Microsoft has announced a somewhat unusual hiring decision, indicating that former Bungie writer and cinematics director Joseph Staten has been placed at 343 Industries as project lead for Halo: Infinite's single player campaign.
News of the move first came out on Bloomberg, but was later confirmed on Halo Waypoint (the official 343 Industries outlet for Halo news) as well as Staten's own Twitter. Staten started out working with Bungie on the original Halo, and stayed with them until 2013 as co-creative director on Destiny when he left a year before that game's launch. He's been working with Microsoft since then and just recently helped Dontnod on Tell Me Why, which launched today. Staten remained involved with the Halo franchise indirectly, writing the novella Shadow of Intent for 343 Industries.
While it should be good news that somebody involved with the original Halo and its narrative direction is coming into help, it's also concerning that the project needs that sort of help in the first place. Halo: Infinite was recently delayed until an indeterminate time in 2021, a serious blow to Microsoft's Xbox Series X launch plans this November. Between the delay and the fan disappointment at a reveal last month, it certainly appears the project has not gone as smoothly as 343 Industries or Microsoft has wanted, though some of the more outlandish rumors which have spawned (such as a drop in Xbox One support or a 2022 release window) have been thoroughly dismissed by 343 Industries.
Food For Thought
Given that the reasons surrounding the delay have not been sufficiently explained by Microsoft, Staten's appointment would indicate that Microsoft recognizes the project is not where it needs to be and is bringing in the sort of talent needed to get it back on track. How quickly after the start of 2021 Halo: Infinite will be coming out will either be a testament to Staten's abilities or an indicator of how far 343 Industries had drifted.