In an announcement that came seemingly out of nowhere, 343 Industries Founder and Studio Head Bonnie Ross has announced on Twitter that she will be stepping down from her position and leaving the company effective immediately. Ross attributes her departure due to a “family medical issue” but did not delve further into the situation. Studio Executive Pierre Hintze, who has been with the company since 2018, is taking over as the new Studio Head while Bryan Koski will become the General Manager of the Halo franchise and Elizabeth Van Wyck will take over duties relates to business and operations.
Microsoft is also restructuring 343i’s leadership team
Pierre Hintze will take over as studio head immediately
— Nibel (@Nibellion) September 12, 2022
Ross leaves after a fairly arduous time for the Halo franchise. While Halo Infinite is considered an excellent entry and helped bring some like to the franchise, the time leading up to that release was not a great time for the studio. After it was initially shown to the public in 2020, there was an intense backlash on the overall presentation regarding the graphics among others things. Following this, several changes occurred internally within the studio, with one of the most prominent ones being when Chris Lee stepped down as game director just a few months after it was shown. The project was also rumored to being canceled completely for the aging Xbox One in favor of focusing on the newer Xbox Series X/Series S.
Regardless of what 343 industries went through these past two years, they were able to successfully ship Halo Infinite on a worldwide scale. Ross is most likely a major driving force this, as she always has been since taking over after the Halo franchise when Bungie officially split from Microsoft several years ago. With Ross at the helm, 343 assisted Bungie with completing their contractually obligated titles, Halo 3: ODST and Halo Reach, before venturing on their own with Halo 4, and then Halo 5: Guardians. She also oversaw 343 with the release the Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which expanded to two additional titles in Reach and ODST, and then ported to the PC platform over the course of an entire year.