Xbox and Bethesda hit by Microsoft layoffs as Halo Infinite single-player team gutted
Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries, as well the studios behind Gears Of War and Starfield, have all been hit by job cuts at Microsoft.
With the economy in trouble, and shareholders in danger of making slightly less money than usual, big corporations have done the only thing they ever do in these situations: sack thousands of ordinary workers.
Amazon is set to make 18,000 employees redundant and Microsoft has announced it’s culling up to 10,000, with confirmation that developers at Bethesda, 343 Industries, and The Coalition will all be affected.
The 343 Industries team behind the story campaign of Halo Infinite seems to have been the hardest hit. The news comes a year to the day after Microsoft announced it would spend $69 billion on buying Activision Blizzard – a deal that has still yet to go through.
Reports also suggest that Canadian developer The Coalition has seen a number of cuts. The studio hasn’t announced a new game since 2020 spin-off Gears Tactics but is presumably working on Gears 6.
Staff at Bethesda, which Microsoft bought in 2021 for $7.5 billion, have also been laid off, including at the main publishing arm of the company, The Elder Scrolls Online studio ZeniMax Online Studios, and Starfield developer Bethesda Game Studios.
A report by website Lords Of Gaming, corroborated by Bloomberg writer Jason Schreier, claims that 60 staff have lost their job at 343 Industries, out of a total of around 450.
Although seemingly not part of the layoffs, Halo Infinite co-director Joe Staten has also chosen now to leave the developer and return to Xbox Publishing.
As a veteran of the original Halo: Combat Evolved he was previously brought in to make sure Halo Infinite released in time for December 2021, a task he completed and yet it’s only now he’s decided to return to his previous job.
Microsoft has not made a formal announcement about the Xbox business, only the company as a whole, and so the full scale of the redundancies is not yet clear, even as Twiter begins to fill up with staff revealing they’ve been made redundant – despite many having been at the company for a decade or more.
Bloomberg reports that the team behind AR headset HoloLens have also been affected, as well as ‘some engineering divisions’.
It’ll become clearer over the coming days exactly how many staff, at the various Xbox developers, are involved but what’s already certain is that while being bought by Microsoft, or any other large corporation, is a windfall for executives it doesn’t necessarily benefit ordinary developers.
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