Ryan Payton leaves 343 Industries to found Camouflaj

Tuesday, 6th September 2011 10:00 GMT By Johnny Cullen

343 Industries creative director Ryan Payton has left the Halo developer to begin a new studio called Camouflaj.

Payton, who was also part of the development team working on Metal Gear Solid 4 for Kojima Productions, told Kotaku he left the studio because he wasn’t “creatively excited” about the title he was working on at 343, Halo 4.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Payton decided on a change from 343 after being diagnosed with severe depression.

“For somebody who loves this industry as much as I do and know how lucky I’ve been, I never thought I’d get to a point where I was so drained. That was when I knew I had to do something else.”

Payton confirmed in the interview – and at a session at CEDEC in Japan this morning – that he’s created a new studio called Camouflaj, where two projects are already underway. He said he doesn’t regret the time spent at 343, though.

“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.”

Payton left Kojima Productions for 343 in 2008 after receiving news of his mother being diagnosed with cancer following development of MGS4 wrapping up.



  1. Joe Anderson

    Don’t blame his, I wouldn’t want to work on Halo either, rubbish game that is.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. StolenGlory


    I quite enjoy it in co-op and competitive multiplayer from time to time, but have little love for the games in single-player or for the lore contained therein.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. YoungZer0

    Absolutely understandable. Halo and Creativity just don’t work together.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Blerk

    I imagine it’s very difficult to take over a project like Halo and actually be allowed to make any changes. Any grand ideas you have about direction are likely to be shot down for fear of pissing off the already-rabid fan-base. And you can sort of see the concern – it’s a very hard act to follow. Too samey and it’ll be berated for not moving on, too different and it’ll be berated for “not being Halo”.

    In a way I think they should’ve let Master Chief go and done more spin-offs in the same universe instead.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. YoungZer0

    @4: You can already see the reactions of the fans asking why Master Chiefs armor is different. While it looks quite the same.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Johnny Cullen

    In fairness to him, he was apparently originally tied with that Halo Chronicles/that Peter Jackson project when he came in. When that got canned, I guess he was shipped over to Halo 4.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. viralshag

    So it’s true then, working on Halo as well as playing Halo can cause severe bouts of depression.

    I don’t blame him at all.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Christopher Jack

    Disappointing to see some people’s total lack of respect to the hard work of these developers. It’s understandable to not like something, fair enough to criticize it’s weak points but plain insulting how some people just trash talk it because it doesn’t meet their standards.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. YoungZer0

    @8: Just like yesterday: You’re overreacting.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Christopher Jack

    @9, I’m not overreacting, I’m reacting to others overreactions, my post wasn’t aimed at anyone in particular here, Joe’s the most critical & he wasn’t that bad, Halo’s just a target because it’s large title which will always bring out opposition but that doesn’t change the fact that Bungie & now 343 worked really hard on their games.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Ireland Michael

    I don’t particularly care about the games, but give the developers some respect.

    Depression isn’t funny shit either. The guy has clearly had a fairly rough patch. Hats off to him for pushing through. Hopefully things work out for him in the near future.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. HeavyD-Love

    Speaks volumes for what they’re doing with the new game though for him to leave during the middle of the project and not even want to finish Halo 4 THEN leave.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. YoungZer0

    @10: How can you tell they are working hard?

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Christopher Jack

    @13, The industry as a whole is infamous for how hard these developers work, they deserve a little more respect for both their work & themselves too.Guessing otherwise would be a very ignorant assumption.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. DaMan

    Lol @ people having absolutely no idea what this guy was doing on the project yet commenting on his departure. Btw, has been working for MGS4? All the best!

    Besides, he wasn’t talking about creative side of the next Halo game, he was describing how what he was doing wasn’t creative enough for him. Big difference.

    Quote : ‘… fundamentally different and I don’t think I had built enough credibility to see such a crazy endeavor through … ‘

    Well, at least unlike internet folks he can see what a giant failure can the game end up being if you aren’t certain you can pull it off.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Craymen Edge

    Yeah, I find Halo depressing too.

    Jokes aside, it’s great that he recognised the situation and was able to do something about it. Terrible name for the new studio though.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. YoungZer0

    @14: So you don’t know for sure that they are working hard. How do they deserve respect? Isn’t that their first game?

    #17 3 years ago

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