Halo Infinite was certainly a return to form for the series’ campaigns, and with its open world structure, it also represented the biggest shake-up to the Halo formula since its inception. Of course, as those who’ve played the game will tell you, the open world of Zeta Halo wasn’t necessarily the largest, and as many have pointed out, was also lacking in environmental variety. If things had gone differently though, it could have been much larger and more varied.
Speaking with Insomniac’s Ted Price during a recent episode of the AIAS Game Maker’s Notebook Podcast, 343 Industries’ head of creative Joseph Staten revealed that while the developer didn’t cut out too much of the open world from the point that he joined the team in August of 2020, the game’s campaign did go through a “significant scaling back” before that point. Ultimately, as per Staten, the goal was to prioritize quality and ensure that what was being delivered in the game at launch would meet expectations.
“I know the team went through a lot of iterations on scope and biome variety before I joined the team,” Staten said. “Even after I joined the team, we had to make choices about where to scale back. We talked about that ambition for fidelity. We just didn’t have the time to go after the level of fidelity across as much variety as we wanted to. We made huge strides from the E3 demo to when we shipped the game, but we still had to scale back, make targeted cuts.
“We didn’t end up cutting that much, ultimately, from the open world, but I know that from the original designs, there was a pretty significant scaling back of what the team had hoped at one point they could deliver on.”
He added: “We knew that we needed to truly deliver a quality experience- just scope our ambitions to make sure that with the stuff that we did ship, we met the expectations.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time that we’ve heard about how Halo Infinite’s open world ambitions had to be scaled back during the course of its development. Reports have previously stated that 343 Industries had initially planned on a much larger and more varied open world, with the closest analog being The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild- read more on that through here.
Halo Infinite is available on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC.