Halo Infinite fans, currently playing the second of two six month seasons, are waiting around for features that most assumed would launch with the game, campaign co-op and Forge. The fortunes of the game, meant to be a “platform” for a whole new generation of Halo, seem a bit up in the air at present.
While I’m being somewhat diplomatic here, others are…not. Stream NickMercsusually playing Fortnite or Apex these days, had a “say what everyone is thinking” moment on stream this week about Halo Infinite where he shreds the game and 343 to his large audience.
Here’s the clip, and I’ll post a transcript below. Harsh language abounds:
“I’m gonna say something, and I hope you guys agree with it. I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t…The gaming community as a whole was ready for a new f-ing awesome game and Halo dropped the f-ing ball. Everyone at that f-ing company should be ashamed of themselves man. 343 is a joke, they’re f-ing awful, they don’t give a st about anybody that plays their games, old or new. Their f-ing pride and ego got in the way of what could have been incredible timing, and god, it could have just f-ng taken over everything. But instead, they have 800 people in the f-ing game right now. We should all be playing a Halo BR right now, together.”
NickMercs is referencing a common streamer sentiment pre-release that Halo Infinite should launch with a battle royale mode, given that was the most popular genre at the time, and something that it seemed Halo could lend itself too. This led to some manner of split between those who thought that was a good or bad idea, with many saying Halo should stick to its roots. 343 seemed to mock the notion, saying at the time that “the only BR we’re interested in is the Battle Rifle.” That may be part of the “pride and ego” bit that NickMercs is referencing.
Allegedly, 343 and Microsoft seem to have come around to the BR idea, as rumor has it that Certain Affinity is working on some sort of standalone Halo mode that appears to be at least some variant of a battle royale, though we have no timetable on when it will actually happen.
As for Halo’s performance, it’s doing better than the 800 players NickMercs says, but it’s certainly not performing at the level Microsoft wants. Halo Infinite is peaking at around 6,000 players a day on Steam, comparing unfavorably to the biggest multiplayer hits of the era like Apex Legends (352,000 peak yesterday), PUBG (385,000 peak) or CS:GO (906,000 peak). On its home console of Xbox, it’s #16 in the top 20 games of the console less than a year after release, behind multiplayer shooters like Fortnite, Warzone, Apex, Siege and Destiny 2.
I would not use language as harsh as NickMercs to describe 343, but I do think they have dropped the ball in many ways when it comes to Halo as a franchise, and especially this time around with Infinite, which decided to try to play it safe by attempting to run with essentially only classic-style modes rather than experiment in new genres. Then, add in the fact that they got their live service rewards and microtransactions very, very wrong, and are still fixing those to this day, and this continues to be an ongoing problem. A live game also cannot survive well with sprawling six month seasons.
We’ll see what the future holds for Halo Infinite, but it wasn’t mentioned in any of Microsoft summer game reveal events. There’s a lot of work to be done here.
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