*Update September 7th*
Microsoft has provided an official response to the news of Ryan Payton's departure from 343. Here's the full statement:
"343 Industries has assembled an all-star cast of talent working on Halo 4 under the design leadership of Studio and “Halo 4” Creative Director, Josh Holmes. We're excited to tell the next story in the Halo universe with Halo 4 as the first game in the Reclaimer Trilogy. Ryan Payton, who left earlier this summer, served as Narrative Designer on Halo 4 for 15 months. Armando Troisi was hired as the Halo 4 Narrative Director in March, having formerly served as the Lead Cinematic Designer on Mass Effect 2. Ryan has been a great friend and colleague during his tenure at 343 Industries and we appreciate his contributions to the team. We wish Ryan the best in his new game development venture."
Creative director Ryan Payton has left Halo 4 saying he's "drained," and that he wasn't "creatively excited" about the game anymore.
"I had a great run at Microsoft, I don't regret one day of it," he told Kotaku. "But after a few years, there came a point where I wasn't creatively excited about the project anymore."
He says that he thinks the game won't be bad, it just won't be the one he wants. "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."
Payton has already started his own studio – Camouflaj –and is working on two projects.
Head over to Kotaku for more from Payton.