Yesterday, it was revealed that 343 Industries’ Mary Olson, who was lead producer on the campaign for Halo Infinite, had departed the studio. Since this wasn’t an official announcement (it was discovered on her LinkedIn), there was concern among fans. After all, Olson, already an executive producer at 343 Industries, was brought in to take charge of the campaign after Tim Longo, the former creative director, left the project in August.
343 Industries community manager John Junyzsek has now made a statement, seeking to assuage any concerns about Olson leaving. On Reddit, Junyzsek said, “I wanted to jump in and clarify what Tim & Mary’s roles were at the studio, because there seems to be quite a bit of confusion here. Before that happens though, I’d like to reassure everyone that the entire Halo Infinite team is rallying behind the game and is working hard to make sure we can execute on its vision.
“Tim’s role as Creative Director was to help make creative decisions around the design and direction of the game – whether it was campaign, multiplayer, etc. Mary’s role as an Executive Producer and then Lead Producer on Campaign was to help drive the game to its completion for our holiday 2020 release date – with the latter specifically focusing on campaign deliverables.”
Addressing the Reddit thread’s title of Olson replacing Longo, Junyzsek said “Unfortunately the thread’s title saying, ‘He was replace with Mary Olson and she also left,’ is far from accurate. It implies that Mary took over creative control of the entire game, didn’t like what she saw, and then decided to leave. If that’s what actually happened, I could totally understand getting worried – but that isn’t the case, as she was a Lead Producer and not a new Creative Director.”
“Producers at our studio support designers, engineers, artists, etc. by helping each of them track and hit deliverables. They also ensure the people they support are not overwhelmed with too much work and have all the tools and information needed to hit their deadlines. To put it simply, producers are the ones tasked with making sure the studio is always moving forward – even our Community Team has a producer to ensure we’re tracking our deliverables; blogs, social media posts, flighting emails, and whatever pops up in between.”
He also noted his excitement of Olson joining Midwinter Entertainment, where former 343 studio head Josh Holmes is currently working. At the end, Junyzsek once again clarified that the Reddit title thread was “super misleading” and “There is no creative dilemma inside the studio, and there’s no writing on the walls.”
It’s understandable for a fan base to be concerned, especially if a specific developer’s role in the process isn’t completely clarified at the outset. As such, in my opinion, it’s possible Olson was already slated to leave for Midwinter and managed Halo Infinite’s campaign in her remaining months. We’ll now have to wait and see if anyone else is assigned to the project in a leading role to continue work on the same.
Halo Infinite is out in Holiday 2020 for Xbox One, Project Scarlett and PC. It will be launching alongside Scarlett.