Halo developer 343 Industries has posted a new update about the shooter's future, a roundtable discussion between three of its developers over the areas they're focusing on. The good news is that Forge finally has a release date of November 8, and the bad news is that Halo Infinite will no longer be receiving the option to play the campaign in local split-screen co-op.
The latter news may not seem all that unusual, but for anyone who's followed this series from the start Halo always had that additional selling point of a local splitscreen campaign. The Bungie games all had it, and I played through most of those with mates hunched around the TV. It's not exactly a killer feature in 2022, but it is sad that something which was once part of the Halo 'package' is being left behind.
"In order to improve and accelerate ongoing live service development, and to better address player feedback and quality of life updates, we have reallocated studio resources and are no longer working on local campaign split-screen co-op," 343 Industries said in a statement.
Oh well. To be clear, Halo Infinite will still add online campaign co-op. It arrives as part of the Winter Update on November 8 and, as well as Forge and network co-op, will include two new maps showing what Forge is capable of, a free 30-tier battle pass for all players, one new competitive mode called 'Covert One Flag', and in-game events scheduled over the winter months. Oh and a tonne of cosmetics, because that's what we all want developers to spend their time making.
343 Industries is choosing to call the Forge release a beta, though given that Halo Infinite will have been out for a year by the time it arrives that feels like over-caveating.
The winter update takes Halo Infinite through to March 7 2023, at which point season 3, rather grandly titled 'Echoes Within', will kick off. This promises Arena and Big Team Battle maps, a custom game browser, a "new narrative event", and a whole lot of minor additions like a new weapon and equipment.
Here's the roadmap:
Halo Infinite is a pretty fun game, and it's definitely my favourite entry by 343 Industries. With this one the studio felt like it had finally really cracked the moment-to-moment feel that competitive Halo should have. When it came out I was excited for its prospects.
Unfortunately the pace of updates has been slow, and elements like Forge are badly needed, because the overall experience, that Halo 'package' I mentioned, feels anaemic. There was a time when Halo was the most forward-thinking and comprehensive shooter on the planet, each new entry setting the pace for the competition. Now it feels, sadly, like the Master Chief is struggling to keep pace himself.