Halo 4 creative director leaving 343

By Steve Watts, Sep 06, 2011 8:15am PDT

One of Halo 4's creative directors has announced he is leaving the project, and will focus on helming his own studio.

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

Payton gained notoriety for his work at Kojima Productions, lending a western voice to the development of Metal Gear Solid 4. After leaving Japan, he worked at 343 Industries, and has built up a cache of industry experience and respect among fans.

"The Halo I wanted to build was fundamentally different and I don't think I had enough credibility to see such a crazy endeavor through," he told Kotaku. He still has utter confidence in the project, but it seems he felt creatively stifled by it. He couldn't talk in detail about his role on Halo 4, but was working mostly on the story.

Payton was diagnosed with severe depression a few months ago, and felt "so drained" that he couldn't get out of bed. "That was when I knew I had to do something else."

As for what that something else might be, Payton is playing his cards close to the vest as he starts a new studio called Camouflaj. "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," he said. "I think time is the most valuable thing to have, and I've decided I'm not going to waste one more day working on something that doesn't speak to my values."

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