Chris Matthews, a seasoned artist and art director with experience in renowned titles like Forza Motorsport, Gears of War, and Crysis, has joined 343 Industries as their new Studio Art Director. The announcement, made through Matthews’ LinkedIn profile, highlights their excitement about leading Halo “into a very exciting new era.”
This news comes amidst a period of transition for 343 Industries (first found by Insider-Gaming). While Halo Infinite garnered generally positive reviews on Metacritic, it received a more mixed reception on Steam, with some fans expressing a desire for a different studio to take the reins. Additionally, 343 Industries faced criticism for certain changes made to the Halo franchise over the years, and Halo Infinite launched without some core features anticipated by the fanbase.
Matthews’ statement regarding a “new era” for Halo remains ambiguous, but it makes me think that maybe the studio is trying to make better Halo games. I am unaware of how much influence the art director has on the final product, but I’d assume it’s a lot. The studio desperately needs something to make it stand out because it’s hard to find the praise Halo used to have under Bungie.
Matthews’ LinkedIn post also acknowledges the challenging state of the gaming industry, mentioning the “hugely turbulent industry” and referencing the recent layoffs at Microsoft, which owns 343 Industries. Notably, Matthews themselves previously worked at Microsoft before joining 343.
Adding another layer to the context, 343 Industries recently announced the discontinuation of the seasonal model for Halo Infinite, opting instead for smaller-scale “Operations” updates. This shift indicates a clear intent to move the game forward in a new direction.
While the long-term impact of Matthews’ appointment remains to be seen, his arrival will inject a dose of fresh energy and expertise into 343 Industries. Only time will tell how this translates into the future of Halo and whether it aligns with the expectations of the passionate Halo fanbase.