Xbox Studios boss says Halo Infinite's launch was like 'stumbling as you come across the finish line'

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(Image credit: 343 Industries)
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Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty has been getting candid about Halo Infinite. As spotted by The Gamer (opens in new tab), Booty was asked to give his take on the game's rough launch during an appearance on the Friends Per Second podcast (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab), matchmaking glitches (opens in new tab), and a long saga surrounding the game's co-op mode that eventually saw 343 Industries scrap split-screen co-op entirely (opens in new tab).

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 (opens in new tab) and lead multiplayer designer (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab), 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% (opens in new tab) and said it came "frustratingly close to greatness". Maybe with a few more updates under its belt it can get a little closer.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.