The reveal of Halo: Infinite went brilliantly for Microsoft last night, but in interviews following the event something more interesting was discussed, which might lead to Halo: Infinite (the clue was in the title) being the last ever Halo game.
“Halo Infinite is the start of our platform for the future,” said Chris Lee, studio head for Halo Infinite at 343 Industries. “We want Infinite to grow over time, versus those numbered titles and having all that segmentation we had before. It’s about creating Halo Infinite as the start of the next ten years for Halo and then building that as we go with our fans and community.”
It makes a lot more sense to continue to develop the same game, to add and expand to it, rather than potentially disrupting the fanbase by releasing a new version. And that ties in well with Microsoft’s Game Pass strategy, after all what’s the point in selling a new game when you’re moving consumers to a place where they don’t buy it.
OF course starting with a new console generation and a new engine gives the team a lot of space going forward. “We built Halo infinite and the technical foundation of the slipspace engine with the future of Halo in mind. So this is the start of the next chapter for next-gen Halo experiences,” said Lee.
Speaking more on the topic of Halo as a platform, Lee made clear that Infinite’s initial release still contained an entire game as you’d expect for a Halo release.
“So when we are telling stories in Halo Infinite, we started with the continuation of the Master Chief’s saga from the previous games, we’re going to tell a full story there, we’re going to have a complete beginning, middle, and end inside of Infinite.
But that it really is open-ended from then on: “But then we’re going to continue Master Chief’s saga and that will kind of grow and expand inside of Halo infinite over the years to come.”
This approach mirrors that of Halo creator Bungie, who recently declared that it was more minded to expand upon Destiny 2 than move to a new, numbered iteration of the franchise.
The bigger question is whether we’ll see a repeat of this strategy across all the major Microsoft franchises, with games such as Forza Motorsport and Fable, at present having no numbers or even additional sub-brand/names.