Creative director leaves Microsoft's Halo team

Posted by Mike Luttrell

In the middle of production for the Xbox 360's next big installment in the Halo series, the group's creative director has left.

Ryan Payton was a crucial part of the team, and it will surely be a blow to the rest of the game's development process.

Halo 4 will be a very important title for the franchise because it is being created by an entirely different group of people than Halo, Halo 2, and Halo 3. The series was always meant to be a trilogy, so when Halo 3 was released, that was the end.

But then again, Microsoft can't just give up a cash cow franchise like that. So even though Bungie, the company that built the series from the ground up, is done with Halo, Microsoft isn't.

Halo 4 is now being developed in-house with a first-party team called 343 Industries. Payton was working on that team.

"I had a great run at Microsoft. I don't regret one day of it. But after a few years, there came a point where I wasn't creatively excited about the project anymore," he said in a Kotaku interview.

"The Halo I wanted to build was fundamentally different and I don't think I had built enough credibility to see such a crazy endeavor through," he added.

He went on to say he thinks Halo 4 could end up being a good game, but it's just not the game he wanted it to be. Also, it isn't just his disappointment with the game's development that caused him to leave the company. He's also dealing with personal struggles, namely that his mom was diagnosed with cancer.

He has now started up his own development studio, Camouflaj, which has already begun work on two flagship titles. It's unclear what the future will hold for Payton, or the Halo series. Only time will tell.