343 Industries’ Bonnie Ross talks industry diversity and the future of Halo

During a recent interview, the head of 343 Industries Bonnie Ross opened up about why she believes the future of the video game industry should be a progressive one. The interview also covered how Ross and her team are approaching the currently in-development Halo sequel Halo Infinite and how the game represents a new, diverse identity for the long-running shooter franchise.

Speaking to CBS News’ 60 Minutes, Ross explained how it feels to be a female leader in a typically male-dominated industry and how that experience has shaped her outlook on the future of game development. Ross laments the declining number of girls and women seeking education or a career in computer sciences.

“In many times there’s not even a way where I could bring a woman into a specific job because the candidates are just not there,” she said.

Ross goes on to explain that because of these often smaller candidate pools, the tech industry has become fiercely competitive when it comes to retaining or hiring women with computer science degrees.

She also explains that it is a priority goal to create experiences at Microsoft and 343 Industries, which allow a diverse range of players to feel as though they are represented in the game they are playing. Options such as gender, skin color, body size, and general appearance choices play a role in the creative process for Ross and many like her but in order to achieve the kinds of diversity options they seek, Ross said that the development teams themselves must be more diverse.

“I think diversity does attract diversity,” said Ross, who says that the current team at 343 Industries is more diverse than it has ever been. The team’s diversity, according to Ross, has led to more diverse thinking, output, and innovations which will all greatly impact the future of the Halo franchise and beyond. These new innovations are likely what led her to recently call the upcoming Halo Infinite a “spiritual reboot” for the franchise.

Ross has a notable history of championing a more progressive future for the tech world. The leader was recently inducted into the D.I.C.E. Awards Hall of Fame, which was awarded to the studio head for her commitment to diversity in the games industry.