Even more saddening news for Halo Infinite fans as reports indicates that the director of the game, Chris Lee, has officially left the project. Lee is still a 343 Industries and Microsoft employee, but his separation is the most recent bump to a project that is already hurt by a massive delay.
Despite fans undoubtedly still supporting the latest addition to the famous franchise, Halo Infinite faces a myriad of issues almost from day one of development. Technical problems meant a totally new game engine had to be assembled in order to survive.
Early fan feedback to the Halo Infinite’s gameplay was mostly negative, especially concerning its gameplay and graphics. Expanded outsourcing resulted in rumors of creative differences haunting the development team.
While production was in process, the coronavirus pandemic was also in full swing. In addition, it also appeared that the initiative just couldn’t hold on to its leads. Tim Longo, the original creative director of 343 Industries, the studio developing Halo Infinite, abandoned the project as well as the studio suddenly last August 2019, a withdrawal which remains totally unexplained but cast deep uncertainties on the progress of the game.
Mary Olson, who took over as Halo Infinite’s lead producer upon Longo’s leave also left the team shortly thereafter, as well. Chris Lee, a partner head at 343 Industries who has been with the company since 2008, has been leading the game’s production as the project director until this recent unexplainable exit, which doubtfully comes just a few months after the announcement that the game will be delayed to 2021, removing it out of the release window of Microsoft’s next-gen consoles.
Lee’s separation from Halo Infinite mirrors Tim Longo’s in that there has been no legit reason for why both directors left the project. However, there are rumors that Lee felt underappreciated by the inclusion of former Bungie and Halo writer Joe Staten and Pierre Hintz, 343 Industries’ Head of Halo Publishing, to assist in pushing the plagued game to the finish line.
Lee provided a statement to Bloomberg which simply said:
“I have stepped back from Infinite and I am looking at future opportunities. 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.”
The only reply of Microsoft to his statement has been to give gratitude and support to Lee, but likewise offers no other information as to why the third major lead of Halo Infinite has chosen to step aside. Lee still remains as a Microsoft employee, which implies that he might have left the project due to valid reasons.
However, that and the addition of both Staten and Hintz surely adds credibility to the speculations that there are creative differences that are haunting Halo Infinite’s development than the ongoing pandemic.