Lead Producer Mary Olson has become the second high-profile member of 343 ahead of Halo Infinite’s launch next year.
A few months back, it was revealed that Halo Infinite Creative Director Tim Longo had departed from the studio. In his absence, Mary Olson was then promoted to Lead Producer for Infinite’s campaign team. A mere two months later though, and now Olson herself has also left 343 Industries.
Olson’s move was spotted recently on her LinkedIn page, which stated that as of October 2019, she is no longer at 343. Olson is now the Head of Production at Midwinter Entertainment, the studio behind Scavengers.
From the outside looking in, the departure of both Longo and Olson has caused many to be concerned about the state of 343 Industries and the development of Halo Infinite. However, 343 doesn’t seem to be concerned.
In a new Reddit post, community manager at 343 John Junyszek said that both Longo and Olson leaving isn’t a cause for concern stating, “there is no creative dilemma inside the studio, and there’s no writing on the walls.” Junyszek went on to also say, “Tim’s role as Creative Director was to help make creative decisions around the design and direction of the game – whether it was campaign, multiplayer, etc. Mary’s role as an Executive Producer and then Lead Producer on Campaign was to help drive the game to its completion for our holiday 2020 release date – with the latter specifically focusing on campaign deliverables.”
Junyszek then went on to say that Olson specifically didn’t take over for Longo after he left 343. “It implies that Mary took over creative control of the entire game, didn’t like what she saw, and then decided to leave. If that’s what actually happened, I could totally understand getting worried – but that isn’t the case, as she was a Lead Producer and not a new Creative Director.”
It’s definitely been bizarre to see so many high-profile members leave 343 recently, but it’s not necessarily unfounded. With Halo Infinite only a year out, most of the game’s creative direction has likely been set in stone. At this point, the work on the game is likely just in a polishing phase where 343 is continuing to iron out the kinks and deliver on the title’s final version by next year. As such, roles like creative director have less to do with the title’s direction at this point.
We’ll see if Halo Infinite is going to live up to expectations when it releases next year on Xbox One, PC, and the forthcoming next-gen console Xbox Scarlett.