Halo games used to be on a pretty predictable schedule—we’d get one major one every 2-3 years. True, technically there was a five year gap between 2007’s Halo 3 and 2012’s Halo 4, but we got Halo 3: ODST in 2009, and Halo Reach in 2010, so we were getting something along the way.
But it’s been lights out for Halo shooters since 2015, when we got Halo 5: Guardians. People expected a Halo 6 in 2018, but while Halo Infinite did get announced last E3, the game itself isn’t out yet. Why has Halo Infinite taken so long?
According to Bonnie Ross of 343 Industries, the reason has to do with the engine the developer used to use for Halo games before switching over to Slipspace Engine with Infinite. The old engine had a very specific kind of game that could be used to make it, and was too limiting for the developers—enough that they felt compelled to make a new engine for it too, adding to the development time.
“The Halo engine is a very technical, engineering-focused engine — it’s super-hard for creatives to work in,” Ross said in an interview with IGN Unfiltered. “We promised the team [after Halo 4] that we would do the work on the tools and pipeline for Halo 5, so it wasn’t such a challenging environment to develop in. Best laid plans — we didn’t do that. The team, rightfully so, called us on it.
“We want a team who can do their best creative work with our engine, so it was taking the time — and we announced the Slipspace Engine — it’s all to make sure we’re building the platform for the future of Halo. So, it’s been a huge investment — bigger investment than we’ve ever done. We needed to [design a new engine] for [Infinite]. [It took us] a lot of work to get there.”
Ross promised that 343 Industries will share more about this engine come E3, which at least seems to indicate that we might get some Halo news then. Meanwhile, I wonder what kinds of changes 343 Industries was looking at making for Halo Infinite that the older engine might not have been able to allow for. RPG mechanics, perhaps?