As Halo Infinite began rolling out the multiplayer a couple of weeks ago, the Master Chief story continues. But at what cost?
The Halo games has been a revolutionary staple for Xbox and Microsoft, selling over 81 million copies of the games and raking in almost $6 billion. Near the end of November and marking the 20th anniversary of the Xbox, the studio behind Halo Infinite, 343 Industries, was able to give fans a taste of the game’s multiplayer. Today, the campaign for the game launches, which means expect online stores to be packed and potentially crashing. However, the path to this sequel game was not an easy, linear story and almost became a thoughtless idea.
Microsoft showed off its first trailer for Halo Infinite back in July 2020 but was met with negative reception as fans made jokes and memes that Xbox mistakenly mixed up the footage between Halo and Minecraft—a truly savage burn. The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, even mentioned on the subject, “We should have known before and just been honest with ourselves. We were there not out of deception, but more out of…hope. And I don’t think hope is a great development strategy.”
The original plan was for Halo Infinite to drop in late Fall 2020 with the release of the Xbox Series X|S back in November 2020. Most of the Halo games had releases within two or three years apart from each other, but Xbox gamers have been waiting for five years to hear what 343i had been cooking with its longest hiatus from the release of Halo 5: Guardians back in October 2015. The bold move of the studio was to postpone Halo Infinite one more year to ensure everything would be to the fans’ liking. They did not disappoint.
Many early reviews of the campaign and feedback of the multiplayer have been pouring with positive comments. The day after the multiplayer launched, the game set an Xbox record for most concurrent players on Steam. One of CGMagazine’s writers, Khari Taylor, even mentioned how “Halo Infinite has clearly benefited from an extra year in the oven,” and adding, “What we have here is 343i’s attempt at the ultimate Halo experience.”
There were a lot of infighting and management moves in the past years like the lead writer of the first three Halo games, Joseph Staten, who ended up serving as a senior creative director for Microsoft in 2009. He worked on big games like State of Decay and Crackdown while holding this position, but eventually found his way back to 343i. Staten was a key influencer in negotiating with Microsoft to give 343i more time to work out the bugs on their latest masterpiece before sending it out to no man’s land (aka gamers). Ultimately, patience and timing won again as the launch is looking to be quite successful.
Halo Infinite is available to purchase now for $79.99 on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and Steam (PC).