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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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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. The Halo Channel will be introduced as a next-generation replacement for Halo Waypoint on the Xbox One.
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.
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.
Upcoming and ongoing
- Halo Waypoint - An in-house production for Xbox LIVE.
- Halo Channel - A next-generation hub of Halo multimedia.
- Reclaimer Saga - A saga of Halo games.
- Halo: The Master Chief Collection - An upcoming bundle of games for the Xbox One.
- Halo: The Television Series - An upcoming TV series in partnership with Steven Spielberg.
- Halo: Escalation - A comic book series written by Christopher Schlerf and Brian Reed and drawn by Omar Francia.
- Halo: Nightfall - An upcoming live-action miniseries produced by Ridley Scott.
- Halo: Broken Circle - An upcoming novel written by John Shirley.
- Halo: Spartan Strike - An upcoming top down shooter for Windows 8 platforms.
- Halo Wars - A real-time strategy game made in conjunction with Ensemble Studios and Robot Entertainment.
- Halo: Helljumper - A comic book series written by Peter David and drawn by Eric Nguyen.
- Halo Encyclopedia - Edited by Tobias Buckell and published by DK Books.
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe - A collection of short stories written by Eric Nylund, Tobias Buckell, Karen Traviss, and other critically acclaimed authors.
- Halo: Blood Line - A comic book series written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Francis Portela.
- Halo Legends - A collection of anime shorts created in partnership with numerous Japanese studios.
- Revised versions of Halo: The Fall of Reach, Halo: The Flood, and Halo: First Strike.
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide - A guidebook to the Halo universe published by DK Books.
- Online support for Halo: Reach - DLCs, stats and the Title Update.
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - A remake of Halo: Combat Evolved, featuring several multiplayer maps for the Halo: Reach engine.
- The Forerunner Saga - A series of novels written by Greg Bear.
- Halo: Fall of Reach - A comic book adaptation of the novel of the same name, written by Brian Reed with art by Felix Ruiz.
- Kilo-Five Trilogy - A post-war novel series written by Karen Traviss.
- Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn - A live-action prequel miniseries.
- Reclaimer Saga
- Halo 4 - The first game in the saga and a sequel to Halo 3.
- Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide - A guidebook to the Halo 4 lore.
- Halo: Spartan Assault - A top down stick shooter for Windows 8 systems, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
- Halo: Initiation - A comic book series written by Brian Reed and drawn by Marco Castiello.
- Bonnie Ross – General Manager 
- Frank O'Connor - Franchise Development Director, formerly an employee of Bungie 
- Kevin Grace - Managing Editor 
- Dan Ayoub - Executive Producer 
- Jeremy Patenaude – Content Creator (Formerly of AscendantJustice.com) 
- Gabriel Garza - Artist 
- Nicolas Bouvier - Senior Art Director
- Jessica Shea (Formerly of Hawty McBloggy)
- David Ellis (formerly of 1up.com) - Content Producer 
- Jason Pace - Creative Director for Halo Waypoint 
- Sotaro Tojima - Audio Director
- Vic DeLeon - Lead Mission Artist, formerly of Bungie 
- Kenneth Scott - Visual Design Consultant
- Josh Holmes - Execute Producer 
- Timothy Longo - Creative Director
- Kevin Franklin - Design Director.
- Brian Reed - Writer, formerly of Marvel Comics
- Daniel Price - Senior Service Engineer 
- Che Chou - Studio Producer 
- David Wu - Chief Technology Officer 
- Sally Huang - Producer 
- Chris Buckley - Graphic Designer
- Kiki Wolfkill - Executive Producer 
- Neill Harrison - Art Manager 
- Brad Welch - Lead Designer 
- Joe Waters - Senior Software Developer
- Tom French - Missions Designer
- Maggie Oh - Senior Technical Artist
- RJ Ranola - Environment Artist
- Patrick Gillette - Gameplay Animator
- Kathy Gehrig - Associate Producer
- Lani Blazier - Franchise Creative Producer
- Nicole Makila - Producer
- Hoop Somuah - Senior SDE
- CJ Markham - Motion Capture Supervisor
- Kazuma Jinnouchi - Music Supervisor/Composer
- Justin Korthof - Community Manager, now working at Robot Entertainment.
- Ryan Payton - Creative Lead; Narrative Designer for Halo 4, left in Summer 2011, now the founder of Camouflaj.
- Armando Troisi - Narrative Designer, left in April 2013. Now working at Fathom Interactive.
- Jonathan Goff - Community Manager , now working at Bungie.
- Kynan Pearson - Lead Multiplayer Level Designer, left in June 2013.
- Jacob Benton – Content Creator (Formerly of AscendantJustice.com), left in April 2013, now a designer at Bungie.
- Chad Armstrong - Designer, formerly an employee of Bungie , now working at Crystal Dynamics.
- Scott Warner - Design Director, now working at Visceral Games.
- Christopher Schlerf - Senior Writer, left in November 2013.
- Corrinne Yu - Principle Engine Programmer, left in November 2013. Now working at Naughty Dog.
- Paul Ehreth - Level Designer, left in September 2014.
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".
- ^ Halo: Combat Evolved portal page: MGS Development Group Expands (archived page)
- ^ halo.bungie.org: Interview with Eric Nylund
- ^ IGN: Halo: Reach Will Be Bungie's Last Halo Game
- ^ Halo Waypoint: The Halo Bulletin 6/15/11
- ^ Eurogamer: 343's master plan for Halo 5: Guardians
- ^ Halo Waypoint: Halo Channel Revealed at Gamescom
- ^ a b Game Informer: The Future Of Halo Wars And Halo's Expanded Universe
- ^ Tech Crunch - Ridley Scott Halo Feature Among Microsoft’s First Dozen Xbox Original Titles
- ^ a b c d Major Nelson: #343: Interviews with members of 343 Industries about Halo and more
- ^ Frank O'Connor's Business Card
- ^ - Halo: Evolutions at Tobias Buckell Online
- ^ Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Exclusive
- ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, About the artists
- ^ a b IGN - Halo 4 Art Director Steps Down at 343 Industries
- ^ 343 Industries Podcast #1
- ^ Welcome to Halo Waypoint
- ^ 343 Industries Twitter Account
- ^ LinkedIn: Vic DeLeon
- ^ a b c GameInformer: UPDATE: Halo 4 Loses Its Creative Director
- ^ Twitter - Tim Longo
- ^ Twitter - Kevin Franklin
- ^ Dark Horse Announces Halo: Initiation
- ^ LinkedIn: Daniel Price
- ^ LinkedIn: Che Chou
- ^ LinkedIn: David Wu
- ^ LinkedIn: Sally Huang
- ^ a b c Making Halo 4: First Look
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k YouTube: Working at 343 Industries (HD)
- ^ Making Halo 4: Composing Worlds
- ^ Twitter.com - SixOkay
- ^ Twitter: Ryan Payton
- ^ https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Goff
- ^ https://forums.halowaypoint.com/yaf_postsm2562505_Farewell-Friends.aspx#post2562505
- ^ http://www.linkedin.com/in/jacobbenton
- ^ NeoGaf: View Single Post - Halo: Reach |OT3| This Thread is Not a Natural Formation
- ^ https://twitter.com/Fuvfuxn
- ^ https://twitter.com/scottfeed
- ^ Twitter - Schlerf
- ^ Eurogamer: Halo programmer Corrinne Yu joins Uncharted dev Naughty Dog
- ^ Twitter - Paul Ehreth
- ^ Halo Waypoint: Catalog Interaction (post 2964800)
- ^ Halo Waypoint: Official Halo: Nightfall DISCUSSION (post 2988810)