Microsoft’s New Halo Game Loses Top Director After Project Delay

Turbulence continues on Microsoft Corp.’s Halo Infinite video game with the departure of the project’s director.

Chris Lee, who oversaw production of Halo Infinite at 343 Industries, which is developing the game for Microsoft, is no longer working on it, he confirmed to Bloomberg News on Wednesday. Lee is the second top director on the project to leave in the past two years.

“I have stepped back from Infinite and I am looking at future opportunities,” Lee said. “I believe in the team and am confident they will deliver a great game and now is a good time for me to step away.”

Microsoft’s New Halo Game Loses Top Director After Project Delay

The highly anticipated next Halo installment was originally slated to come out alongside Microsoft’s launch of its next-generation Xbox Series X console in November. The game was delayed in early August, however, following poor fan reception to an early public version. Lee’s role was sidelined a few weeks later, as Microsoft brought in Halo veteran Joe Staten to lead the single-player campaign and another senior executive, Pierre Hintze, to run multiplayer.

Lee has been at 343 Industries since 2008, a year after its founding, overseeing the Halo series. Since 2016, his title has been partner studio head.

“Chris Lee remains a Microsoft employee and while he has stepped back from Halo: Infinite right now, we appreciate all he has done for the project to date,” Microsoft said in an emailed statement.

The development of Halo Infinite has been rocky. In August 2019, 343 Industries lost its creative director, Tim Longo, and executive producer, Mary Olson. At the time, the company said that “the overall creative vision and production of the game remains led by Chris Lee.”

Pushing the game’s release beyond November was a blow for Microsoft, which was relying on the game to help sell new Xbox consoles in the holiday season. Retail boxes for the Xbox Series X still feature artwork of Master Chief, the main character of Halo.

Halo Infinite doesn’t currently have a release date, but 343 has said it will be out next year.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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