As 343 Industries' Halo Infinite nears its one-year anniversary, Xbox Games Studio's Matt Booty has opened up on the game's launch and subsequent, often-rocky rollout of content over the past year.
"Kudos to [343 Industries for building and shipping a game during some pretty challenging times," said Booty in a recent episode of the Friends Per Second podcast, referencing the early days of the pandemic. "If there's a worse-case condition for trying to get games done, it is the big multi-hundred person team trying to finish a game."
Since it released in late 2021, Halo Infinite has become notable for lacking franchise features at launch or inconsistent multiplayer updates. Though some of these issues have been addressed or planned to be by 343 in the near future, it's admittedly been a struggle for the Xbox franchise's newest installment.
Booty continued by saying "shipping a game is just the beginning" for titles similar to Halo Infinite, which has a seasonal live service model. That's where most of the issues seem to have arisen, as 343 extended Infinite's first two seasons to six months rather than the standard three of similar games like Apex Legends.
This week's Winter Update will finally see the release of new content and features, such as online campaign co-op and the Forge map editor.
"There's got to be a plan for regular continuing engagement, and we just fell short on the plan on that," he admitted. "It was a little bit of a good finish at the finish line, and that classic runner's mistake of tripping and stumbling as you come across the finish line and we've got to recover there."
343 Industries received a larger shakeup this year when its general manager/founder Bonnie Ross suddenly departed in mid-September due to a family emergency. Following Ross' leave, her role has been split across 343 alums Pierre Hintze (studio head), Bryan Koski (franchise general manager), and Elizabeth Van Wyck (business operations).
Of those changes, Booty said that the management shift will help 343 get Halo Infinite's momentum back on track. "We've just got to really get refocused around that sustained content plan and making sure we're bringing a regular update of content for players."
Halo Infinite wouldn't be the first troubled shooter to turn itself around after an uneven launch. But for a series that's been so important to Microsoft over 20 years, its issues may speak to larger concerns about what kind of future Halo has as Microsoft is shifting its focus to other shooter titans it can bring into the fold.