343 Industries was formed back in 2007 after the separation of Bungie and Microsoft to oversee the Halo franchise, though they didn’t get their first crack at it until Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary in 2011. Their first completely new entry in the series was Halo 4, which was overseen by director Josh Holmes, who is now leaving 343 Industries.
Holmes has been around the gaming industry since he got his start at EA Canada in 1995, with him eventually co-founding Propaganda Games. This company was acquired by Disney Interactive soon after and Holmes eventually left due to creative differences in 2008, which led him to joining 343 Industries in 2009.
Through a blog post on the Halo Waypoint site, Holmes revealed he is departing the company to pursue indie game development.
“I have loved every moment here on Halo but I find myself drawn to new horizons. This month I’m leaving 343 Industries and excited for my next adventure to pursue independent game development.
As I depart I am passing the torch to my good friend and long-time partner in crime, Chris Lee. As the head of production on Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, Chris has played a key role in the studio since our inception. He is a tremendous leader and Halo is in great hands with him.
There are many things I will miss as I leave 343: the daily ritual of playtest, long nights spent triaging bugs, Berger’s hair… Most of all I will miss making games for the very best community of fans in the world: you.”
As he said in the post, Chris Lee will be taking over Holmes role at 343 Industries, but this is definitely a big loss for the developer. I’m sure we’ll be hearing his name again before long with his past gaming history.