Halo Co-Creator Joins EA To Start New Studio Working On First-Person Games

Marcus Lehto, "the father of the Master Chief," has joined EA.


Halo co-creator Marcus Lehto has finally announced the next career move he had been teasing for some time, and it is indeed a big change. Lehto is joining Electronic Arts as a game director for a new EA studio in the Seattle area. The studio will work on first-person games, but that's all Lehto was able to share as part of the initial announcement.

"I can't wait to share more about what we're creating!" he said.

In September, Lehto teased a future move, saying, "Some of you will support it, some will not. I just ask that you all join me on this next leg of [the] journey. It's going to be big!"

Earlier this year, EA announced it was opening a new Seattle studio, with former Monolith Productions executive Kevin Stephens leading the team. Trademark filings have suggested the new EA Seattle office could be called Neon Black Studios.

This is a different studio than the one that Lehto is joining. The two may share office spaces, but they are two different teams. Stephens' studio. is making open-world action games and Lehto's is focused on first-person games.

"Marcus Lehto is starting another new studio in the Seattle area. His studio will be focused on making first-person games. The other recently opened studio, led by Kevin Stephens, is focused on creating open-world action games. While they may eventually share office space, they will be two distinct studios with different focuses," a spokesperson for EA said.

Lehto worked at Bungie from the beginning where he co-created the Halo universe before becoming the art director at the studio on other Halo titles. Lehto is also known as the "father of the Master Chief," having created his original design. He was creative director on Bungie's last Halo game, Halo: Reach, before he shifted to the Destiny series.

Lehto left Bungie in 2012 and started his own company, V1 Interactive. The studio released its first game, Disintegration, in 2020. It was unable to find an audience and the game's servers shut down before the studio overall closed.

Lehto is not the only Halo and Bungie veteran working at EA. Bungie co-founder Alex Seropian, who co-created the Halo universe, runs EA's mobile studio Industrial Toys, which is making Battlefield Mobile.

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