Halo 4 creative director departs to form new studio, Camouflaj

343 Industries is heading into Halo 4 territory with one less crew member, as creative director Ryan Payton has resigned from the company to pursue new projects at his newly formed studio, Camouflaj. Discussing the reasons for his departure in a recent interview, Payton said his split was driven by a lack of energy for the new Halo chapter(s), and a desire to flex his creative muscles on fresh new properties.

"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," said Payton in an interview with Kotaku. "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."

Payton said he was inspired to fly under his own flag after witnessing a friend and fellow developer Jake Kazdal leave EA to work on his own indie RTS game, Skulls of the Shogun. With two titles already in development at Camoflaj, Payton believes he's taken the first step toward achieving a personal goal, explaining, “Some people say I'm crazy, but I want to make a game that one billion people play at once, and it's something that hits them harder than a great book or film.”

More or less burnt out after dedicating years of his life to the hit FPS franchise, Payton explained it took a bout with depression to motivate him to start his own company, noting, “I never thought I'd get to a point where I was so drained... That was when I knew I had to do something else."

Although his time with Halo has ended, Payton stressed his departure from 343 Industries is not at all indicative of Halo 4's quality. In fact, Payton anticipates big things for the 2012 Master Chief sequel, and believes the game is in good hands with franchise director Frank O'Connor and the remaining creative team. 

Sep 6, 2011

UPDATE - GamesRadar received the following statement from a Microsoft spokesperson regarding Ryan Payton’s departure from 343 Industries:

343 Industries has assembled an all-star cast of talent working on “Halo 4” under the design leadership of Studio and “Halo 4” Creative Director, Josh Holmes. We're excited to tell the next story in the “Halo” universe with “Halo 4” as the first game in the Reclaimer Trilogy. Ryan Payton, who left earlier this summer, served as Narrative Designer on “Halo 4” for 15 months. Armando Troisi was hired as the “Halo 4” Narrative Director in March, having formerly served as the Lead Cinematic Designer on “Mass Effect 2.” Ryan has been a great friend and colleague during his tenure at 343 Industries and we appreciate his contributions to the team. We wish Ryan the best in his new game development venture.

Source: Kotaku


  • db1331 - September 6, 2011 7:52 p.m.

    How can you be Creative Director of a series that has never shown any creativity? That's like being the Minister of Fun at a concentration camp.
  • EvidentDead - September 6, 2011 8:46 p.m.

    Id like to believe the Halo series has SOME amount of creativity. A super-religious amalgamation of alien races who believe destroying the galaxy with ancient technology will lead them to the promise land; who also see all humanity as heretics that should be wiped out entirely, therefore pushing humanity to its limits on a last-ditch effort to breed super soldiers to stop them. Like it or not, its something creative. Haters gonna hate.
  • LordZarlon - September 6, 2011 7:49 p.m.

    This doesn't mean anything about the quality of Halo 4. We'll just have to do what we always would have. Wait till the game comes out to judge it's quality. When Bill Roper left Blizzard several years ago people tried to make a big deal of it. In the end it didn't hurt the quality of World of Worcraft or Starcraft 2 at all.
  • DrCollins - September 6, 2011 4:03 p.m.

    At Halo Fest, Frankie said 199 out of 200 people at 343 industries came to work on Halo. Maybe this guy was the one. But seriously, I'm not worried a lot of the people at 343 are people that worked at Bungie during the making of Halo CE and Halo 2, in my opinion the best Halo multiplayers by far. Halo 4 has been in the work for about 3 years according to the panels at Halo Fest, this guy leaving now will probably not have much of an impact on the final product next Fall.
  • SteinyBoy - September 6, 2011 3:20 p.m.

    I know him! He is a family friend of mine that I see once a year. I'm not sure what I should or should'nt say but from what he told me things aren't looking so good for halo 4
  • samsneeze - September 6, 2011 8:31 p.m.

    Because no one else has yet... Lol, no. Just, no.
  • Grif - September 6, 2011 12:55 p.m.

    This does not look good for Halo 4....
  • HeroOfLegend - September 6, 2011 1:28 p.m.

    Exactly what I was thinking...
  • Vel - September 6, 2011 12:43 p.m.

    Considering we're only a little over a year from launch I don't know that the departure of the creative director will have much of an effect on Halo 4, especially since it's been in development "For years." And although I don't know much of anything about 343 nor do I plan on making any attempt to know who's who there like I did with Bungie, I wish this guy luck in whatever it is he's doing at his new studio. But seriously, Camoflaj? There's no need for a "J"
  • DecoyOctorok - September 6, 2011 4:03 p.m.

    Yeah, Camoflaj gives me that trying to be hip 90s edginess vibe. At least he didn't come up with a name that replaces words with numbers.
  • Rowdie - September 6, 2011 12:12 p.m.

    Prays answered.

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