The early development stages of Halo Infinite at 343 Industries reportedly began as a much larger open-world game, taking inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. However, at least two-thirds of the planned content had to be cut due to time constraints at the studio, which largely affected the aspirations of its open-world.
According to a report published by Bloomberg, 343 Industries were in a tough spot in 2019 during Halo Infinite‘s development. Microsoft planned to launch the game alongside the Xbox Series X/S console’s release in holiday 2020, but the team simply felt that there wasn’t enough time to accomplish all their lofty goals and ambitions for the game.
The plan was to have a Breath of the Wild-style open-world with more diverse biomes, where missions could be completed in whatever order players preferred. Unfortunately, the Halo Slipspace engine wasn’t up to scratch when it came to developing a fully realized open-world. During the summer of 2019 when the game was apparently in “crisis mode”, at least two-third of the game’s content had to be cut in order to streamline the experience into a more “wide linear” map.
During the crucial periods of Halo Infinite‘s development, contract workers were coming and going due to expired contracts, leading to an unstable development without any concrete leadership or creative team’s vision behind the project. Following the disastrous showcase of Halo Infinite‘s gameplay in 2020, former Bungie veteran and Halo series lead Joseph Staten was brought in to get things back on track. Staten drew up a list of features that needed to be fixed, tweaked or included, which gave Halo Infinite a clearer path forward. Staten also reportedly convinced Microsoft to give 343 Industries some much-needed extra time to work on the game, which seems to have paid off tremendously.
Halo Infinite recently launched on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC to glowing reviews, but things could’ve been much different for the game had Staten’s leadership not given it a boost in confidence and creative clarity.