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 [26], now working at Robot Entertainment.
  • Ryan Payton - Creative Lead;[27] Narrative Designer for Halo 4,[15] left in Summer 2011, now the founder of Camouflaj.
  • Jonathan Goff - Community Manager [6], now working at Bungie.[28]
  • Kynan Pearson - Lead Multiplayer Level Designer[24], left in June 2013.[29]
  • Jacob Benton – Content Creator (Formerly of AscendantJustice.com)[6], left in April 2013, now a designer at Bungie.[30]
  • Chad Armstrong - Designer, formerly an employee of Bungie [31], now working at Crystal Dynamics.[32]
  • Scott Warner - Design Director, now working at Visceral Games.[33]
  • Christopher Schlerf - Senior Writer, left in November 2013.[34]
  • Corrinne Yu - Principle Engine Programmer[35], 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. ^ a b c d Major Nelson: #343: Interviews with members of 343 Industries about Halo and more
  7. ^ Frank O'Connor's Business Card
  8. ^ - Halo: Evolutions at Tobias Buckell Online
  9. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Exclusive
  10. ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, About the artists
  11. ^ a b IGN - Halo 4 Art Director Steps Down at 343 Industries
  12. ^ 343 Industries Podcast #1
  13. ^ Welcome to Halo Waypoint
  14. ^ 343 Industries Twitter Account
  15. ^ a b c GameInformer: UPDATE: Halo 4 Loses Its Creative Director
  16. ^ LinkedIn: Vic DeLeon
  17. ^ Twitter - Tim Longo
  18. ^ Dark Horse Announces Halo: Initiation
  19. ^ LinkedIn: Daniel Price
  20. ^ LinkedIn: Che Chou
  21. ^ LinkedIn: David Wu
  22. ^ LinkedIn: Sally Huang
  23. ^ a b c Making Halo 4: First Look
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k YouTube: Working at 343 Industries (HD)
  25. ^ Making Halo 4: Composing Worlds
  26. ^ Twitter.com - SixOkay
  27. ^ Twitter: Ryan Payton
  28. ^ https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Goff
  29. ^ https://forums.halowaypoint.com/yaf_postsm2562505_Farewell-Friends.aspx#post2562505
  30. ^ http://www.linkedin.com/in/jacobbenton
  31. ^ NeoGaf: View Single Post - Halo: Reach |OT3| This Thread is Not a Natural Formation
  32. ^ https://twitter.com/Fuvfuxn
  33. ^ https://twitter.com/scottfeed
  34. ^ Twitter - Schlerf
  35. ^ Eurogamer: Halo programmer Corrinne Yu joins Uncharted dev Naughty Dog