Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty has been getting candid about Halo Infinite. As spotted by The Gamer, Booty was asked to give his take on the game's rough launch during an appearance on the Friends Per Second podcast, and compared Halo Infinite's release to "the classic runner's mistake of kind of tripping and stumbling as you come across the finish line".
Halo Infinite has had a bumpy ride since it came out in December 2021. Players have dealt with update droughts, matchmaking glitches, and a long saga surrounding the game's co-op mode that eventually saw 343 Industries scrap split-screen co-op entirely.
That's suboptimal as post-launch roadmaps go, and Booty tried to offer an explanation. The big culprit was apparently the pandemic: Booty said that "trying to figure out how to adapt to remote work and hybrid work" was something of a "worst-case condition for trying to get games done" with a "big, multi-hundred person team".
Booty went on to say that, for a game like Halo Infinite, there needs to be "a plan for content [...] a plan for regular continuing engagement," but the game simply "fell short on that plan".
Still, Booty painted a rosier picture of the game's future. The exec said that Microsoft has "really retrenched" around the game and "made some changes in how the team is set up: we've got some changes in leadership and we've just got to really get refocused around that sustained content plan". 343 saw a few departures of key figures this year, including its lead narrative designer and lead multiplayer designer, which might be the "leadership changes" Booty is referring to.
As for the new "sustained content plan," perhaps that's why the game is finally getting its Forge mode tomorrow, a feature it really ought to have had almost a year ago.
Despite the game's various issues, Booty did say that it hit a peak of around 20 million players—a figure that will include both PC and console—in December, so the game's woes haven't done it too much harm. We gave Infinite 78% and said it came "frustratingly close to greatness". Maybe with a few more updates under its belt it can get a little closer.