Just a thought exercise after seeing the “come out of the cocoon” update today.
I think it’s pretty obvious that, almost a year in, Infinite has done some serious brand damage to the Halo franchise. There are some bright spots to be sure, like the core gunplay and gameplay loop. But overall, 343i and the franchise are taking a beating.
Would it have ultimately been better for the brand if after that disastrous E3 trailer…you know, the one starring Craig that made MS delay the game for an extra year…they just cancelled the game and started over from scratch?
There would’ve been some serious negative publicity over a move like that, no doubt. I can’t help but wonder though, if it would’ve been better in the long run considering the serious issues we’ll be dealing with for years to come.
Desync, cancelled features, SBMM tweaking, content droughts, etc.
I just got back from watching that update as well, so let me unpack my thoughts on this.
Starting with brand damage, I want to contest your choice of words just a little bit. It’s clear that you’re referring to Halo Infinite itself by following your claim with a mention of the core gunplay and gameplay loop, but I don’t think Halo’s identity at large has been impacted by the release and state of this game.
For one, Halo Infinite is recognized quite well as a black sheep in the series. It fell below a bar rather than trying to set one, and that bar was the quality of the games before it.
It’s just too disconnected from the other games to cause anything collateral, you know? Nobody likes the MCC or Halo 3 any less because of this game’s failings specificially. That’s what I’m trying to say.
So much talk of “brand” and “franchise”, gotta narrow it down. We’re talking about two different things at the same time here, and (I think) we were supposed to be discussing Infinite if I’m not mistaken.
As for what you actually said, they more or less did that for the entirety of the early development cycle. I’ve read the glassdoor review that described the early development as “fractured”, I’ve heard the rumors about Halo Infinite having once been conceptualized as a hero shooter, and it really just leads me to believe that the game didn’t have much of a direction in the first place until E3, when they got shaken up by a less-than-lukewarm reception.
If I’m being honest, failing to ship a product, scrapping it and taking the rest of the decade to make a proper Halo game would’ve been an intelligent move… if it wouldn’t have further damaged their credibility.
Desync, cancelled features, SBMM tweaking and content are all things they can provide down the line, but that’s where I’ll play devil’s advocate. It’s true that they should’ve had plans like they have now 4 years ago, and it’s true that content like this should have been in development for a very long time. We weren’t that fortunate though, I suppose.