Campaign Next-Gen only? Black Ops 3 as an example?

Hi everyone (including 343 if you’re reading this!),

I believe I have found a sensible compromise regarding this game and the need to show off the power of next-gen hardware, while making sure platforms like Xbox One are supported to the best of their ability. I have detailed below how Treyarch handled the situation, and how 343 can approach Halo Infinite for its Campaign, Multiplayer and Forge modes.

So Black Ops 3 is an interesting example because Treyarch wrestled with this question themselves all those years ago (to a successful degree it would seem). I believe 343 can take inspiration if they haven’t done so already.

To my knowledge, this how Treyarch handled Black Ops 3:

  • Campaign only on Xbox One and Playstation 4 - “Next gen” multiplayer on Xbox One and Playstation 4
  • No campaign for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 - Downgraded multiplayer (lower quality visuals, assets, particle effects etc.) for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3With this in mind, how should 343 approach next-gen with Halo Infinite?

We know the campaign is a semi open-world with dynamic lighting. This is to enable the day-night cycle. This means (to my knowledge) lighting isn’t baked like it is in previous Halo campaigns. Digital Foundry highlighted this as the main cause of lighting issues in the gameplay demo and said raytracing could go “a long way to fix it.” There was also a lot of pop-in and other graphical issues in the demo which 343 have acknowledged themselves in a Waypoint post and said “we have work to do.”

Interestingly, it seems unlikely that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer (excluding campaign co-op) would feature dynamic lightning? They are multiplayer maps after all? No day-night cycle is needed for multiplayer matches? So the lighting would be baked? The loading would likely not be as big of an issue as it is smaller multiplayer maps compared to a large semi open-world featured in the campaign?

As such the following compromise seems sensible, perhaps even likely given the delay:

  • Halo Infinite Campaign - only for Xbox One X, Series S and Series X - due to the aforementioned graphical requirements. Raytracing etc. at launch.

  • Halo Infinite Multiplayer - available to all platforms.However, this brings up a number of questions:

  • Is the Xbox One X powerful enough to support next-gen story DLC expansions? (remember the “10 year” Halo Infinite platform? Bungie had to drop Xbox 360/PS3 support for Destiny 1 DLC)

  • Does last-gen support for Halo Infinite’s multiplayer hold back the potential for large multiplayer game modes, custom games, Forge maps etc.?

  • Etc.?Chris Lee, the studio head for Halo Infinite, did tell us that “the Slipspace Engine has 10x the processing power per pixel compared to Halo 5.” If he is talking about the engine generally, and not just for the Xbox Series X version, then theoretically they should be able to do a lot more for Halo Infinite’s multiplayer and Forge modes compared to Halo 5 because of the Slipspace engine alone? Obviously with the delay we do not know the state of the game engine but from what Chris Lee has said multiplayer should be able to perform better and do more demanding tasks on the Xbox One version of Halo Infinite compared to Halo 5, due to to the game engine difference alone? Surely with “10x the processing power per pixel” Forge should be able to be a lot more expansive as well?

If this is not the case, and something like Forgeable AI is simply impossible on Xbox One, I propose another set of solutions. These might be more debatable:

Multiplayer

  • Exclusive next-gen only multiplayer modes for expansive modes that need the hardware?

  • Examples: large ground war style maps with large assets like Scarabs? Invasion 2.0 would be awesome.Forge

  • Have players choose in Forge mode whether to create “Basic” or “Advanced” maps, and have them save as such.

  • “Basic” - can be forged and played by all Xbox systems

  • Includes standard Forge features from previous Halo games, more limited asset count/“budget”

  • “Advanced” - Can only be forged by Xbox One X, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X. Can be played on all Xbox platforms (or only the aforementioned 3 platforms), based on whether the last-gen platforms can handle it.

  • Includes more “advanced” features like forgeable AI, terrain editor etc. Higher asset count/“budget.” More performance demanding features go to the “Advanced” forge maps.I hope 343 can take inspiration from this post, and come up with a sensible compromise if they/Microsoft are adamant on supporting the base Xbox One for this game.

Please leave any comments or suggestions below. Hopefully this can lead to a more optimal solution for the game and the different platforms it will be releasing on.

I think this post is very well made but I think the game started on the one and was upscaled from there. Which is to say, they already got it there and its probably gonna ship on it BUT I think future DLC will be a different story, particularly on single player.

Firstly Halo Infinite will ship on PC so development and hardware capabilities are solid.

Secondly like with PC gaming and patching, 1 fix could mean 1000 new issues… different hardware and development methods will literally require more specific tailoring for optimization of performance and graphical fidelity.

> 2535420220564801;2:
> I think this post is very well made but I think the game started on the one and was upscaled from there. Which is to say, they already got it there and its probably gonna ship on it BUT I think future DLC will be a different story, particularly on single player.

I don’t see how they can support the Xbox One with content for 10 years, there already issues and the game is not out yet. The console will get dropped imo, and probably sooner rather than later.

> 2533274873172929;3:
> Firstly Halo Infinite will ship on PC so development and hardware capabilities are solid.
>
> Secondly like with PC gaming and patching, 1 fix could mean 1000 new issues… different hardware and development methods will literally require more specific tailoring for optimization of performance and graphical fidelity.

Just up the PC requirements? I assume Holiday 2021 is their new target (especially with Joseph Staten joining so late). They have time.

If they drop Xbox One for campaign then they can focus on optimising for newer hardware and saves them a headache of optimising for an underpowered console released in 2013.

> 2592250499819446;4:
> > 2535420220564801;2:
> > I think this post is very well made but I think the game started on the one and was upscaled from there. Which is to say, they already got it there and its probably gonna ship on it BUT I think future DLC will be a different story, particularly on single player.
>
> I don’t see how they can support the Xbox One with content for 10 years, there already issues and the game is not out yet. The console will get dropped imo, and probably sooner rather than later.

Destiny 1 already set precedent in that their DLC only supported Xbox 360/PS3 for a limited time and then the newer DLC for that game was next-gen only. Phil Spencer said they’re only looking to support Xbox One up to around 2022 so if Infinite is actually a “10 year platform” and not just marketing (Bungie also said 10 years for Destiny 1 - that didn’t happen), then the Xbox One support is bound to be dropped at some point.

> 2535420220564801;2:
> I think this post is very well made but I think the game started on the one and was upscaled from there. Which is to say, they already got it there and its probably gonna ship on it BUT I think future DLC will be a different story, particularly on single player.

Thank you for the compliment! The graphical and performance improvements that the gaming community is asking for (raytracing, fixing pop-in, more detailed textures and character/weapon models (AR especially)) means 343 are going to have to make compromises to improve this game one way or another for launch in order to still support all these platforms. Everyone wants what was shown in E3 2018/19. Since Joseph Staten is the Campaign Project Lead now I wonder how much influence he will have in what compromises are made. The future campaign DLC will definitely be next-gen only (just like Destiny 1 launched on the 360/PS3 with next-gen only DLC), but I’m very keen to see what they will do now assuming a Holiday 2021 release is being targeted in wake of a heavyweight like Staten joining to lead the campaign so late.

With respect to the multiplayer as well this has been overshadowed by Staten joining but they literally moved the “head” of MCC publishing and moved him over to head Infinite multiplayer. I wonder what happened to the former Campaign and Multiplayer leads for Infinite? I hope a book/lengthy article is written on the development of this game because there seems to be news everyday. An honest ViDoc from 343 mirroring the Halo 2 ViDocs would be a watch for sure.

They would have said it if it was a real possibility. I dont doubt that it has been discussed, but no way it is happening. Halo infinite will still be a cross gen game as it should be.

Think of those who will play multiplayer, now there will be xbox one, series x and pc. That’ll be quite a large playerbase. If it were only series x and pc, there would be less players. It’s a win / win making it cross gen + pc. We know the performance / visuals will most likely be scaled across xbox one / s > xbox one x > xbox series x to achieve a balance between visuals and fps, but i still expect the game will look good on each console but best on pc (for obvious reasons).

> 2535420220564801;2:
> I think this post is very well made but I think the game started on the one and was upscaled from there. Which is to say, they already got it there and its probably gonna ship on it BUT I think future DLC will be a different story, particularly on single player.

That’s a pitty, i would have like it to play the dlc and multiplayer in the xbox one.

> 2535462599902940;6:
> > 2592250499819446;4:
> > > 2535420220564801;2:
> > > I think this post is very well made but I think the game started on the one and was upscaled from there. Which is to say, they already got it there and its probably gonna ship on it BUT I think future DLC will be a different story, particularly on single player.
> >
> > I don’t see how they can support the Xbox One with content for 10 years, there already issues and the game is not out yet. The console will get dropped imo, and probably sooner rather than later.
>
> Destiny 1 already set precedent in that their DLC only supported Xbox 360/PS3 for a limited time and then the newer DLC for that game was next-gen only. Phil Spencer said they’re only looking to support Xbox One up to around 2022 so if Infinite is actually a “10 year platform” and not just marketing (Bungie also said 10 years for Destiny 1 - that didn’t happen), then the Xbox One support is bound to be dropped at some point.

I agree. I expect support for Xbox One to stop before 2022. They are already naming first party titles that won’t be on Xbox One. I see Halo Infinite DLC stopping quickly.

> 2592250499819446;4:
> > 2535420220564801;2:
> > I think this post is very well made but I think the game started on the one and was upscaled from there. Which is to say, they already got it there and its probably gonna ship on it BUT I think future DLC will be a different story, particularly on single player.
>
> I don’t see how they can support the Xbox One with content for 10 years, there already issues and the game is not out yet. The console will get dropped imo, and probably sooner rather than later.

It has been confirmed by Unishek that Halo Infinite will be released on Xbox One and that there’s no plans to delay Infinite until 2022 and drop Xbox One support.

It has been repeatedly said MULTIPLE times over THREE YEARS that Halo Infinite will release on the ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs. No one is going to be punished for owning last-gen hardware, period. Stop making these threads.

> 2535473223330139;13:
> It has been repeatedly said MULTIPLE times over THREE YEARS that Halo Infinite will release on the ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs. No one is going to be punished for owning last-gen hardware, period. Stop making these threads.

Relax my friend - this is a forum post, not Twitter.

Black Ops 3 also supported the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs." Compromises were made as a result of this. Perhaps reading the content of original post and not just the title would help you understand? Especially because the original post detailed exactly how 343 could support the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs" while incorporating changes and features people are asking for.

Most importantly, Phil Spencer himself said that they are not looking to support the Xbox One in terms of new content after 2022. This makes sense for a console that came out in 2013. If Halo Infinite is advertised as a “10 year project” with a 2021 release date, I implore you to do the maths and realise that Xbox One won’t be supported for long.

Others on this thread have contributed with meaningful discussion and suggestions around sensible compromises to support the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs." Why not do the same?

> 2535462599902940;14:
> > 2535473223330139;13:
> > It has been repeatedly said MULTIPLE times over THREE YEARS that Halo Infinite will release on the ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs. No one is going to be punished for owning last-gen hardware, period. Stop making these threads.
>
> Take a chill pill my friend - this is a forum post, not Twitter.
>
> Black Ops 3 also supported the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs." Compromises were made as a result of this. Perhaps reading the content of original post and not just the title would help you understand? Especially because the original post detailed exactly how 343 could support the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs" while incorporating changes and features people are asking for.
>
> Most importantly, Phil Spencer himself said that they are not looking to support the Xbox One in terms of new content after 2022. This makes sense for a console that came out in 2013. If Halo Infinite is advertised as a “10 year project” with a 2021 release date, I implore you to do the maths and realise that Xbox One won’t be supported for long.
>
> Others on this thread have contributed with meaningful discussion and suggestions around sensible compromises to support the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs." Why not do the same?

You’re comparing apples to oranges. Treyarch NEVER wanted a last gen version of Black Ops 3 (Which also required the usage of an entirely different developer kit and operating system compared to the Xbox One) so they handed off development to an outside studio who did a crappy job to fulfil contractual obligations imposed on them by Activision.

Meanwhile, Halo Infinite is a single game using the same fundamental OS that will detect and appropriately scale based on hardware using this magical thing called “Smart Delivery”. In case you’ve missed it, 343 has already said that they won’t treat the Xbox One versions as second class citizens - and walking back on that selling point and forcing competition with things like platform-exclusive modes would be a whole other PR disaster.

Edit: Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is doing the exact same thing above with the Xbox One and Series X too.

> 2535473223330139;15:
> > 2535462599902940;14:
> > > 2535473223330139;13:
> > > It has been repeatedly said MULTIPLE times over THREE YEARS that Halo Infinite will release on the ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs. No one is going to be punished for owning last-gen hardware, period. Stop making these threads.
> >
> > Take a chill pill my friend - this is a forum post, not Twitter.
> >
> > Black Ops 3 also supported the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs." Compromises were made as a result of this. Perhaps reading the content of original post and not just the title would help you understand? Especially because the original post detailed exactly how 343 could support the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs" while incorporating changes and features people are asking for.
> >
> > Most importantly, Phil Spencer himself said that they are not looking to support the Xbox One in terms of new content after 2022. This makes sense for a console that came out in 2013. If Halo Infinite is advertised as a “10 year project” with a 2021 release date, I implore you to do the maths and realise that Xbox One won’t be supported for long.
> >
> > Others on this thread have contributed with meaningful discussion and suggestions around sensible compromises to support the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs." Why not do the same?
>
> You’re comparing apples to oranges. Treyarch NEVER wanted a last gen version of Black Ops 3 (Which also required the usage of an entirely different developer kit compared to the Xbox One) so they handed off development to an outside studio who did a crappy job to fulfil contractual obligations imposed on them by Activision.
>
> Meanwhile, Halo Infinite is a single game that will detect and appropriately scale based on hardware using this magical thing called “Smart Delivery”. In case you’ve missed it, 343 has already said that they won’t treat the Xbox One versions as second class citizens - and walking back on that selling point and forcing competition with things like platform-exclusive modes would be a whole other PR disaster.

You know “Smart Delivery” just means that developers make multiple versions of the same game and once you buy the game, the Xbox store just detects which console you’re using and downloads the appropriate version? It’s a cool feature that saves consumers money but game developers still have to make different versions of the same game in the first place.

> so they handed off development to an outside studio who did a crappy job to fulfil contractual obligations imposed on them by Activision.

I don’t think this comment is worth answering. You’re insulting the devs who spent a lot of time working on this version of the game. Trying to “degrade” a game to a weaker platform like the Xbox 360 is no easy task. 343 have high ambitions for Halo Infinite and I am sure they like the devs who worked on Black Ops 3 are trying to do the best job they can given the platform limitations. Please be constructive and not insult developers.

> Edit: Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is doing the exact same thing above with the Xbox One and Series X too.

Well this is as “apples to oranges” as it gets. Microsoft Flight Simulator is heavily cloud based relying on a large constantly updating set of real world data to generate the game world. Halo Infinite is not using real world geography and weather data so trying to compare Halo Infinite to Flight Simulator is a textbook “apples to oranges” comparison.

> 2535462599902940;16:
> > 2535473223330139;15:
> > > 2535462599902940;14:
> > > > 2535473223330139;13:
> > > > It has been repeatedly said MULTIPLE times over THREE YEARS that Halo Infinite will release on the ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs. No one is going to be punished for owning last-gen hardware, period. Stop making these threads.
> > >
> > > Take a chill pill my friend - this is a forum post, not Twitter.
> > >
> > > Black Ops 3 also supported the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs." Compromises were made as a result of this. Perhaps reading the content of original post and not just the title would help you understand? Especially because the original post detailed exactly how 343 could support the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs" while incorporating changes and features people are asking for.
> > >
> > > Most importantly, Phil Spencer himself said that they are not looking to support the Xbox One in terms of new content after 2022. This makes sense for a console that came out in 2013. If Halo Infinite is advertised as a “10 year project” with a 2021 release date, I implore you to do the maths and realise that Xbox One won’t be supported for long.
> > >
> > > Others on this thread have contributed with meaningful discussion and suggestions around sensible compromises to support the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs." Why not do the same?
> >
> > You’re comparing apples to oranges. Treyarch NEVER wanted a last gen version of Black Ops 3 (Which also required the usage of an entirely different developer kit compared to the Xbox One) so they handed off development to an outside studio who did a crappy job to fulfil contractual obligations imposed on them by Activision.
> >
> > Meanwhile, Halo Infinite is a single game that will detect and appropriately scale based on hardware using this magical thing called “Smart Delivery”. In case you’ve missed it, 343 has already said that they won’t treat the Xbox One versions as second class citizens - and walking back on that selling point and forcing competition with things like platform-exclusive modes would be a whole other PR disaster.
>
> You know “Smart Delivery” just means that developers make multiple versions of the same game and once you buy the game, the Xbox store just detects which console you’re using and downloads the appropriate version? It’s a cool feature that saves consumers money but game developers still have to make different versions of the same game in the first place.
>
>
>
>
> > so they handed off development to an outside studio who did a crappy job to fulfil contractual obligations imposed on them by Activision.
>
> I don’t think this comment is worth answering. You’re insulting the devs who spent a lot of time working on this version game. Trying to “degrade” a game to a weaker platform like the Xbox 360 is no easy task. 343 have high ambitions for Halo Infinite and I am sure they like the devs who worked on Black Ops 3 are trying to do the best job they can given the platform limitations. Please be constructive and not insult developers.

Your assumption about Smart Delivery is still wrong. It has a single game detect the hardware and changes the graphical quality to the appropriate levels, saving time and money from having to create multiple versions of the same game. Microsoft doesn’t want a repeat of the seventh-gen shenanigans and they’ve made it clear with their Xbox-As-A-Platform approach.

It’s still a fact that Treyarch outsourced Black Ops 3’s Xbox 360 version and they were rightfully criticized for the poor mess of a game it was. It’s not insulting to acknowledge how poorly the last gen version turned out when you had games like Destiny and Bioshock Infinite still looking decent on the 360.

> 2535473223330139;17:
> > 2535462599902940;16:
> > > 2535473223330139;15:
> > > > 2535462599902940;14:
> > > > > 2535473223330139;13:
> > > > > It has been repeatedly said MULTIPLE times over THREE YEARS that Halo Infinite will release on the ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs. No one is going to be punished for owning last-gen hardware, period. Stop making these threads.
> > > >
> > > > Take a chill pill my friend - this is a forum post, not Twitter.
> > > >
> > > > Black Ops 3 also supported the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs." Compromises were made as a result of this. Perhaps reading the content of original post and not just the title would help you understand? Especially because the original post detailed exactly how 343 could support the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs" while incorporating changes and features people are asking for.
> > > >
> > > > Most importantly, Phil Spencer himself said that they are not looking to support the Xbox One in terms of new content after 2022. This makes sense for a console that came out in 2013. If Halo Infinite is advertised as a “10 year project” with a 2021 release date, I implore you to do the maths and realise that Xbox One won’t be supported for long.
> > > >
> > > > Others on this thread have contributed with meaningful discussion and suggestions around sensible compromises to support the "ENTIRE XBOX FAMILY and PCs." Why not do the same?
> > >
> > > You’re comparing apples to oranges. Treyarch NEVER wanted a last gen version of Black Ops 3 (Which also required the usage of an entirely different developer kit compared to the Xbox One) so they handed off development to an outside studio who did a crappy job to fulfil contractual obligations imposed on them by Activision.
> > >
> > > Meanwhile, Halo Infinite is a single game that will detect and appropriately scale based on hardware using this magical thing called “Smart Delivery”. In case you’ve missed it, 343 has already said that they won’t treat the Xbox One versions as second class citizens - and walking back on that selling point and forcing competition with things like platform-exclusive modes would be a whole other PR disaster.
> >
> > You know “Smart Delivery” just means that developers make multiple versions of the same game and once you buy the game, the Xbox store just detects which console you’re using and downloads the appropriate version? It’s a cool feature that saves consumers money but game developers still have to make different versions of the same game in the first place.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > > so they handed off development to an outside studio who did a crappy job to fulfil contractual obligations imposed on them by Activision.
> >
> > I don’t think this comment is worth answering. You’re insulting the devs who spent a lot of time working on this version game. Trying to “degrade” a game to a weaker platform like the Xbox 360 is no easy task. 343 have high ambitions for Halo Infinite and I am sure they like the devs who worked on Black Ops 3 are trying to do the best job they can given the platform limitations. Please be constructive and not insult developers.
>
> Your assumption about Smart Delivery is still wrong. It has a single game detect the hardware and changes the graphical quality to the appropriate levels, saving time and money from having to create multiple versions of the same game. Microsoft doesn’t want a repeat of the seventh-gen shenanigans and they’ve made it clear with their Xbox-As-A-Platform approach.
>
> It’s still a fact that Treyarch outsourced Black Ops 3’s Xbox 360 version and they were rightfully criticized for the poor mess of a game it was. It’s not insulting to acknowledge how poorly the last gen version turned out when you had games like Destiny and Bioshock Infinite still looking decent on the 360.

How “Smart Delivery” works: Xbox Smart Delivery: everything you need to know about the Xbox Series X feature | TechRadar

There are multiple versions of the same game… The Xbox Store literally downloads the version of the game relevant to your console. Xbox One users and Xbox Series X users don’t download the same game and choose a different graphical setting. They download different versions to the same game automatically delivered to their console. Hence “Smart Delivery”

Clearly you did not play Destiny on the 360… The loading times were worse than GTA 5 online with regular performance issues. Bungie and associate developers, like Treyarch’s associate developers, did the best job they could for that console. Devs do not need insulting.

> 2533274883624877;12:
> > 2592250499819446;4:
> > > 2535420220564801;2:
> > > I think this post is very well made but I think the game started on the one and was upscaled from there. Which is to say, they already got it there and its probably gonna ship on it BUT I think future DLC will be a different story, particularly on single player.
> >
> > I don’t see how they can support the Xbox One with content for 10 years, there already issues and the game is not out yet. The console will get dropped imo, and probably sooner rather than later.
>
> It has been confirmed by Unishek that Halo Infinite will be released on Xbox One and that there’s no plans to delay Infinite until 2022 and drop Xbox One support.

It has not been confirmed, that’s my issue with the entire statement. He only stated “There are no plans to delay Halo Infinite until 2022 and drop support for Xbox One” I’m sorry, but there’s a big difference between that sentence and something like it’s definitely coming 2021 on Xbox One. We have been misinformed too many times over the years.

> 2535420220564801;2:
> I think this post is very well made but I think the game started on the one and was upscaled from there. Which is to say, they already got it there and its probably gonna ship on it BUT I think future DLC will be a different story, particularly on single player.

I don’t know why people keep saying “upscaled from there” like the only things to do is to increase resolution.