Halo Infinite is possibly one of my most anticipated games coming this year. This is saying something considering all the phenomenal games that will be launching in the last months of 2021. Halo holds a special place in my heart. It was a huge factor in what led me into console gaming. Sitting in my best friend’s room doing run after run of the original Halo campaign was phenomenal.
This continued for well over a decade, from the legendary difficulty campaign runs, to the intense games of Slayer and Swat. If you ask many Halo fans, their favorite memories of the franchise are often with friends, siblings, and even parents. All of this is what makes the announcement of Halo Infinite’s lack of co-op incredibly odd.
Yesterday, 343 Industries announced that both the Forge mode and the co-op campaign would not be available to players when Halo Infinite launches this year. These modes will be added in 2022 via free updates. The co-op campaign is expected within the first 3 months of launch meanwhile forge mode is expected within 6 months of launch. I want to say that I appreciate 343’s transparency on what content will be available at launch. While Halo Infinite currently doesn’t have a release date, it is set to release this holiday which gives players a few month’s heads up.
There was no doubt that this announcement would disappoint fans. Getting ahead of it and announcing this well before launch is a smart move. I also appreciate that they didn’t try to launch these modes if they weren’t ready for players to experience them. COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into many developers’ plans to make their original development timeline. Many game enthusiasts seem to be more willing to accept delays due to these challenges, especially since the whole Cyberpunk 2077 debacle. However, Halo Infinite lacking specific content that has defined the franchise for many of its fans just feels weird.
Where Has The Time Gone?
Delays are part of the gaming industry right now, it is something many of us have gotten used to. With Halo Infinite it is hard to not raise an eyebrow due to the history of this game’s development. Originally the game was set to be an Xbox Series console launch title. However, after a lackluster debut, many fans were left questioning the future of Halo. At the time, 343 announced that they were delaying the game to improve and deliver on a Halo game that fans would love. It begs the question, what was the state of the game when 343 planned to launch it last year? Especially when a year later specific modes are being added post-launch instead of on launch day. It once again puts doubt into the hearts of fans who are hoping for a complete package from 343. The biggest criticism of 343 has been their inability to create a memorable campaign alongside incredible multiplayer. While they have made a great single-player game with Halo 4 and a fantastic multiplayer game with Halo 5, they have yet to deliver on both fronts in a single release.
Halo Infinite is anticipated to be the franchise’s big return, with the pressure undoubtedly on 343 to deliver that. Until yesterday’s announcement, all of the feedback on Halo Infinite had been incredibly positive from fans’ hands-on experience with the multiplayer test flight. As well as frequent updates from 343 in regards to how the game was shaping up. This went from weapons, armor, and in-depth looks into the world we will be exploring in Halo Infinite. I think why the announcement stings so much is because everything appeared to be on track from what we saw. Now, this small announcement has once again planted seeds of doubt amongst some fans. This is the longest the Halo community has gone without a new installment in the franchise, expectations are high.
To Delay Halo Infinite Or Not?
The major argument that has been blazing across social media is whether or not the game should be delayed due to these features. Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer to this question directly. What’s right or wrong depends solely on how you feel as a fan. If you enjoy Halo’s campaign on your own, and the multiplayer is looking great from what we have seen so far, a delay might feel unnecessary. However, if playing Infinite’s campaign with your sibling, friend, or parent was at the top of your list, then you might rightfully believe a delay should be in the future for Halo Infinite. I think it’s a very dangerous line that 343 is riding with delaying parts of Halo Infinite.
I understand Halo Infinite is meant to be a platform, which means the game will constantly be updated and evolving similar to Destiny 2. However, just because the focus of your game is a long-term plan does not mean you should delay specific content out of the launch window. You owe your fans a fully realized product at launch when they put their $60 down. One criticism Bungie has faced with Destiny is having lackluster launch content or simply not appealing to their wider fanbase. While Bungie has done a fantastic job at addressing the variety of different issues that have faced their community in terms of content, Halo Infinite is not going to be afforded a “wait and see” period due to many factors.
With over 6 years since the last installment in the franchise, fans are questioning why something that has helped to define the franchise cannot make launch. It’s a valid thought, and concern I 100% understand, yet I am majorly disappointed as a fan. Playing Halo in co-op with my best friend remains some of my most cherished gaming memories, and we were excited to experience the game together. We both planned to book time off work to experience the campaign together on launch day. However, that simply won’t be possible. With the amount of time that 343 has had to develop Halo Infinite, it feels confusing that a feature that has been in every Halo game since the original has now been left to the wayside.
In The End Will It Matter?
Could all this hubbub and concern be for nothing in the end? Online forums are always looking for the next doom and gloom topic to latch on to. Halo Infinite could launch with a fantastic single-player campaign as well as an action-packed multiplayer that appeases old fans. This could bring in new fans to the franchise with a whole new generation getting to experience a Halo game for the first time. However, I feel it’s important that fans that are genuinely disappointed with the news are heard. Just because you specifically are fine with the content missing launch, does not mean other people also have to be happy with this announcement. Halo has such a wide and diverse fanbase that all love the franchise for incredibly different reasons. I hope that Halo Infinite delivers and becomes the game that brings fans together so that we can once again celebrate the franchise we love.