Here's hoping MS takes a hard look at Halo Infinite after the layoffs

Some news outlets, in what might be an attempt to disguise more relevant reasons, are stating the mass layoffs at Microsoft and now Google, are preemptive moves in anticipation of an expected recession in 2023.
While that may seem a shrewd and forward thinking business decision by those two companies, the logic of it sort of dissipates when a person learns that Activision, the publishers of Call of Duty, are currently hiring.
… so obviously that begs the question: why?
Why is Microsoft laying off game coders and game studio personnel when Activision is bringing on game coders and studio personnel?

the anwer: the end product.

Here’s hoping Microsoft, given the ‘necessary’ layoffs, takes a long, hard look at why Halo was successful in the first place.
It will never bring in the numbers, monetarily or player base, that COD does because it no longer has that same type of mass appeal, honestly, it’s become niche… but it can still be a rewarding experience for the player and a profitable game overall for the company if they let the players expectations lead them rather than the other way around.


They want to use the recession excuse but I think they just wanted to get rid of a bunch of people so they could save money.

We’d probably have a lot of problems fixed by now if it wasn’t for the hiring freeze.


I doubt they will, MS just laid off a lot of people and only a handful at 343. I think most are reading to much into these layoffs.


343 Industries and Bethesda studios are the two largest groups from the layoffs.
Everyone else was from multiple other studios and departments owned by Microsoft, with the number of lay-offs reported at around 10k people total.

And yes, they should look at 343 with far more scrutiny.
A reported budget of $500,000,000 USD for the development and marketing of Halo Infinite.
How did their profits look for the first year of the game?
How many people bought into the paywall locked cosmetics?
How many people abandoned the game due to a slew of false promises?

Given that we are in a small recession, the after effects of covid quarantines combined with the boycotts from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, it makes sense that Microsoft would be understandably peeved by the fact that they essentially burned $500,000,000 dollars on one title while also spending $68,700,000,000 on the buyout of Activision-Blizzard and god knows what else on other franchise budgets that they have to manage…

…safe to say, Microsoft SHOULD look at 343 with an eye of scrutiny so as to not make the studio a firepit for burning cash recklessly.


Should they? I don’t know… Some one should I suppose as the game isn’t doing to well and some bad decisions have been made about what Halo should be… But on the other hand I don’t think Microsoft really cares about Halo honestly. I base that on that no higher ups lost their job after the major botch of the launch of MCC. Also they gave up on Cortana for their assistant or OS one whatever you want to call it… Which was really disappointing. It would have been so sweet to have a Cortana as a rival to Alexa or Siri or whatever… It would have been so awesome while driving, or back when I was riding my motorcycles, to be like hey Cortana give me directions to where ever, or Cortana play some jazz… But anyways… Halo needs a change of direction, a leader who can tighten up the ship with a crew with a true passion for Halo and its history… No matter what happens 343 has their work cut out for them to save this franchise.

They don’t exactly lose their jobs per-se, they typically just want to change positions.
343 does like playing musical chairs when it comes to their director positions however.

Going off of just the Creative Directors we have -
Ryan Payton who was replaced by
Josh Holmes who was replaced by
Tim Longo who was replaced by
Mary Olson, who was replaced by
Joseph Staten, Tom French, and Paul Crocker

Most of these swaps were just changing positions within the company. Like how Josh Holmes went from Director to Producer.

Honestly, it is no wonder why the series has had such a strange whiplash when it comes to franchise depiction and story direction.
One story ends and then we go through two creative directors before the next story arc is even launched.

There isn’t any need to take a hard look. The world has moved on from 1999-2003 gaming. Halo Infinite is an obscure arena “boomer shooter” with niche appeal. You either adapt to market demands or stay in your small lane. The aggressive cash shop should already be a clue how they expected it to perform.

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Ooh a spicy take.
Just because there is no battle royale doesn’t mean it is niche.
Just because you don’t like a game that isn’t Tacticool doesn’t mean it is niche.
In fact, calling Halo ‘niche’ is like calling Star Wars a ‘niche’ franchise despite it still going strong and having an awkward decade when it came to main-series sequels.

$500,000,000 budget means that you have to not only return that $500,000,000 to your investors and company hosts, but you also have to make a profit off of it if you want to keep your job. So the end-goal was probably making $600,000,000 within 10 years. If they didn’t reach 10% of that goal in a single year, that is a lotta hot water to find yourself in suddenly.

Dunno why people look at this super-budget as a boasting point when really it just shows poor accounting efficiency.

I’m gonna disagree here. Halo can be popular as an arena shooter in modern day, but it has to axe the live service, free to play, and microtransaction models to do so.

Live Service allows the devs to release the game unfinished.

Free to play is used as an excuse as to why the NEW live service game launched in a completely unfinished state while simultaneously used to justify microtransactions.

Microtransactions take time and resources, and most importantly FOCUS away from ESSENTIAL parts of the game. If it weren’t for the combination of these 3 things Infinite would’ve at least been able to launch with Forge, stability, and plenty of free customization, which is what players WANT. Why? Because without live service, free to play, microtransaction set ups, devs/publishers can’t half bake games and then leech of the playerbase for years, they actually have to put time, effort, and passion into the game.


When your game is not made to be a game but instead a money siphon, you know that you have failed everyone but your banker and the accounting department.


I didn’t even mention the budget so nice strawman. Let’s see how CA’s contribution will fare. I think Halo has the relevance now of one of those weird $20 mecha games that no one plays.

You do know that a “strawman” is an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument, you do know that right? Typically built up out of stereotypes and misconjecture?

What does a budget being a factor in the reasons as to why the MTX are so terrible in this game have to do with anything along the lines of a strawman? What stereotypes did I utilize or eggadurations did I over-indulge in? In what way have I misrepresented the most plausible culprit as to why the MTX market of Infinite is so price-gouging when really all they had to do is copy the REQ-Pack system of Halo 5 Goribans?

Considering their contributions are typically building up the multiplayer sandbox and helping design post-launch maps, we have already seen their contributions.

Just because you don’t play that genre of games doesn’t mean it is irrelevant.
It merely means that it is not to your tastes and your opinion on the subject matter is a bit more closer to moot.

If Halo wasn’t relevant, then the launch peak player count of Halo Infinite would not have surpassed Halo 4’s peak player count (which was the lowest peak of players in the franchise to date).

Halo 4, which was on one system, peaked at around 410,000 players online in a single day.
Halo Infinite, which is on four separate platforms, has a Steam Playercount of 256,619.
If Xbox were to release the Xbox One, Series X/S, and Windows player numbers and add it into the Steam numbers, it would surely be in excess of 410k simply due to the fact that the majority of players are on console.

If Halo wasn’t relevant, then Marcus Fenix would probably be the face of Xbox instead of Chief.

Halo may not be relevant to you, so honestly I dunno why you are even spending your time discussing on a forum about Halo when you could be doing something that is actually relevant to your interests.

It doesn’t have to be a Battle Royale (which seem to slow down), but it has to give players ability to customize and personalize their experience, which is not what arena shooters do by forcing you to play with the same, useless gun over and over and over again, good luck with retaining players for more than a few weeks with that. But sure, you can pick up guns on the map, right? But they might already been taken by some else, or they’re also more or less useless due to the whole ‘sandbox’ concept. People like to repeat the ‘lack of content’ argument, but arena shooter concept IS lack of content by design.

Being this outdated formula is the number one reason Halo has become less and less relevant and popular franchise with each installment, Bungie might have never left MS but if they continued that road the end result would be exactly the same, an outdated, dead game only a bunch of fanatics wants to play. Going F2P model was most likely exactly due to that, knowing how outdated the game is compared to all the competition out there, I mean, there was literally no hype at all for the game outside Halo fans, everyone else didn’t give a s***, the gameplay looks just like many other indie arena shooters out the, some even do look better graphics-wise. But the stunt worked as 20M people gave it a try, but as we all know they all left, for multiple reasons, obviously like garbage controls, lag, desync, forced crossplay etc. but one of them being sheer boredom.

I’ll say ot out lout - Halo 4 was a step in the right direction, and is one of the reasons I keep saying the community is what killed the franchise in the first place, not 343. If only they had the balls to ignore the die-hard fanboys and continue from there on, chances are Halo would still mean something, anything, and maybe would still be one of the biggest games out there, especially with MS’ resources and F2P model. But like someone here once truthfully said - “just remove everything from the game and give everyone BR, that all you guys want to play” (which ironically is exactly what 343 is doing for HCS settings).

And like I said few times already - unless the next, future Halo receives a massive overhaul, a hard reset, a reboot, nothing is gonna change at all, no matter how polished and issue-free the game will be, running with one sane gun over and over again will make people flee away in no time, especially when they haven’t spend a single penny to play the game.


I will admit I was being a bit patronizing and faceteous with this response.
Mainly because I have noticed a trend when someone says a game is irrelevant these days I tend to find that their top five FPS games are all battle royale type games.
A strangely consistent trend.

I’m sorry but no.
Halo’s playerocound had been booming up until Halo 4.
We then saw each game afterwards be an entirely different type of FPS game.
H4 was Halo Reach with 10,000 mods installed and a basic loadout system trying to emulate CoD of all things.
H5G was 343 trying to make a superhero game and a mobility shooter work in an Arena-style FPS, which the multiplayer was fairly descent but the campaign was botched.
Halo Infinite was sort of a return to form of Halo in terms of style and sandbox. However due to poor networking, lack of content initially and the painfully slow drip of post-launch content; the game was a colossal failure.

Where did you get this number of 20,000,000 online as a peak?
Microsoft hasn’t released their Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, or Windows playercounts.

Yes. The Community killed Halo 4.
Because Halo 4 was not made for the community that already surrounded it.

Imagine if you would if The Elder Scrolls VI didn’t play like all the rest of the mainline RPG titles but instead decided to be trendy and copy the Dark-Souls type of gameplay where all of your enemies are huge monstrosities and you are just a dude with a comically large zweihander?
Or if Gears of War decided to remove all the glory kills and cover-to-cover shooter aspects in favor of being a FPS game?
Or if VALVe decided to make the next Counter-Strike into a Battle-Royale game instead of a T-vs-CT game?

One of the Golden Rules of Game Design is that when you are designing a sequel to a successful brand, you should merely innovate on the status quo. Change is only welcome when you are making a spin-off title.
Halo CE and Halo 2 play pretty much the same.
Halo 2 and Halo 3 as well.
You can play the entire trilogy from start to finish and feel the gameplay be consistent.

ODST meanwhile plays like Halo 3 with plenty of adjustments to gameplay, atmosphere, and tone since you are not a Spartan in the glory of the front-lines but rather just a band of dudes stuck in the thick of it.

Reach had you playing as Spartans again, but the tones and gameplay were different yet again because you were a Spartan-III and not a Spartan-II. Expendable compared to the previous generation and telling a grim tale of one of the darkest skirmishes of the war.

Wars was an RTS game that was originally not even supposed to be a Halo game. And even though development was rough, that game was well received and even spawned a sequel made by another studio that still knew better than to drastically change the core sandbox of Halo Wars.

When you already have a dedicated fanbase, you already have a target audience and a guaranteed success if you basically do nothing but upgrade on the mainline game that came before.
But instead Halo 4 decided to treat itself as if it were a spin-off game.
Change after change after change.

Unnecessary alterations to the core sandbox that made everyone want to go play Halo in the first place. When you cannot use the sand in the box to make sand-castles, what is the point of a sandbox then other than to get yourself dirty and try to call it “fun”?
There is sad irony in the fact that during an interview Frank O’Connor said “We aren’t going to try and copy our competitors like Call of Duty because if you try and copy their success and fail, it only leads to you embarrassing yourself.
And yet Halo 4 tried to capture some of the CoD audience with its loadout system and such, and failed to do so.
The player count dropped from around 410k players online in a day to barely above 200k players online when Black-Ops 2 came out. Probably because BO2 was much better at providing that loadout-gameplay that the CoD players wanted in the first place.

You say that the community killed Halo 4 and you are completely right. But not for the reason you think. It is entirely 343’s fault that the community didn’t like the flavor of what it was given.

To repeat my Chinese Restaurant analogy once again like I have done so on so many other threads.
You see a Chinese Restaurant, you expect Chinese Food.
You order Tempura Chicken with Rice, and the kitchen serves you KFC Chicken Strips and Sweetcorn and then the staff act confused as to why you are upset.
After all, they technically served up chicken and common grain, so why are the customers upset? It couldn’t be the fact that our expectations were set and you needlessly went out of your way to not serve up what you advertised on your storefront?

We saw Halo 4 on the box and we expected a Halo experience.
Instead we got a generic sci-fi shooter trying to be both Call of Duty and Halo.

Had 343 followed the Golden Rule of Game Design and kept the original build of Halo 4 that was scrapped for being as Frank O’Connor called it “too traditional”, then Halo 4 would’ve probably had a player count between Halo Reach and Halo 3’s peaks (900,000k to 1,080,000 players online).
They wouldn’t have had to scrap 8 more map packs that were planned and two seasons of Spartan-Ops.

The pro-league is all about proving someone’s skill at the game.
Skill is best shown with a precision weapon that is well balanced.
There is a reason why the HCS settings are going BR only. Because that is probably what the HCS is asking for.
But notice how that is not happening across-the-board with all the other gamemodes?
Because the pro league is a minority of the total playerbase. Doing such a change in all Ranked and Social playlists would be an insta-kill to the game.

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H3 was released in 2007, which as we all know was the series’ peak, I’ll give you that because that 100% true, but the very same year, just a few months later CoD4 launched which completely revolutionized and changed online gaming landscape forever. I mean, nobody was talking about Halo anymore after CoD4 launched, and every other game tried to copy and be like CoD ever since, not like Halo.

So fast forward to today, now you have a game made for the community a.k.a. there are just a few thousand people playing it, if that’s not niche I don’t know what is. Even if Infinite would face so many technical issues, it would still be an an outdated, niche type of game with low population, because after just a few days you’ve basically saw ot all, you’re just running with the sane gun over and over and nothing changes, the gane gets boring extremely fast, while those cosmetics, which you don’t even see, don’t impact the gameplay experience in any way at all.

There’s a reason there’s no Unreal Tournament or Quake Arena anymore, even tho they did try to revive them, but the player’s interest just wasn’t there anymore, and never will be. Doom 2016 almost completely flopped because ID was desperately trying to convince everyone we were playing Dooms back in the 90s because of multiplayer, where back in those days there was just 56k modem connection, and not many people had even that to begin with. What saved the game was that PC footage from SP campaign like a week before launch, that’s whete the hype for the game begun, but MP? Dead on arrival, few people messed around with it after finishing the campaign and that’s it, because that kind of oldschool concept from late 90s-early 2000s just doesn’t work at all anymore, it’s been 20 years already. But ID learned the lesson and Doom Eternal was now strictly marketed for its SP campaign, whereas 343 relies on the die-hard community feedback (well, at least to some minimal extent, they try, supposedly), whereas the absolute vast majority of players just doesn’t care. I had one buddy asking me, “dude, how to I change my gun, this one sucks”, well needless to say he didn’t last with Halo even a week. And I can only imagine how many people simply uninstalled the game and went back onto other games, whereas here on this forum all you’ll ever read is “but that’s Halo!”… Yeah, and that’s essentially the whole problem, whole reason the franchise only keeps dying, to a point nobody wants to play it even for free whereas people blindly pre-ordered Battlefield for 70$ without even thinking twice about it.

And yet, Halo 3 was able to maintain a constant playercount of nearly 400,000 players online as the weekend peak in 2010.
And while CoD4 MW was a different take on the FPS genre, Halo still was able to rival its consistent playercount.
Halo Reach peaked at around 900,000 unique players online, with 600,000 online according to statistics found from TWO YEARS after launch.
Meanwhile CoD MW2 only peaked at around 480,000 on Steam.
Halo and CoD were both neck and neck dude. Not a huge gap.

The only reason one could argue that CoD was more popular is because it was not a console exclusive but instead was available on Xbox, Steam, and Playstation; pulling from three separate pools of players rather than one.
But if we focus on that Steam Number for CoD MW 2 and compare it to the Xbox Numbers of Reach in 2010, the peak-gap is a WIDE margin.

Black-Ops 4 slammed Halo 4 because of the fact that Halo 4 is not what the Halo players wanted.
You want to go play CoD? You buy CoD and play it when in the mood.
You want to go play Halo? You buy Halo and play it when in the mood.
Halo 4 was a weird hybrid of both games, so when players picked it up and realized that it was just a weaker version of both games, when Black-Ops 2 came out, of COURSE the playercount dropped for Halo 4 because if you wanted to play CoD, you would go play CoD.
And if you wanted to play Halo, you didn’t really go to Halo 4 since Halo 3 and Reach were still live.

You are being willfully ignorant and it appears you don’t even know it, so I guess it is actual ignorance.

Halo Infinite had a HUGE playercount, even if we excluded the people who were here because “oh boy, free game!”
Unfortunately Halo Infinite is a very broken experience.
Server’s are terrible. Splash Damage is random. The shotgun is projectile rather than hit-scan. The radar is terribly short range despite movement speed on foot being at an all time high thanks to the grapple-shot. The 60% game-modes are not here. Forge was absent for around 14 months. No firefight. Campaign is only 1/3 complete. Cross-platform is enforced without cross-control-input being restricted. 95% of the cosmetics are paywall locked despite the false promise of most things being unlockable by just gameplay. The game is needlessly forwards compatible likely to counter with the fact that scalpers were digging into the Series X/S market and thus most consumers didn’t have the new console, which only amplifies the networking problems as Xbox One players are playing on a next gen game with previous gen hardware.

Tell me.
If you received a sequel to a PvP game that was very broken, why would you bother torturing yourself by playing the broken game when you can just go to one of the previous games and have fun with that?
After all, Halo MCC received a lot of updates from 343 during the development of Infinite to fix its many issues.
Infinite launched, most players saw how broken it was, and now MCC has the highest player count of all the currently live Halo titles.

Those that are still playing the game are likely too stubborn or hopeful that “it will be better soon”, or they are just desperate to try and unlock all the cosmetics just to say to those that return when the game is fixed finally to say “we never gave up and here are our four seasons of rewards to prove it.

You do realize that there is currently a new Unreal Tournament game in development that is currently in pre-alpha right?

What gave you the impression that Doom 2016 was a flop?
Like I can understand the multiplayer because it was an interesting hybridization of a few Arena Shooter types, but it certainly wasn’t a flop. Otherwise Doom Eternal wouldn’t have been such a successful sequel that everyone was hyped for. Barely anyone plays Doom for the multiplayer, even the Classic Dooms.

Steam Charts show a 31,623 players online as the daily peak record of Doom 2016.
For a single player game experience, that is phenominal!
But rating a game as terrible because of the multiplayer that no one was expecting is like saying Dead Space 2 is the worst game in the trilogy for having PvP multiplayer bolted on; which is honestly just a bad take because DS2 is widely regarded as the best title in the trilogy.

Unfortunately for your friend, he doesn’t seem to realize that each gun has its role to play in the fight. And yes, 343 is known for making terrible arsenals, just look at Halo 4’s weapon selection.

343 does indeed rely on a die-hard community. But they do so by making false promises left-and-right, outright lying to the community they already have while trying to aim for a new target audience with their design choices.
So when the game launches, they are somehow scratching their heads wondering why their feedback is full of people calling them liars and their playercounts are lower than they hoped.

Again, with my Chinese restaurant analogy.
They advertised Chinese Food. People who wanted Chinese Food came and ordered up. They served up KFC because they also want to appeal to a different demographic. And then they are wondering why their customers are irate and why they cannot get more people who like KFC in their restaurant.

343 is tasked with making Halo. People who want Halo have a set of expectations and buy the games. They get served up something that is only the bare-minimun requirements of Halo and are upset. And 343 wonders why their attempt at copying their competition didn’t go as planned, wondering why they cannot get more players to remain online.
(going to be facetious here)
I mean it can’t be because we are designing a game to be for an entirely separate demographic while advertising it being for the demographic we already have?

In a bid to be trendy and comparable to your competition, 343 decided to change the unique formula that already brought in consistent numbers.
Where before Halo 3 and Halo Reach was able to rival the player-counts of Call of Duty, Halo 4 was immediately cut in half by the launch of Black-Ops 2.


Changing the successful formula for something else is entirely the reason as to why Halo cannot keep up with the likes of CoD. This past decade had Halo 4 implement a loadout system. Halo 5 tried to be a mobility shooter THANKFULLY without wall-running.

Bungie set their path and walked it.
343 tries to emulate the success of others, forgoing the success of the previous game, and look where it got them?
2 year gap between Halo Reach and Halo 4, and Halo Reach consistently remained to have well over 400,000 players online consistently throughout January of 2012. Two years after launch.


Meanwhile if you look at the NeoGaf link further above, you see that Halo 4 was only near that 400k player count for 6 days.

What variable changed to make people want to not play the newer Halos?
The answer is simple.
The development studio.
And the development philosophy of said studio was highly counter-productive.

Here is hoping that Microsoft looks at the statistics of this past decade and realizes that they need to go over 343 Industries with a fine comb to ensure that the future of the IP is actually a successful and profitable one rather than have a repeat of this decade of embarrassment and controversies.


Yes, people do give a ton of games a chance to fix things over kong period ofvtime, after all we’re getting all those unfinished GaaS not without a reason, because publishers see that they can indeed get away with it, but the game has to be fun first and foremost at its core, which Halo isn’t and never will be for many average Joes out there because:

He perfectly does, that’s exactly why in other normal games SMGs significantly drop damage over distance, pistols and shottys are effective only at a very close range, and singkle-fire/burst guns are the ones you pick if you want to fight on long distances. And every gun has the same reticle, unlike Halo, every gun controls the same, unlike Halo, every gun can do headshots, unlike Halo, and so on and so on. Serious technical issues are one thing, but the absurd level of inconsistency is in Halo BY DESIGN, the community calls it ‘sandbox’ and are eager to defend it, whereas the masses call it bull**** and simply uninstall.

It almost was, thete was little to no hype, nobody bought the idea of getting Doom to play some outdated oldschool Deatchmatch, it’s that single-player PC footage on GTX 1080 at 200FPS (if I remember correctly) that elevated all the hype and made the pre-orders skyrocket, especially on PC. That’s what saved the game, otherwise the sales would never be anywhere near as high if they kept pushing that “Dooms has always been all about MP” fake agenda, and there probably would never be a sequel. And with Eternal ID didn’t even tried to make the same mistake ever again, the game was solely marketed for its SP campaign, about running around and shredding demons into pieces. But yeah, before that one SP footage, there was almost no interest in the game, whether PC or console communities.

Yeah, it’s been in development for what, a decade already? And cancelled once in the process if we’re at it. That’s because there’s not much interest in it from the general public. Quake Champions, sane story basically.

So all in all I’ll put it this way - yes, thete is still place for oldschool arena shooter type of games, but as something made by a small indie studio aimed towards a very niche audience, not from a huge AAA studio (let alone multiple ones working together), with over half a decade of development time, and hundreds of millions of dollars budget, those just don’t make any sense, especially from the business perspective, because those kind of games will never appeal to the mass audience anymore, and hence will never make up all that AAA money needed for development, let alone make a profit, I mean, Halo Infinite itself proved it too well almost.

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Halo MCC especially.
Good god when 343 kept on going on and on saying “Custom Games Browser is going to be out in just a couple months, be patient.”
40 months later after that promise of “a couple months” we have Custom Games Browsing in 4 of the 7 multiplayers.

You do realize that this sort of mechanic would make no sense in Halo right?
One-Shot-Headshot makes sense when the game is all about short time limits and being every CSGO pro-leaguer’s wet dream and your player character isn’t wearing full-body powered assault armor with energy shields.

Halo is a shooter of its own flavor.
CoD is its own shooter.
Same with Counter-Strike.
Gears of War
Rainbow Six
Ghost Recon
Apex Legends
Titanfall 2

If every shooter game played be the exact same set of rules, then there would be no reason for anyone to buy any other shooter games because they all are the same exact format and gameplay.
In order to make sure your franchise isn’t just a copy-cat, you gotta put a unique spin on it.
Halo had a unique spin and then it was tossed aside only to be picked up and dusted off a decade later.

The term of “sandbox” isn’t an exclusive term by the Halo community.
It is an industry term to refer to what the game entails within its confines and what it allows the player to do. Each game out there is different.
Fallout and D&D5E have entirely separate systems on how to fulfill a role-playing adventure experience.
Command & Conquer features an entire battlefield with your buildings able to go practically everywhere while Halo Wars’ RTS rules have players controlling established zones with bases.

If you don’t like one sandbox, that is fine. There are hundreds of others in each genre. You can have your opinions about one sandbox over another.

But it appears you seem to think that the Halo sandbox is bad because of its uniqueness compared to your favorite sandbox being Counter-Strike from the sound of it.

Yes it appears to have been cancelled.
But not due to the fact that it was out-dated. The demand is still there but Epic Games has stepped away from it because Fortnite changed from a PvE Zombie Survival game to being the cash-cow battle-royale it is nowadays.

Unfortunately resources were re-allocated to ensure that they keep Fortnite Battleroyale going.
It makes me wonder how many staff members probably left Epic Games since they were ordered to be reassigned from the development of the next UE game and go on to make Fortnite of all things.
Same thing goes with The Culling. Epic was already making a BR experience and then someone made one in Fortnite, so the project devs of The Culling suddenly had their game abandoned.

The demand is still there.
It is just being ignored by the executives in charge of the company who want more money rather than maximum customer satisfaction.

You like to go on about ‘niche audiences’ and yet, you praise Halo 4: the Halo game who’s player count dropped sharply as a consequence to intended game design changes rather than broken networking and a flawed engine overhaul. Only around 20,000 players were online consistently for the last few months of its first year online.

So while you call Halo ‘niche’, it is ironic actually.
You are free to have your opinion. Though it seems you are unaware that your opinion is rather niche on this forum.

Saying that the genre of arena shooters is dead and then citing Halo Infinite’s decline as your proof-of-your-claim is like saying you won a foot-race while your only opponent is Usain Bolt but he had to run with two broken legs.

Halo Infinite failed because the game was not complete upon launch and the updates were dead slow for it to be considered a live-service game.
Had it been a far more complete game, with better networking, and not made false-promises about cosmetics being more openly available; it is likely that the player count would be like what Halo Reach had back in 2011.

Oh boy this is a long reply coming up.
I left to get groceries, took a shower, and you are still typing?
Hope this stays on topic.

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Well then, where are all those oh so popular arena shooters then? Especially AAA ones? Here’s the thing - even (or especially?) without all the issues, because from time to time you do get the days where everything seems to be running completely fine, the game gets boring as hell after just a couple of games, I’d even go as gar as saying that the issues are what keeps people playing the game, in hope of getting desync-free games, games with fair, balanced teams and so on, but if you do keep getting those kind of hames, how long can you really last with the same AR over and over again? 8 games? 10? 12? You just turn off the game because you’re done.

There’s a reason back in the days games lasted only a year, maybe two, no matter how content-packed they were, people simply naturally eventually get bored to death, and nowadays we have games that are constantly being updated with new guns, guns people can actually choose/pick, and those games can last even a decade, because they don’t get boring over time, there’s always something fresh and new to play with.

Now, I see people wanting new weapons as DLC on Infinite, for what I ask? You’re gonna run with the same AR anyway, being on the game’s mercy to put you on proper map with proper weapon loadout to just give you a chance to pick up those new guns, because that how arena shooters work, by design.

Now if only the game did had loadouts, and you had UNSC weapons to chose from, like multiple assault rifles, shotguns, SMGs, and then on top of that there were still alien/power weapons around the map, now that would be something that’s true to the game’s universe, because you’re playing as UNSC Spartan after all, something that would allow players to diversity and personalize their gameplay experience, while still having that oldschool Halo arena shooter element to it where you pick up powerful wrapons from around the map. But with community allergic to loadouts a man can only dream, hell, a simple sprint is enemy no. 1 and “game breaking” according to Halo’s community, you just cannot have a good game when you try to please such fanbase really. How come the games you listed do have sprint and nobody cries about it? How come the radar isn’t a wallhack that shows you for just moving but for shooting instead, and nobody cries about it? How come you do extra danage and ate rewarded for aiming at upper body/head and nobody complains? So while they do have unique identities, there are some basic principals those games hold onto, some to greater some to lesser extent, but it all makes sense, wheteas Halo completely flips everything upside down and as a result yes, it dies provide a unique experience, but a terrible experience, an irrational and inconsistent experience, where nothing makes sense and only long- time die-hard Halo fans learned to accept it under “but it’s Halo!” label. I

It’s 2023 already, no one is going to play a game that forces you to run with one same gun over and over again, especially when that gun is useless and not fun at all in the first place, you can try to build up a pile of excuses and arguments but all you really need is to invite newcomers into the game and they’ll instantly tell you everything that’s wrong with the game, things that are there by design, not the technical issues that will (hopefully) get ironed out eventually. Honestly, the amount of “… but that’s bull****!” I received while trying to explain the game’s mechanics was staggering. But I agree, I’m just willing to close one of my eyes on those design flaws because nowadays it’s really hard to get a shooter that’s: A) slow paced, B) doesn’t have this forced ADS CoD-style gameplay. And those are the ONLY two good things I can say about Halo Infinite, everything else is just… Plain wrong. It worked back in early 2000 where online shooters were in their infancy, they were still an uncharted territory and basically everything worked, and people didn’t knew any better, but now they know, two decades later arena shooters are pretty much dead, you haven’t listed even a single one and yet you’re the one arguing that they’re aren’t niche, c’mon now…

Unfortunately the triple-A developers tend to have to bend to corporate overlords who like trends.
The trend nowadays is Battle-Royales and now look?
There are 100 BRs and only like 7 good ones.

The triple-A arena shooters of the past decade are Destiny, Quake Champions, Halo, & Doom.

Arena shooters are still coming out, though mostly in the Indie fashion.
Splitgate, Ultrakill, Paragon the Overprime, and so many more to count.

Just because you cannot name more than two doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. It simply means you don’t pay attention to the genre.

You don’t seem to understand Halo’s sandbox (yes I said the word you don’t like, grow up).

Halo as a shooter is all about control of the map’s assets. A complicated game of Rock-Paper-Scissors if you would.
Everyone starts with the same guns, but taking control of better weapons is part of the match. If your team can keep the Rocket Launcher out of the enemy team’s hands, you are more likely to win a match of CTF because the warthog can make an easy getaway with the enemy flag.

Also not every match has you starting with the AR and Pistol combo. Ever heard of Rock & Rail or Shotty-Snipers? Covenant Slayer? Rocket Slayer? SWAT?
There are multiple modes where the starting weapons, map weapons, and player statistics are modified. It is what makes Halo such a versatile game to begin with; especially when Custom Games are enabled.

You seem to prefer games with loadouts since you complain about having to start with the same guns over and over again.
I personally despise those games because often times the victor of a gunfight isn’t the one who was the most accurate and precise with their gun, but rather whoever had the most hours invested in the game to unlock the better versions of each weapon tier and the attachments to enhance said weapon.
It is less a game about who is better at the game but rather who can afford to spend 10 hours a day to reach max rank and unlock all the weapons and perks to be handicaps for their shortcomings.

The sandbox of Halo is perfectly fine.
You just seem to prefer the sandbox of a game that lets you change equipment between deaths rather than actually think what the map has to offer and what the enemy team has not obtained.

If you are talking about post-launch content then you are wrong.
Players didn’t get bored of the game. The developers have other projects to focus on and are allotted post-launch content to help expand and refine the game (back before content update patches were more commonplace as the internet became widely available eventually).

Take a look at Call of Duty once again. Notice how Modern Warfare 1, 2, and 3 play essentially the exact same way? The loadouts systems between the game had some tuning adjustments to the statistics and effectiveness of perks. But buy and large the games are exactly the same.
Slow motion door breaches.
Heavy Armor Vehicle Section
AC-130 Gunship section.
Drone strike section.
The obligatory stealth mission where if you are spotted it is instantly a game-over.

Those three games COULD have been made into a single live service game where Infinity Ward could’ve simply released new map packs every so often, new weapon pack drops, and then a campaign DLC being the story mode of the next part of the trilogy.
The problem with that strategy is that live-service was a myth back in those times, the graphics were being upgraded in each game, and it wasn’t even originally meant to be a trilogy.

The game is launched, the majority of the dev team moves on to make the groundwork of the next game, and some team members stay behind to provide post-launch content for a year before joining the main dev team once again.

Do you want an example of a game being constantly updated year after year? We can take a look at the likes of World of Warcraft, Rune Scape, Team Fortress 2, and CSGO.
What advantage do those games have compared to Halo and Call of Duty?
Being PC games that received updates only on PC, in an age of the internet being stable and standard for PCs while consoles took another decade to catch up.

Because we are still missing 75% of the arsenal that was featured from the rest of the game franchise, and with this being a “live-service game” we expect to see the other weapons make a return to the game.

There is your answer. You are not going to like it, but that is the answer.

And then the playercount would die off as fast as Halo 4’s playercount did.

There is a reason why Halo 5 Gorbians didn’t feature Loadouts.

Halo is about equal starts and map control, proving your knowledge of the map and skill with the weapons to achieve victory.
Halo 4 introduced loadouts that were broken and perks that made the game far less about map strategy and more about “I spawned in with my cheap loadout. With the Nemesis Support Upgrade perk I can see the guy who killed me. I am going to gun straight for him and take him out with my OP Boltshot Shotgun alt-fire. Thanks to my Mobility Tactical Package, I can get there before the Nemesis runs out.

Halo isn’t a game about spawns, it is about map control strategy.

Tell me. What if Team Fortress 2 suddenly got a sequel being Team Fortress 3. Only it suddenly became less of a team-based game with roles but now everyone gets access to every weapon in the game regardless of class you play as. Spy with a Minigun? TF3 suddenly allows that. Scout with a grenade launcher? Why not?
Would the Team Fortress community cry out against this failed sequel and opt to instead continue playing TF2?
Yes. Because the sequel to their game was not made for them. It was made for an entirely different taste of shooters.

If Halo were to re-introduce loadouts, the only place they would be welcome would be in PvE modes like Firefight.
The player base does not want them in PvP ever again.

Sprinting does break the gameplay, depending on how it is implemented.
Halo Reach had the best sprinting, as it was a 1/7 chance the enemy player probably had it equipped.
You choose sprint for horizontal map mobility, allowing you to get to objectives and power weapons faster.
Jet Pack is chosen for vertical map advantage, letting you beat someone to a peak for a weapon or power up, or just get in a really good spot for sniping.
Armor Lock is cringe outside of countering vehicle splatters.
Evade is useful for when you notice a rocket or a grenade or an inbound vehicle and need to evade in a split second.
Active Camo is useful to counter snipers as you can traverse out in the open without being shot long-distance.
Hologram is great for close-quarters distractions.
Drop Shield heals your teammates and gives you temporary cover out in the open.

Sprint however was meddled with by 343.
Halo 4 EVERYONE had it. So all the maps now feel smaller or had to be built to be larger to compensate; such as the remake of The Pit.
Add in the Mobility Perk and it became quite broken.
Let’s say you died and respawned nearby two enemies. The best course of action would be to retreat with sprint to regroup with your teammates. Reach’s Sprint was a 1/7 odds, meaning the enemy players might have jetpack and hologram; so your retreat had a high rate of success and was a viable strategy. But now in Halo 4 EVERYONE can sprint, so running from the enemy that outnumbered you was often difficult. Retreating is less viable. If you had Mobility it became more viable. But if you had spawned without that perk and the enemy had that perk, they could chase you down with ease.

Halo 5’s sprint was worse because your health and shields don’t recharge while sprinting. Since everyone has infinite sprint, lets go with that same example of spawning near enemies with better weapons. You want to retreat to your teammates. The enemy managed to shoot your shields down to half. Since you are all running, and you are not being shot at, your shields refuse to recharge because the game won’t allow it while sprinting. So when you do regroup with your teammates, you are still an easy kill for the enemy.

Halo Infinite’s sprint is better because it is a slower sprint than in Halo 4 and your health/shields recharge while sprinting.
I would argue that Infinite sprint is the 2nd best rendition in the franchise.

Because each shooter is a different flavor and each favor attracts different types of players.
Just because something works in one sandbox doesn’t mean it will be welcomed with open arms in another.

How about adding Energy Shields to Call of Duty Modern Warfare? Or a thruster pack to boost yourself forwards? Does that sound like it fits in the sandbox or setting of CoD MW? Probably would fit nicely in Advanced or Infinite Warfare, but not in MWII.

Because the radar is short range and bullets do not go through walls in Halo. It is there for situational awareness in social matches and is not present in HCS playlists.

Unlike CoD where you have things such as the FMJ ammo perks. I recall having a friend who wanted to play a sniper fight. I pictured us being sneaky and on one of the larger maps. Instead he put us on Nuketown, complained about me not using a bolt-action sniper, and toggled UAV always active and would just shoot at where my dot was on the edge of the radar to kill me through three walls.
Instead of playing a game of sniping, he wanted to make an MLG Quickscope compilation.

And honestly, the one in Infinite is the weakest one yet because it doesn’t specify if an enemy is above or below you; just that they are either on or not on the same elevation as you. Not to mention is short range means that you can glance down to your radar and see your flank is all clear but suddenly a flash of red as an Energy Sword player using a thruster pack cleared the 9 meter gap within .21 seconds.

Because you are rewarded for staying on target and aiming closer to center mass?
Is this a complaint for players being coaxed at improving their skill and staying on target?
Because last I checked this was pretty standard across many shooters that shooting at arms and legs is not as effective as shooting the chest or head.
I recommend that you play the new Firing Range mode in Rainbow Six Siege and see what I mean when you shoot a target practice dummy. Shooting someone in the foot in the game is going to be less effective than a shot to the chest. You are rewarded for accuracy and not just a lucky tap on the peripheral of the paleomodel (with the exception of headshots).

Because Halo Infinite’s networking is shoddy and its engine overhaul was half-baked?
The game was intended to be designed more along the lines of Reach or Halo 3; both of which were consistent experiences; unlike how in Infinite the splash damage of an explosion seems to be a dice roll between “insta-kill” and “damaged shields to half” despite the enemy player being at ground-zero of the blast.

Was Halo Infinite your first experience?

It doesn’t force you to run with one gun. To be frank, Halo 4’s campaign did that with how on higher difficulties it was “Light Rifle or Bust”.

Halo’s multiplayer is all about equal starts with a balanced mid-weapon and then doing what you can to make the best of what the map provides. Is there a sniper rifle on the map? Go keep it out of your enemy’s hands and take them out with it from range. Is there a Scorpion and a Rocket Launcher? Best secure one of them to gain the upper hand and secure both of them to keep the enemy team from countering your Tank.

Also, calling the Halo Infinite rendition of the AR “useless” is laughable since it is arguably so well rounded that there is no reason to even try to pick up a couple other guns in the sandbox such as the Command or Pulse Carbine because the AR of Infinite is such a powerhouse that outshines some other mid-tier weapons.
Honestly it would make more sense to have the AR be a rack weapon and the Commando be your default primary.