Whenever you have such a huge franchise like Halo 4, the pressure can be a lot to deal with. Ryan Payton, Narrative Designer on said title, reportedly left 343 Industries, due to being "drained" and not "creatively excited." The former assistant producer at Kojima Productions, who was credited with making fundamental changes to Metal Gear Solid 4, was said to be diagnosed with severe depression a few months ago.
He commented on his departure, as reported by Kotaku, saying:
"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. The Halo I wanted t build was fundamentally different and I don't think I had built enough credibility to see such a crazy endeavor through."
We're unsure about that credibility line, as Payton is often credited with modernizing Metal Gear Solid 4's often criticized controls. Although the split between him and 343 Industries is amicable, we're wondering what does this mean for Halo 4. The 2011 E3 trailer left plenty scratching their head as to what type of experience they'd truly have with Bungie no longer in the driver's seat. Now, as Payton starts up his own studio, named Camouflaj, and with two new titles already in development, has the death knell been sounded for Master Chief and company?
Payton has been replaced by Armando Troisi, Lead Cinematic Designer on Mass Effect 2, as the Halo 4 Narrative Director. It takes cajones to leave a gig like that, but we here at Complex wish Ryan Payton all the best, and look forward to seeing what he does in a new atmosphere.