Halo Infinite: When it had its gameplay revealed in July of last year, Halo Infinite became a laughing stock. With tough, slow gameplay and dated graphics, the game that was supposed to be the flagship and sales boost for the new generation of Xbox consoles ended up needing to be postponed.
When they hit shelves in late 2020, despite having the new Halo listed as one of the launch titles, both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S were marketed without a major exclusive game. Now, nearly a year later, a Bloomberg article by journalists Dina Bass and Jason Schreier details the disaster that unfolded behind the scenes before the project finally got underway.
The 343 Industries team began planning their new game in the series as early as 2015, the same year that Halo 5 was released. It was soon decided that the new Halo would no longer have linear stages, but would now have a huge open world. According to the Bloomberg text, the developer aimed to adapt the success of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild into the next Master Chief adventure.
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) December 8, 2021
From there, the production team began working on the project using the Faber engine, the same used by Bungie in the previous games in the series. The tool, however, was buggy and difficult to use, and one of the biggest complaints from the devs was about the excess of code that made “humble” to solve problems found by the creation team of the older Halo’s.
Added to this was a problem that was very common to Microsoft and its studios: by using hired labor for temporary periods, every 18 months 343 lost employees essential to the project. New employees arriving to help with production didn’t have the necessary knowledge of title coding — let alone those who came before, created by Bungie — making the whole process even slower.
At one point in 2019, 343 Industries executives decided to cut nearly two-thirds of what was originally planned for the new Halo. During this period, production was so messed up that some devs were instructed to go to the office and do literally nothing, while the studio leadership decided what their next step would be. Finally, it was decided that the open world would be greatly reduced compared to the initial idea.