Halo Infinite’s delay was definitely one of the bigger disappointments that followed in the wake of the Xbox Series X|S releasing, especially since the Halo franchise has always been a driving factor for the new console’s sales each generation.
That said, there are rumors that the reason the game was delayed into sometime in 2021 is due to the development of a battle royale mode.
Halo’s community director Brian Jarrard responded to the rumor today, although it’s worth pointing out that his response isn’t much in the way of denying the rumor. Okay, yes, calling it “unfounded” does suggest that the rumor isn’t true, it more points to the fact that the rumor itself doesn’t have any solid reason to exist, not that it’s wrong.
Combined with the fact that we know Infinite’s multiplayer will be free-to-play while supported by microtransactions, it certainly seems likely that we’ll be seeing a Halo battle royale, but we won’t know until 343 Industries releases this year-end update Jarrard mentioned in his Tweet change.
I was always surprised that 343 and Halo was going with a free-to-play multiplayer model, especially since it would be one of the first of the more traditional, old-school FPS franchises to do so. Sure, Fortnite is free-to-play, but that game doesn’t have more than a decade on the market with a specific experience that players expect. Call of Duty Warzone is probably the most direct comparison you could make to Infinite’s multiplayer go free-to-play, but even Warzone was a battle royale, and not the traditional multiplayer.
And I mean really, given the amount of experimentation that we saw with Halo 5’s weapon system and multiplayer offerings, would anyone be that surprised if we got a battle royale? Halo 5 had large-scale game modes filled with players and various vehicles, so with a good chunk of the metaphorical leg work done, I can’t imagine there’s a ton more to be done to upscale the experience so that they could fit 60 or even 100 players onto a large enough map with vehicles and weapons littered around.
Perhaps most importantly though, is the era of gaming that Halo Infinite is releasing into. Fortnite has been updating and evolving since it’s release in 2017, and Destiny 2 (released the same year) is practically the poster child for games (and franchises) that see few new title releases and more content updates that cost less to produce than a full game while still bringing in the mountains of money. Infinite has very little to lose and almost everything to gain by becoming a live service title that lasts for the next five or six years while the rest of the studio starts working on the next title.
All this said, we won’t know what’s coming with Halo Infinite until the game releases sometime next year, unless we get something significant from 343 by the end of this year. While it certainly seems possible that we’ll be seeing a battle royale with Infinite, I wouldn’t bet on it, especially without a solid release window announced.
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