343 Industries will reportedly be moving the Halo series to Unreal Engine, following a number of layoffs at the studio.
According to a report from Bloomberg, at least 95 employees at 343 Industries lost their jobs when Microsoft laid off 10,000 employees in January. The report claims that this included dozens of veterans at the studio, and some contractors were told they would not be kept on just days before their contracts expired.
The report adds that due to issues caused by 343’s Slipstream engine when developing Halo Infinite, the studio has decided to develop the franchise using Epic Games‘ Unreal Engine going forward.
The next game – reportedly code-named Tatanka – will make use of Unreal. However, Bloomberg claims that sceptics within the company have voiced concern that the switch will negatively impact the feel of Halo.
It’s also claimed that Tatanka originally started as a battle royale but may shift direction, and is being developed alongside Certain Affinity.
While the changes at 343 prompted rumours that the development of Halo would be moved elsewhere, 343 Industries has denied the claim.
“Halo and Master Chief are here to stay,” reads a statement from 343’s studio head Pierre Hintze. “343 Industries will continue to develop Halo now and in the future, including epic stories, multiplayer, and more of what makes Halo great.”
However, 343’s layoffs have been criticised by Patrick Wren, a former senior multiplayer designer at the studio. “The layoffs at 343 shouldn’t have happened and Halo Infinite should be in a better state,” tweeted Wren, who claimed “incompetent leadership up top during Halo Infinite” caused “massive stress” for developers.
Back in November, Microsoft Studios head Matt Booty acknowledged that Halo Infinite “fell short” in providing post-launch content for players, comparing its launch to “tripping and stumbling as you come across the finish line.”
In other gaming news, Respawn has announced that Apex Legends Mobile is shutting down in May.