Halo franchise director Frank O’Connor and series veteran Joseph Staten leave Microsoft

by Danny Craig  · 
Halo franchise director Frank O’Connor and series veteran Joseph Staten leave Microsoft

Microsoft has announced that Frank O’Connor, the former franchise director of its iconic first-person shooter series, Halo, has now departed from the company. Bungie veteran Joseph Staten has also left to join Netflix Games as a creative director on a new AAA game.

The details:

  • Microsoft confirmed to Axios that the longtime franchise director has now left the company, following rumors of his departure earlier this week. Microsoft’s statement read, "We thank Frank for his numerous contributions to the Halo franchise and wish him well going forward.” Fans began to speculate after noticing that O'Connor's LinkedIn page had been updated to include an end date for his position at both 343 Industries and its parent company, Microsoft, as well as a new "NA" role.
  • O'Connor began his career at the company in 2003 as a content manager at Bungie before moving on to Microsoft Studios in 2008, following Bungie's official separation from its then-parent company. Through his continued involvement with the Halo franchise, he rose to the position of development director for both Halo 5 and Halo Infinite, frequently appearing in public as the franchise's spokesperson. His reputation has been mixed among fans, with many claiming over the years that he was partially responsible for the "downfall" of the IP, with its mainline titles, beginning with Halo 4, being regarded as weaker entries than Bungie's original works.
  • After being brought back to the Halo franchise to get Infinite's development "back on track" after delays, former Halo Infinite creative director Joseph Staten has also recently left Xbox to join Netflix Games to work on a new AAA multiplatform game and original IP." These are the latest departures from the company in the last year, following the departures of design lead Jerry Hook in May 2022, founder and studio head Bonnie Ross in June 2022, and multiplayer creative director Tom French in December 2022. While the reasons for leaving 343 vary, employees who were laid off earlier this year publicly blasted the leadership, labeling them "incompetent.”

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