Halo 4 creative director leaving 343

One of Halo 4's creative directors, Ryan Payton, has announced he's leaving the project to pursue his own games with a new studio.

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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."

Editor-In-Chief
From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 6, 2011 8:15 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Halo 4 creative director leaving 343.

    One of Halo 4's creative directors, Ryan Payton, has announced he's leaving the project to pursue his own games with a new studio.

    • reply
      September 6, 2011 8:26 AM

      [deleted]

    • reply
      September 6, 2011 8:31 AM

      He wanted to do something different with the series and Microsoft said no, so he left. I guess the creative director wasn't allowed to be creative. Can't blame him for leaving.

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        September 6, 2011 8:34 AM

        There's multiple creative directors, if he was overruled it seems a bit petty just to leave, but since he's going to be doing his own stuff, seems like he just wanted to do something else all together and this is just an excuse.

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          September 6, 2011 9:48 AM

          "There's multiple creative directors" hahahahahaha

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            September 6, 2011 10:28 AM

            "One of Halo 4's creative directors, Ryan..."

            Hahahahahaha

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        September 6, 2011 8:43 AM

        That's actually not what he's saying (if the quote's correct). He just says that he can't do what he wants within the confines of Halo. Assuming he's not an idiot, he didn't need to be told that by MS. Of course they're not going to fuck with their signature franchise.

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          September 6, 2011 9:47 AM

          I realize they don't want to fuck with the Halo formula, but it's got to get stale sooner or later, even in the eyes of fanboys. I can't imagine myself buying another one, and I've done my best to slog through most of them until now. I guess my criticism is that they don't want to do anything to revitalize the series, but they haven't had a Halo completely crash and burn yet, so we'll have to wait and see if he was right to want to throw something different out there.

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      September 6, 2011 8:33 AM

      that was fast

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        September 6, 2011 3:01 PM

        you think so? the game is only a year away...

    • reply
      September 6, 2011 8:34 AM

      Maybe he wanted to turn it into a puzzle game?

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      September 6, 2011 9:06 AM

      He probably had the radical idea of having the main character hold more then two weapons at one time and got laughed out of the boardroom.
      I wish him luck in his future plans.

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        September 6, 2011 9:08 AM

        One million guns.

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        September 6, 2011 9:40 AM

        You can poke fun at the two weapon limit all you want, but it really is part of the strategy of the game it this point. Even on the PC it just wouldn't play right without that limit.

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          September 6, 2011 2:14 PM

          In my opinion, DNF plays better than 4 weapon slots, but I like being able to have more than two weapons in inventory. Yes, two weapons is an integral part of Halo, but it's become an epidemic, to the point where reviewers, gamers, and even developers will shit on weapon wheels, having to pause for a full weapon selection menu, or any alternate ideas for having a console gamer access more than two weapons on a gamepad.

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            September 6, 2011 2:15 PM

            ...DNF plays better with 4 weapon slots. That's my opinion; with 4 weapon slots, you can still have the game cut down to two, or play it with only two weapon slots as a challenge. If the game only supports 2 weapon slots, that's the only way you can play it, and have fun farming ammo and memorizing weapon types dropped in specific areas.

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            September 7, 2011 7:57 AM

            I agree that most of the time the two weapon system is just developers being lazy and not thinking outside the box. That doesn't make a two weapon system inherently flawed though. That's all I was saying.

    • gmd legacy 10 years mercury mega
      reply
      September 6, 2011 9:08 AM

      Rumor has it he wanted an enemy other than the flood.

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        September 6, 2011 9:41 AM

        oh god. I love halo, but if halo 4 has me fighting flood for the last half of the game, count me out.

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      September 6, 2011 9:09 AM

      as he starts a new studio called Camouflaj LOL

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        September 6, 2011 2:08 PM

        unfortunate name

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        September 6, 2011 3:40 PM

        maybe he wasn't so creative afterall. what a horrible name.

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          September 6, 2011 3:49 PM

          You laugh now, but when he creates his 1,000,000,000 player console game, you'll be so embarrassed!

          You know why he'll have 1,000,000,000 players in his game? Because it's unconventional.

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        September 6, 2011 4:00 PM

        hoorj

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        September 7, 2011 12:31 AM

        Camoflan inc. Invisible puddings.

        I wonder what kind of radical military shooter with scripted corridors he'll be making.

    • reply
      September 6, 2011 9:14 AM

      Too bad he couldn't Finish The Fight. Hopefully he has better luck fighting depression, it's a nasty illness.

    • reply
      September 6, 2011 9:18 AM

      "Some people say I'm crazy, but I want to make a game that one billion people play at once"

      Are there even a Billion gamers?

    • reply
      September 6, 2011 9:58 AM

      Halos are fun, but need some freshness for me to but another.

      They have a nice marathon setup, but I imagine 4 is just more of the same.

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      September 6, 2011 10:16 AM

      good for him, f yall naysayers.

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      September 6, 2011 11:31 AM

      Good for him for having the balls to follow his vision / dream / heart / creative impulses whatever you want to call them. Much cooler than the rest of you gamers still playing Halo. LOLz. Have a nice day.

    • reply
      September 6, 2011 11:36 AM

      A creative person not wanting to have to work on a rehash of a horrible derivative and boring series. Not surprising.

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        September 6, 2011 1:23 PM

        Really, what did he think he was getting himself into? In what world was halo 4 going to be drastically different than all the others? Its like taking a job at treyarch and expecting the redefine call of duty.

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          September 6, 2011 2:24 PM

          Yeah, that's what has got me scratching my head. What was he expecting going in? It's like taking a job at Nintendo and hoping to reinvent the wheel with the next Mario Kart.

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          September 6, 2011 11:08 PM

          Maybe they told him they were open to new ideas and it turned out that was not the case. No one is going to publicly say what goes on over there at 343 so it is difficult to judge.

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        September 6, 2011 6:12 PM

        Thanks for your bullshit contribution to the discussion. Halo is not for everyone, but I'd like for you to show me how it's "derivative". The Halo team has done a ton of original shit over the years.

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          September 7, 2011 9:28 AM

          Such as ... ?

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          September 7, 2011 11:47 AM

          Name one thing.

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            September 7, 2011 12:35 PM

            You really think one thing can't be named?

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              September 8, 2011 11:49 AM

              Do health regen and teabagging count?

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              September 8, 2011 12:48 PM

              Not a single thing. Now, there might be some misinformed people who don't know games that did what Halo did before it (and better), and there might be some other folks who try to add the addendum "on consoles" to it's every feat, but that doesn't make either of them true.

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            September 8, 2011 6:39 AM

            I can name one thing. Make a FPS fun enough to make me use a god damn controller.

            I know plenty of people just like me who grew up playing quake and unreal tournament that love mouse and keyboard. In general we still prefer mouse and keyboard, but have so much fun with halo that we still play it.

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              September 8, 2011 12:45 PM

              Goldeneye (and it's followup Perfect Dark) was fun enough to play with the gimpiest controller ever made, years before Halo. And Timesplitters 2 is to this day the best FPS ever released on a console, and it was only released less than a year after Halo. But let me guess, those don't count for some retarded reason?

    • reply
      September 6, 2011 2:08 PM

      For some odd reason, the PA webserver isn't displaying the comic, so here's the Wikia entry: http://pennyarcade.wikia.com/wiki/May_1,_2006

      Title: "That Infernal Industry"
      Banner on top of comic: "The Levels of Development Hell"

      Panel 3:
      {Scene change. A four-mouthed demon is looking at the three Bungie developers. Headline at top.}
      Headline: Level 14 - Forced to create Halo game after Halo game after etc.
      Demon: The Demo will be completed by E3! It will be TWO MINUTES IN DURATION ROWRRROWLLORW.
      Bungie: Guys? Remember back in '98? I don't think we actually survived that crash.

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      September 6, 2011 3:04 PM

      Well if he was intending to "write" anything for a Halo game, that would be his first mistake. Its sort of shocking to me that some dude who kind of looks like Rivers Cuomo went from being a translator for Konami, to being a creative lead on arguably the biggest franchise in the industry. I hope he feels better.

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        September 6, 2011 3:07 PM

        That doesn't mean a translator can't also be a writer; JP Kellams at Platinum Games does both.

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          September 6, 2011 3:23 PM

          It just doesn't seem like he was that important at Konami, so much as a uniquely skilled. I mean he helped direct voice work with Kris Zimmerman, and he happens to be bilingual. He brought a "western" perspective to the development, which I guess means he told them to use dual stick aiming. I mean, to me its kind of a radical upward trajectory to go from that to being ostensibly in charge of a very huge game like Halo.

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        September 6, 2011 4:36 PM

        >>Work on one of the more inventive and intriguing (albeit TALKTALKTALK heavy in the 4th installment) current franchises
        >>It's considered an upgrade to work on a by-the-numbers FPS

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          September 6, 2011 5:51 PM

          Halo is bigger and more important than Metal Gear. From a sheer stand point of commercial importance, Halo is an upgrade. Because of sales numbers and what it represents for Microsoft as a platform holder.

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            September 7, 2011 11:49 AM

            It might be bigger, but it's not better, and it's only more important to the bottom-line of Microsoft's pockets (which is a moot point, as until recently only a really terrible port of the weakest game in the MGS series ever appeared on a Microsoft console). Oh, and I guess it's also important to the dumbing down of FPSes and games in general. If that's anything to be proud of.

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              September 8, 2011 6:53 AM

              dear god dude, really? dumbing down? FPS isn't exactly a deep complex genre. Halo has as much depth of gameplay as any other game in the genre I have played.

              And to both of you, can you really compare metal gear to halo? that goes for importance and how good they are. I hate metal gear, but obviously you don't. They aren't the same genre so you can't really argue which is better.

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                September 8, 2011 12:42 PM

                No, if you have two games of near-equal worth that are in separate genres, I agree you can't really compare them.

                But if you are comparing a gold bar and a shit sandwich? I don't care if the gold-bar is currency and the shit-sandwich is a novelty prank toy and those are two very different realms, the gold-bar is still much better.

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                  October 1, 2011 7:07 PM

                  I wish Bungie would read your posts. They would laugh for hours at your ignorance. No debate needs to be had; fools rarely change, even when presented with logic, largely as a result of sheer pride.

    • reply
      September 6, 2011 5:49 PM

      The lead cinematic director of Mass Effect 2 (Armando Troisi) is Ryan Payton's replacement.

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      September 6, 2011 6:11 PM

      Apparently he hasn't been in the role for a while now.

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      September 7, 2011 12:09 AM

      Camouflaj.. that sounds like a name for a stealthy fart

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      September 8, 2011 5:07 PM

      If you have an interest in hearing Ryan Payton when he was still with the MGS crew, you can go to iTunes and grab the Kojima Productions podcast episodes from 2006. At the time, I found his outlook and perspective on the MGS series to be refreshing, and in my opinion his participation on MGS4 helped me enjoy that game much more than I think I would have otherwise. Hard to believe that was five years ago.

      Anyway, just wanted to put that out there. Some of you seem to be unfamiliar with his history, and you can learn a bit about the man through available content.

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