343 Industries

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There is more information available on this subject at 343 Industries on the English Wikipedia.
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343 Industries, commonly shortened to 343i or 343, is a subsidiary of Microsoft Studios located in Kirkland, Washington. It is tasked with overseeing the Halo franchise and creating new properties for the series. The team's name is a reference to 343 Guilty Spark, the monitor of Installation 04.

Background[edit]

Origin[edit]

Before the formation of 343 Industries in 2007, the Microsoft Game Studios Franchise Development Group (MGSFDG) was responsible for expanding Microsoft's video game franchises. A prominent example of their contribution in the Halo franchise would be book publication arrangement with book publishers, Ballantine Books and Tor Books.[1][2]

Establishment in 2007[edit]

Following the end of partnership between Bungie and Microsoft 2007, Microsoft sought to form an internal studio from its internal development group to oversee the future developments of the Halo franchise.[3] 343 Industries was established, with a number of Bungie employees having transferred to the internal studio, namely Frank O'Connor and Chad Armstrong (still keeping the number of ex-Bungie employees under five). To expand the internal team, 343 Industries hired several of its employees from the Halo community, including Jeremy Patenaude and Jacob Benton of Ascendant Justice and Jessica Shea of Hawty McBloggy.

343's first project was Halo Waypoint, a downloadable Xbox LIVE application developed in conjunction with Certain Affinity and released in 2009. Its content is also available on the official Halo website at Xbox.com. Certain Affinity also created the maps in the Defiant Map Pack, the first map pack to be released by 343.

343 Industries' first game release, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, was developed in conjunction with Saber Interactive and released in 2011. Their first major in-studio game project was Halo 4, the first game in a new saga.

In 2010, 343 released the first episode of their official podcast, entitled 343 Sparkast. After Bungie announced they would discontinue Halo-related Bungie Weekly Updates in July 7, 2011, 343 Industries started publishing the Halo Bulletin, a weekly writeup of Halo news.[4]

Media interconnectivity[edit]

Although Halo "expanded universe" fiction has always shared the same continuity as the games, under Bungie's watch material from outside the games was generally regarded as ancillary and was rarely intertwined with the games in a significant way; references to the novels, for instance, rarely amounted to more than throwaway lines. An effort was made to keep different pieces of media as their own, self-contained "bubbles," so that they would not have a significant impact on other stories. For example, Frank O'Connor stated that the story of Halo Wars effectively exists in a bubble, having little bearing on the Halo story at large. According to O'Connor, this approach was "safer" from a development perspective, but it made many pieces of fiction seem extraneous or "disposable," as they had no crucial impact on one another.[5]

Circa 2008, however, 343 Industries adopted a new approach, deciding that all future media they released would be fictionally interconnected. This includes further integrating the fiction of the games and the novels into a seamless whole, with different pieces of media complementing one another in a meaningful way. Even though the main game series is still the primary focus of the studio, all other fiction has been stated to have a resonant impact on the games' stories in a way unlike before. For example, the novels of the Kilo-Five Trilogy and The Forerunner Saga have direct connections to the story of Halo 4 and the subsequent games.[5]

Projects[edit]

Upcoming and ongoing[edit]

Released[edit]

Known employees[edit]

Former[edit]

  • Justin Korthof - Community Manager [27], now working at Robot Entertainment.
  • Ryan Payton - Creative Lead;[28] Narrative Designer for Halo 4,[16] left in Summer 2011, now the founder of Camouflaj.
  • Jonathan Goff - Community Manager [7], now working at Bungie.[29]
  • Kynan Pearson - Lead Multiplayer Level Designer[25], left in June 2013.[30]
  • Jacob Benton – Content Creator (Formerly of AscendantJustice.com)[7], left in April 2013, now a designer at Bungie.[31]
  • Chad Armstrong - Designer, formerly an employee of Bungie [32], now working at Crystal Dynamics.[33]
  • Scott Warner - Design Director, now working at Visceral Games.[34]
  • Christopher Schlerf - Senior Writer, left in November 2013.[35]
  • Corrinne Yu - Principle Engine Programmer[36], left in November 2013. Now working at Naughty Dog.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved portal page: MGS Development Group Expands (archived page)
  2. ^ halo.bungie.org: Interview with Eric Nylund
  3. ^ IGN: Halo: Reach Will Be Bungie's Last Halo Game
  4. ^ Halo Waypoint: The Halo Bulletin 6/15/11
  5. ^ a b Game Informer: The Future Of Halo Wars And Halo's Expanded Universe
  6. ^ Tech Crunch - Ridley Scott Halo Feature Among Microsoft’s First Dozen Xbox Original Titles
  7. ^ a b c d Major Nelson: #343: Interviews with members of 343 Industries about Halo and more
  8. ^ Frank O'Connor's Business Card
  9. ^ - Halo: Evolutions at Tobias Buckell Online
  10. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Exclusive
  11. ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, About the artists
  12. ^ a b IGN - Halo 4 Art Director Steps Down at 343 Industries
  13. ^ 343 Industries Podcast #1
  14. ^ Welcome to Halo Waypoint
  15. ^ 343 Industries Twitter Account
  16. ^ a b c GameInformer: UPDATE: Halo 4 Loses Its Creative Director
  17. ^ LinkedIn: Vic DeLeon
  18. ^ Twitter - Tim Longo
  19. ^ Dark Horse Announces Halo: Initiation
  20. ^ LinkedIn: Daniel Price
  21. ^ LinkedIn: Che Chou
  22. ^ LinkedIn: David Wu
  23. ^ LinkedIn: Sally Huang
  24. ^ a b c Making Halo 4: First Look
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k YouTube: Working at 343 Industries (HD)
  26. ^ Making Halo 4: Composing Worlds
  27. ^ Twitter.com - SixOkay
  28. ^ Twitter: Ryan Payton
  29. ^ https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Goff
  30. ^ https://forums.halowaypoint.com/yaf_postsm2562505_Farewell-Friends.aspx#post2562505
  31. ^ http://www.linkedin.com/in/jacobbenton
  32. ^ NeoGaf: View Single Post - Halo: Reach |OT3| This Thread is Not a Natural Formation
  33. ^ https://twitter.com/Fuvfuxn
  34. ^ https://twitter.com/scottfeed
  35. ^ Twitter - Schlerf
  36. ^ Eurogamer: Halo programmer Corrinne Yu joins Uncharted dev Naughty Dog