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 their book publication arrangement with publishers Ballantine Books and Tor Books which published a number of Halo novels over the years.[1][2]

Establishment[edit]

Following the end of partnership between Bungie and Microsoft in 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, and has since worked with 343 Industries on several projects.

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]

A number of outside companies have produced content for 343 Industries; these include ONE and MoreFrames, who created several motion comics based on Halo: Evolutions stories, as well as Sequence, who have worked on the terminal videos in 343's game releases. 343 Industries' first game release, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, was developed in conjunction with Saber Interactive and released in 2011. Saber Interactive also worked on Halo 2 Anniversary, a similar remastering of Halo 2 released as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection in 2014. The top-down shooters Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo: Spartan Strike were co-developed with Vanguard Games.

Reclaimer Saga[edit]

343's first major in-studio game project was Halo 4, the first game in the Reclaimer Saga, a new series of games and other media.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be the first Halo release on the Xbox One console. This will mark the onset of a phase of the series known as "The Journey", which will entail the release of several multimedia items, including the digital series Halo: Nightfall and Halo: The Television Series, both of which will tie into the next major game in the series, Halo 5: Guardians.[5] The Halo Channel will be introduced as a next-generation replacement for Halo Waypoint on the Xbox One.[6]

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.[7]

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.[7]

Projects[edit]

Upcoming and ongoing[edit]

Released[edit]

Known employees[edit]

Former[edit]

Trivia[edit]

343 Industries has built up a mythos of in-jokes which is referenced in the background of the FOTUS armor permutation. There is also a tongue-in-cheek in-universe counterpart of the studio itself, named the "434 Combat Readiness Lab".[41][42]

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. ^ Eurogamer: 343's master plan for Halo 5: Guardians
  6. ^ Halo Waypoint: Halo Channel Revealed at Gamescom
  7. ^ a b Game Informer: The Future Of Halo Wars And Halo's Expanded Universe
  8. ^ Tech Crunch - Ridley Scott Halo Feature Among Microsoft’s First Dozen Xbox Original Titles
  9. ^ a b c d Major Nelson: #343: Interviews with members of 343 Industries about Halo and more
  10. ^ Frank O'Connor's Business Card
  11. ^ - Halo: Evolutions at Tobias Buckell Online
  12. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Exclusive
  13. ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, About the artists
  14. ^ a b IGN - Halo 4 Art Director Steps Down at 343 Industries
  15. ^ 343 Industries Podcast #1
  16. ^ Welcome to Halo Waypoint
  17. ^ 343 Industries Twitter Account
  18. ^ LinkedIn: Vic DeLeon
  19. ^ a b c GameInformer: UPDATE: Halo 4 Loses Its Creative Director
  20. ^ Twitter - Tim Longo
  21. ^ Twitter - Kevin Franklin
  22. ^ Dark Horse Announces Halo: Initiation
  23. ^ LinkedIn: Daniel Price
  24. ^ LinkedIn: Che Chou
  25. ^ LinkedIn: David Wu
  26. ^ LinkedIn: Sally Huang
  27. ^ a b c Making Halo 4: First Look
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k YouTube: Working at 343 Industries (HD)
  29. ^ Making Halo 4: Composing Worlds
  30. ^ Twitter.com - SixOkay
  31. ^ Twitter: Ryan Payton
  32. ^ https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Goff
  33. ^ https://forums.halowaypoint.com/yaf_postsm2562505_Farewell-Friends.aspx#post2562505
  34. ^ http://www.linkedin.com/in/jacobbenton
  35. ^ NeoGaf: View Single Post - Halo: Reach |OT3| This Thread is Not a Natural Formation
  36. ^ https://twitter.com/Fuvfuxn
  37. ^ https://twitter.com/scottfeed
  38. ^ Twitter - Schlerf
  39. ^ Eurogamer: Halo programmer Corrinne Yu joins Uncharted dev Naughty Dog
  40. ^ Twitter - Paul Ehreth
  41. ^ Halo Waypoint: Catalog Interaction (post 2964800)
  42. ^ Halo Waypoint: Official Halo: Nightfall DISCUSSION (post 2988810)