Halo Infinite Reportedly Began as a Full BOTW-Style Open World, Two-Thirds of Content Cut

Nathan Birch
Halo Infinite Xbox Spring Sale

Halo Infinite seems to be poised to become a relatively-rare video game redemption story. When the game’s campaign was first shown off in the summer of 2020, the reaction was scathing, but a bit over a year later press reviews are good (check out Wccftech’s here) and hype levels are high. With the game set to launch, a new article in Bloomberg provides some interesting new information about what went wrong with Halo Infinite and how Microsoft righted the ship.

Early teasers for Halo Infinite seemed to hint at a full open world, and indeed, Bloomberg reports the original plan was a Breath-of-the-Wild-style map, with missions that could be completed in whatever order the player preferred. Development of this version of the game continued for several years, but the Halo Slipspace Engine – still built on the back of technology left behind by Bungie many years earlier – didn’t prove up to the task of a full open-world adventure. Internal strife and departures at developer 343 Industries didn’t help matters.

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Reportedly, Halo Infinite entered full-on “crisis mode” in the summer of 2019, and around two-thirds of the game’s planned content was cut in order to streamline the game into more of a “wide linear” design. Even with those cuts, the game was still not shaping up on schedule, and following the disastrous 2020 gameplay reveal, former Halo writer and Microsoft fixer Joseph Staten was brought on board to get things on track. Staten pushed Microsoft to give Halo Infinite as much extra time as possible for technical polishing, and wrote up a list of new features that could help the game, including its expanded system of operating bases and support marines.

Overall, it seems like the extra time and Staten’s leadership have paid off. Still, it’s interesting to think about what the original fully open-world vision of Halo Infinite might have been like.

Halo Infinite launches today on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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