Halo Infinite's open world saw "significant scaling back" from original design

Sean Carey - August 2nd 2022

343 Industries' Joseph Staten has revealed that Halo Infinite's open world was significantly scaled back compared to the game's original scope.

Speaking on the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Game Maker's Notebook podcast (thanks, TechRadar), head of creative at 343 Industries Joseph Staten explained that 343 had to scale back the original design of Halo Infinite's open world.

343 had to "scale back" and make "targeted cuts" with Halo Infinite's open world

"The team went through a lot of iterations on scope and biome variety before I joined the team, and even after I joined the team, we had to make choices about where to scale back," Staten said. "We just didn't have the time to go after the level of fidelity across as much variety as we wanted to.

"We made huge strides from the E3 demo to when we shipped the game, but we still had to scale back and make targeted cuts. We didn't end up cutting that much ultimately from the open world, but I know from the original designs there was a pretty significant scaling back of what the team had hoped they could deliver on."

Halo Infinite was 343 Industries' first-open world game, so it's understandable that the studio didn't quite realise its original vision for the game and had to par it back and revise its plan in several places.

"I think anybody that's tried to crack an open world game, you know you don't succeed 100% out of the gate on your first try," Staten said. "You build up over time, you become better and better, you layer systems upon prior learnings, and so for us, it was really learning on the fly. It was building it for the first time, and so we needed, to truly deliver a quality experience, just scope our ambitions to make sure that the stuff that we did ship met expectations."

Staten then goes on to talk about the struggle of managing and balancing expectations of Halo Infinite's open world. "We wanted to free ourselves from a lot of the expectations of open world games, which is why we struggled for a long time in terms of how to talk about it in terms of our marketing promotion because we didn't want people to get the wrong impression. We are like an open world game in as much as our game is a lot more open than it used to be. Halo's always been a relatively open game in terms of its geometry for a shooter, but for us, we weren't layering on a whole bunch of systems.

"We talked a lot about crafting, for example, and I think my probably infamous line to the team was something along the lines of 'Master Chief doesn't need to kill animals to make leather shirts for himself. He's a massive armoured super soldier, and if he wants something, he goes and kills it and grabs its gun and keeps on going.'"

One feature of Halo Infinite that a lot of Halo fans have been waiting on is campaign co-op, which will finally be added to the game later this month. The co-op mode is currently undergoing testing with Halo Insiders, and once it does finally arrive, it will bring with some new Halo Infinite co-op achievements.

What are your thoughts on Staten's comments? Are you looking forward to unlocking those new campaign co-op achievements? Let us know down in the comments!

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