015, with semi-exclusive content to those who purchased select Mega Bloks sets. 343 Industries has since released free monthly content updates since Halo 5's launch.

At E3 2018, Microsoft Studios and 343 Industries announced the next Halo game, titled Halo Infinite, which was originally scheduled to launch in holiday 2020 for Xbox One and Windows PCs, in addition to being a launch title for the next Xbox console, the Xbox Series X.[19] However, the game was delayed to release in 2021, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the 343 staff to switch to remote work.[20] Infinite was the first game to be developed using 343's in-house Slipspace Engine.[21]

After Infinite's release, 343 Industries supported the game via updates. On September 12, 2022, Bonnie Ross announced she would step down as studio head. Following her departure, her responsibilities were split into three positions. Pierre Hintze took over as studio head, Bryan Koski became GM of the franchise and Elizabeth Van Wyck took over business and operations.[22] Amid wider layoffs in the tech industry and Microsoft, 343 Industries was heavily affected,[23] and Bloomberg News reported the studio would be making large changes to its development structure going forward.[24]

Games developed

Year Game Platform(s) Notes
2011 Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary[25] Xbox 360 Collaboration with Saber Interactive
2012 Halo 4[26] Collaboration with Certain Affinity
2013 Halo: Spartan Assault[27] iOS, Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox 360, Xbox One Collaboration with Vanguard Games
2014 Halo: The Master Chief Collection[28] Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X/S Includes Halo: Reach, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and Halo 4
2015 Halo: Spartan Strike[29] iOS, Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone Collaboration with Vanguard Games
2015 Halo 5: Guardians[30] Xbox One Halo 5: Forge was released on Microsoft Windows
2016 Halo Wars: Definitive Edition Microsoft Windows, Xbox One Collaboration with Behaviour Interactive
2017 Halo Wars 2 Collaboration with Creative Assembly
Halo Recruit Microsoft Windows Collaboration with Endeavor One
2018 Halo: Fireteam Raven Arcade Cabinet Collaboration with Play Mechanix and Endeavor One
2021 Halo Infinite[31] Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S Collaboration with SkyBox Labs, Sperasoft, The Coalition and Certain Affinity[32][33][34][35]

References

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