Updated Story: Microsoft has issued a press statement acknowledging the departure of Ryan Payton from 343 Industries. You can read it in full below.
"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."
Original Story: The creative director on Halo 4, Ryan Payton, has left the project to pursue other, more exciting personal endeavors, reports Kotaku. It appears as though Payton had grown bored with working on Halo 4 and decided to part ways with Microsoft and 343 Industries before his love for game development suffered.
“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,” expressed Payton.
Before joining the team at 343 Industries, Payton was part of the squad working on Metal Gear Solid 4 at Kojima Productions. Maybe Payton’s biggest contribution to MGS4 was updating the franchise’s overly clunky controls. It seems as though Payton had similar aspirations for Halo 4, looking to introduce ideas and concepts that were considered too far outside the Halo wheelhouse.
“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,” explained Payton.
So after working on the masterpiece Metal Gear Solid 4 and spending years working on the next entry in the Halo saga, where does Payton go from here? Well, he created his own studio, Camouflaj, which currently has two mystery titles in development. So he definitely has his work cut out for him.
To round out his conversation with Kotaku, Payton laid it out as simply as he could:
“I think time is the most valuable thing we have, and I’ve decided that I’m not going to waste one more day working on something that doesn’t speak to my values.”
Amen to that.