Halo Infinite released on November 15, 2021, and to this day… I still don’t know what the plan for the game is.
When Microsoft announced the game, it declared it was the platform for the future of the franchise. The expectation was that Halo Infinite was going to be updated regularly with new content and that the development team was going to continue the story through new expansions – there would be no Halo Infinite 2. Heck, in my own interview with Halo Infinite composer Gareth Coker last year, he mentioned that more story content was in the works.
Since launch, we’ve had just a handful of new multiplayer maps added, and a few months ago, Forge and co-op finally launched after multiple delays. While these helped breathe a bit of new life into the game, developer 343 Industries and Xbox have still not made clear what the plan is for Halo Infinite going forward. Fast-forward to today, and the studio has been hit with significant layoffs, particularly of staff working on single-player content, and Joseph Staten, who was specifically brought in to take the reins of the game and get it fixed up, has now left the studio and returned to his previous role on the Xbox Publishing team.
This is both a problem for 343 and us as players, as the industry has become so hyper-focused on the games-as-a-service model that I feel like I’m constantly waiting for a game that might never actually exist.
As a huge fan of Halo, and someone with a deeper knowledge of how studios operate, I’ve been patient in waiting for Xbox and 343 to clue us in to the future for the game. But time and time again, their roadmaps have lacked clarity, and the studio has refused to address what the long-term plan is for the game outside of more battle passes, a few maps, and updates to Forge. Unfortunately for 343, the studio just doesn’t have the goodwill of a fanbase that trusts it to meet their expectations, and it honestly feels like the studio naively thinks it does have that support.
Without sounding like an entitled fan of the series, I think 343 and Xbox are overdue for an explanation of what the plan is for their biggest and most important franchise. It feels directionless at the moment, and trust in 343 as a studio is at an all-time low. The game wasn’t even mentioned in their big Xbox showcase last June, and it looks like it won’t be getting any mention again during the showcase happening next week on January 25. It’s a bit shocking really that Xbox is not addressing what the long-term goals are for Halo Infinite… if any remain at this point.
Are story expansions coming? Is Infinite just getting the bare minimum of support while they re-reboot the series? What’s the future of 343 as a studio considering today’s layoffs and Staten leaving? Is Halo as a franchise going on ice?
There’s a lot of questions to answer about 343 and Halo that just aren’t being addressed. Xbox knows it has work to do on communicating about its projects and studios, considering the lack of confidence in the publisher still remains relatively high.
The way Halo as a franchise is continuing to be handled isn’t helping, and I’m hoping we get some real clarity soon, even if it’s news that Halo Infinite isn’t exactly infinite.