343 Industries’ Halo Infinite has seen quite a lot of focus lately, even before its delay into 2021. The demo at Xbox Games Showcase put a damper on the expectations of several Halo fans with regards to the game’s visual quality. One always believed development to be going through some issues, as evidenced by the departures of creative director Tim Longo and lead producer Mary Olsen. However, a new report by Brad Sams on Thurrott reveals that issues for the game began even before that.
343 Industries began working on a brand new engine, SlipSpace, while also developing the game – tentatively known as Halo 6 – for the Xbox Series X, which was a ways off from being announced. However, the problems began before E3 2019 with 343 Industries sourcing a lot of the development to third-party contractors. Sams describes the coordination between the various companies as “rough, at best” with one source stating that “the out-sourcing for Infinite was at a ratio higher than a typical studio undertakes during development which has caused significant headaches for cross-development collaboration.”
Sams believes the E3 2019 trailer was outsourced and that game wasn’t playable at the same level of fidelity at the time. Several people also talked about “significant disagreements internally”, which led to Longo leaving in August 2019. Interestingly, as the challenges of delivering the game by Holiday 2020 began to mount, discussions to split the game’s campaign and multiplayer started in either late 2019 or early 2020. While the final decision was made recently, the discussion started a lot earlier than expected.
Other issues include Showtime’s Halo TV series being “a significant distraction for 343 management. Often times taking their priority instead of focusing on making sure development progress is on the right path to reaching its targeted deadline”; a disconnect between engineering and marketing, especially as it pertains to the announcement of multiplayer being free to play; and of course, the impact of COVID-19 on top of everything else. Take the report with a grain of salt, but we’ll see how development on Halo Infinite carries on in the coming year.