Today, 343 Industries announced the upcoming roadmap for Halo Infinite, a game that theoretically came out late last year after it had already been delayed a year prior. I say theoretically, because this roadmap includes some fairly hefty delays, some missed feature targets, and some completely axed features that were planned and/or promised before the game released last December.
You can watch 343’s update below, but the bullet points are:
- Season 3 (like the thing that comes after 1 and 2) has been delayed until March 2023
- Campaign co-op will come in an update in November
- The November update will also bring Forge mode and replay as well.
- Local campaign co-op has been completely cancelled.
This is not me wanting to jump all over 343 here, because game development can be difficult, and Halo Infinite has not had what I would call the most graceful beginnings in the last few years. But at some point, either because of the pandemic or just poor and inefficient workflow or management or whatever, something clearly went off the intended road.
In a vacuum, none of this is completely egregious. They did warn campaign co-op would come later, but 11 months seems like a fair bit later than anyone really expected. Even the axing of local co-op is maybe kind of understandable as a low priority for their resources had studio head Bonnie Ross not explicitly said in 2017 that they would never make the mistake of not including local co-op again.
No one made her say that! Personally, if local co-op were ever something that’s even kind of tenuous, I would probably simply choose not to make a lot of very definite wording around keeping it in. If I thought I could not bring home ice cream on my way back, I would not for example say “I’d have to be real fucking stupid to not bring home ice cream, which I will absolutely definitely do.”
I think the problem is that Halo Infinite is clashing between the reality of maybe not being entirely up to the task of what the game has been pitched as — a ten-year title with major resources that will move like a train that never stops — and the expectations that Halo is Microsoft’s crown jewel of a series largely based on past performance and priorities. Does it speak to an issue at 343 Industries or wider issues with Microsoft first-party studio management? I assure you no one outside of those two organizations can say for sure, but it’s getting difficult to watch the forever-train sputter into the station late and missing cars every so often.