The original open world of Halo Infinite looked very different, as developer 343 Industries made significant cuts and changes during development.
While Halo Infinite was the first entry in the classic sci-fi FPS series to introduce an open environment, its non-linear design has gone through several iterations. The world that appears in the final version is a scaled-down version of what 343 had originally planned.
“The team went through a lot of iterations about the scope and variety of biomes before I came in,” 343 chief creative officer Joseph Staten told the BBC. Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (opens in new tab). “Even after I joined the team, we had to make choices about where to cut back.”
a whole new world
Staten said the team didn’t have the time to create a world as varied as they originally envisioned, while achieving the level of graphical fidelity, detail, and world depth that players have come to expect. While he thinks they made great strides in the maligned E3 2020 demo of Halo Infinite, targeted cuts were needed.
“We ended up not cutting a lot from the open world, but I know from the original designs there was a pretty significant reduction of what the team expected at a point that they could deliver.
“We knew we needed to truly deliver a quality experience [and] achieve our ambitions to ensure that the things we ship live up to expectations.”
But those expectations were difficult to navigate. While touted as an open-world experience for Xbox Series X, Halo Infinite doesn’t include some of the core features gamers might associate with style. When designing the game, the team was careful not to include mechanics that would be thematically at odds with the series and its characters.
“We are an open world game in that our game is much more open than it used to be,” says Staten. “Halo has always been a relatively open game in terms of geometry, for a shooter, but we weren’t layering a lot of systems.
“We talked a lot about crafts, for example, and my infamous line to the team was something like, ‘Master Chief doesn’t have to kill animals to make himself leather shirts. He is a huge armored super soldier. If he wants something, he’ll go and kill him, take his gun and keep going.’”
The difference this time is that you can do it while clinging to a rugged landscape. You can do this with a friend too, now that Halo Infinite co-op is here for Xbox Insiders. All that slashing could be why Halo Infinite is one of the best games on Xbox Series X and a reason to get Game Pass.