I heard Jason Schreier was going to be doing a “what went wrong at 343” piece to figure out what on earth has been up with Halo Infinite lately, and now that it’s here, of course, he’s delivered.
The piece details a studio that seems to have few guiding principles as they handle both the next stages of Halo Infinite and the future of the Halo series in general, which 343 has reiterated they are not being removed from, despite recent events.
The biggest news in the piece is confirmation that Halo is about to make a grand leap to ditch the core Slipspace engine of the game, and instead move to the more generalized Unreal Engine 5, something that was first reported back in October. The old, sometimes ancient pieces of Slipspace were supposed to be one of the reasons Halo Infinite has moved so slowly, but critics of the switch to Unreal are worried the change may make the game not “feel” like Halo any more.
This switch will happen with the next big project that is not Infinite, Tatanka, the codename for Certain Affinity’s upcoming multiplayer standalone game that may be some sort of modified Battle Royale offering.
What stood out to me the most, however, was this section, which confirms that 343 has not been working on story content for Halo Infinite, and as of right now, they have absolutely no plans to do so in the future:
“Since Halo Infinite was released, fans had assumed that in addition to new multiplayer modes, 343 was working on new content for the story. But that wasn’t the case, according to the people familiar with the situation. Developers were making prototypes in the Unreal Engine and pitching ideas for new Halo games rather than working on new missions for Halo Infinite. Many of those developers were laid off this month and the company isn’t actively working on new story content, the people said.”
It’s absolutely bizarre that with the way Halo Infinite was set up, with a clear cliffhanger ending leading into more necessary adventures of Chief and nu-Cortana, that nothing was developed as post-launch story content, and that the entire future of Halo appears to be multiplayer focused as the game chases the live service pipe dream of games like Call of Duty or Apex Legends. But working as a live service is the main thing that Halo Infinite has been explicitly terrible at, and it’s wild to think that the only new Master Chief content we may get out of Halo in the next few years is the excruciatingly terrible Paramount Plus show.
Coming away from all this, it’s hard to understand why exactly Microsoft is going to be giving 343 yet another shot at yet another Halo reboot, as clearly something is broken at its core here, likely with either 343 leadership, Microsoft leadership, or both. It’s not working, but everyone just refuses to move on. Except players. They’re the ones moving on.
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