Oh boy, it’s been rough being a Halo fan over the past year. 343 Industries launched Halo Infinite back at the tail end of 2021, and the core nucleus of the game was exceptional. The open world campaign added a much needed new dimension to Halo’s overall formula, while the multiplayer was top notch fun. Sure, they changed the shotgun and I’m still sad about it, but there was a lot to love.
However, we’re barrelling towards the year anniversary of Halo Infinite’s release, and it feels like the ship’s taking on water by the gallon. The multiplayer is only in its second season of content, with Season 3 now being delayed until 2023. The campaign co-op has been delayed to the end of the year along with the Forge mode, while local campaign co-op has been axed. Despite that, there’s a glitch where players can still experience the local co-op campaign mode, while the Forge mode has been leaked on PC.
If what’s been created already via the Forge mode is anything to go by, that alone should be an earth-shattering addition to what Halo Infinite has to offer, but the fact remains that Halo Infinite has been out for nearly a year and has had nothing significant to show for it. No meaningful new content besides a couple of maps and modes (one of which is even getting removed from matchmaking due to lack of popularity), no huge updates and none of the promised features like campaign co-op or Forge.
Hindsight really is 20:20, and now that we’ve lived through the game’s actual launch, it’s hard to escape the feeling that Halo Infinite should have been held back by a year or so. Again, while the launch version of Halo Infinite was solid, and certainly a huge improvement over what it could have been had it launched in 2020 as originally planned, a game like Halo Infinite lives or dies on its post-launch content, but what’s been offered has been sporadic and lacking in any real depth.
It feels like updating the multiplayer with fresh new content has taken the back burner, while 343 Industries focuses on the co-op campaign and Forge mode, two features that have been staples of the Halo franchise for a long time but were omitted from Halo Infinite at launch. By playing catch-up in this way, it seems like 343 are sacrificing Halo Infinite’s future as the multiplayer is being left out to dry while the devs figure out how two Master Chiefs can Grappleshot the Banished simultaneously.
Naturally, these difficulties that Halo Infinite has faced come as a result of significant circumstances, as the game spent a year and a half in active development during COVID, which likely played a huge role in content being held back like it has. On top of that, Forge looks set to be the biggest it’s ever been, while the open world nature of the campaign likely added new difficulties and challenges to the development of the co-op campaign.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that how Halo Infinite launched (and how it’s been handled post-launch) hasn’t been well received by the player-base. Players are moving on to other games in droves, which isn’t surprising, and many legacy fans are frustrated that these long-time features of the series still haven’t been added to the game.
What’s done is done, and Halo Infinite can’t exactly be unlaunched and held back for a year now, but it could serve as a lesson to other developers and publishers. If a team is thinking of launching their latest game without features that players would expect, and you’re planning on spending a year adding them in, maybe just delay the game so you can launch with them. It sure seems like a better solution than what Halo Infinite is doing.
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