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Halo Franchise Creative Director Frank O’Connor Leaves MS After Nearly 20 Years

Halo franchise creative director Frank OConnor has left Microsoft and series developer 343 Industries after nearly 20 years O'Connor

Halo franchise creative director Frank O’Connor has left Microsoft and series developer 343 Industries, as confirmed in a statement from Microsoft sent to Axios. O’Connor had updated his LinkedIn page recently to note that he had left Microsoft this month, but there had been no official confirmation till today. He had been with Microsoft since 2003.

Microsoft provided the following statement: “We thank Frank for his numerous contributions to the Halo franchise and wish him well going forward.” In the meantime, O’Connor’s LinkedIn page also reflects that he has moved on to something new. He will continue as a franchise creative director (of something) while “creating rich, story-driven entertainment experiences across multiple media.”

Microsoft’s message is simple, but the departure of Frank O’Connor is anything but. Earlier this month, we learned that another veteran Halo creative, Joseph Staten, had departed Microsoft entirely, with an update arriving today that he has officially moved on to lead a new AAA project at Netflix Games. Both Staten and O’Connor’s exits follow mass layoffs at Microsoft, which affected around 10,000 jobs in January.

Microsoft has had a rough start to 2023, but Halo’s problems go back a few years. The series’s latest entry, Halo Infinite, had a notoriously troubled development and was hit with numerous delays. Although it has received a few substantial post-launch updates, the project’s roadmap has left many players underwhelmed as they looked forward to what’s next. Additionally, in September 2022, 343 studio head Bonnie Ross revealed that she was leaving the studio due to a “family medical issue.”

Though Microsoft is undergoing a deep internal restructuring, it’s clear that Halo games will continue to release. With so many pivotal members of the team leaving, however, the franchise will almost certainly look very different moving forward. Stay tuned for updates on how 343 plans to push forward.

About the author

Michael Cripe
Michael joined The Escapist team back in 2019 as a news reporter but has been covering games, movies, TV, and music since 2015. Most of his time is spent on the news team, but you’ll definitely see his name pop up in the opinion and interview sections from time to time. From the most obscure indie games to the industry’s AAA juggernauts, there’s nothing Michael isn’t interested in digging into. The vast majority of Michael’s work can be found at The Escapist, but his bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism has led him to other sites like OnlySP, Gameranx, and Kansas City’s The Pitch. When he’s not writing, Michael is probably playing Super Mario Sunshine, Dead Space, or The Binding of Isaac. If you’d like to connect and talk about the latest in pop-culture, you can follow Michael on Twitter (@MikeCripe), Instagram (mike_cripe), or LinkedIn if that’s your thing, I guess.