So there has been quite a bit of discussion about Infinite’s graphics, and now YouTubers like ReviewTechUSA are digging deeper and are finding rumours of development issues, particularly crunch in the studio.Now obviously if true, these rumours are concerning. And the Infinite demo we saw definitely didn't do anything to assuage those concerns, neither the mostly radio silence from 343 and Aaron Greenberg's spin.
I have just given the Halo Infinite soundtrack a listen (Halo Infinite | Official Soundtrack – Set a Fire in Your Heart - YouTube), and it sounds great. They clearly have some great and talented minds working on the project, and finally they are honouring Marty O’Donnells legacy the right way by actually developing the Halo motifs in new ways while staying true to the audio pillars of the franchise. Obviously the graphics need work, but some of the new sounds are actually good. And the proper shield sound is restored and not that weird high pitched window cleaner sound from Halo 5! Hoorah!
So obviously there are development issues, I think we have all seen that, but let’s remember that Halo 2, one of the best games in the franchise, also had massive development crunch. It’s whether 343 live up to the mantle of responsibility (excuse the pun lol) like Bungie did back in the day and deliver a great game.
As someone interested in acquiring the game, but unsure after the presentation whether to upgrade to Series X or keep my Xbox One for Halo and buy PS5 instead, here are some things 343 can do so I am more at ease:
- Some of your community staff including Brian Jarrard has acknowledged the Craig meme, which is good as it shows you are in touch with your community. Obviously you need to do some brute facial animations (the ones in Halo 3 I like) but having a bit of Craig as an Easter egg in Infinite would be great. You could copy the monkeys from the first Halo 3 mission, put them in the campaign somewhere with Craig’s face on?
- More importantly, I am expecting that we will see a Waypoint post from yourselves publicly acknowledging the graphical issues (and the Craig meme), stating what you’re doing in terms of lighting and textures to improve the game. Please include raytracing at launch so a Series X purchase is actually somewhat justified on our part for this game. I want to buy Series X but the Infinite demo didn’t sell it at all to me. That needs to change. The Halo community is known to be critical, and we are because we just want 343 to make a great Halo and restore honour to the franchise, but it seems the entire internet, gaming community and mainstream media has noticed the graphics of this game. Dominos Pizza UK has even tweeted a meme about it… It seems Microsoft’s marketing leading up to this event saying “Series X, led by Halo Infinite” etc. has somewhat set expectations a little too high. Acknowledge the faults, implement those graphical improvements and people will thank you for doing so and your game will look more attractive to the market! Add some blood splats too as I felt that was missing from the demo and thus made the enemies feel really fake.
- Don’t be afraid to delay the game if you have to. Coming out and saying you’re delaying the game to implement feedback, especially on graphics, is a sign of strength not weakness. Customers will know they are getting a better quality product as a result of being listened too, and will appreciate you for it! Your game will look better and there will be more hype for both Halo and Series X. Delay the game and avoid the crunch
- **Fix the Banished phantom and Minecraft honeycomb walls please. They just look awful.**343 you clearly have the elements of a great game, the soundtrack is great and Marty O’Donnell himself has approved it. Please make sure see those graphical improvements before launch! Especially raytracing as with dynamic lighting it looks like this game really needs it. (Watch Digital Foundry video on Infinite’s demo graphics)
As for consumers/fans, crunch doesn’t automatically mean the game will be bad. Just look at the legendary Halo 2! Hopefully 343 can make the right steps and we can enjoy a great Halo game either later this year or perhaps March 2021.