Halo Infinite is the first open-world game in Microsoft's marquee shooter, and for the most part, it worked. The shift resulted in critics having nothing but positive things to say about Halo Infinite. But, it appears that the first open-world entry in the sci-fi FPS series was a lot different during the earlier stages of the development. Specifically, Halo Infinite could have had a much larger open world environment with more variety.
According to 343's head of creative, Joseph Staten, the Halo Infinite team "went through a lot of iterations on scope and biome variety," adding that they had to "make choices about where to scale back."
As Staten put it, Microsoft just didn't give 343 enough time to fulfill their original vision for Halo Infinite without compromising everything else about the game. It also didn't help that 343 had to deal with the mess created by the infamous 2020 Halo Infinite E3 demo.
For what it's worth, the targeted cuts weren't always about scaling back their ambition and scope for Halo Infinite. Staten explains that 343 also had to be careful about adding mechanics that would not fit thematically with the Halo franchise. Staten used crafting as an example, adding that "Master Chief doesn't need to kill animals to make leather shirts for himself. He's a massive armored super soldier. If he wants something, he goes and kills it, grabs its gun, and then keeps on going."
But, while it's reassuring that 343 took its sweet time deliberating on which type of content to cut and scale back on, we can't help but wonder about what the studio has in store for Halo Infinite.
We're aware that Microsoft intends to use Halo Infinite as a platform so fans won't have to wait years between major games. Unfortunately, 343 has done little to assure Halo fans that it has plans for Halo Infinite outside of the multiplayer aspect. The ideal solution here is for 343 to go back to the cut content to see which one it could use as the starting point for an expansion. Then again, we don't think that 343 can afford to do that soon. For starters, 343 only just began testing out the long-delayed campaign co-op mode for Xbox Insiders. Most likely, we'll have to wait to find out what 343 has in store for Halo Infinite's campaign if any at all.
In the meantime, Halo Infinite continues to bleed players as 343 struggles to keep its audience entertained. Things got so bad in July that Battlefield 2042 ended up having three times as many players as Halo Infinite, which is not a good sign considering that Battlefield 2042 was considered dead in the water just a few months back.