CoD Vanguard gave Halo Infinite a golden opportunity and it miserably failed

halo master chief with cod vanguard characterMicrosoft / Activision

343 Industries revealed a disappointing new roadmap for Halo Infinite, crushing hopes of what could have been a groundbreaking year competing against Call of Duty. They had one shot, and they missed.

Starved for an excellent FPS game, 2021 could have been anyone’s year between the usual big hitters. Instead, Halo Infinite and Battlefield 2042 floundered under the spotlight, potentially damaging both franchises’ futures.

CoD Vanguard managed to keep its head above water better than its competitors, releasing five post-launch seasons, but the World War II-inspired game will go down in history books as one of the weakest entries in years.

In March 2021, Activision reported around 150 million active CoD monthly users. One year later, that number dropped by over 30%, plummeting to only 100 million active monthly users.

2021 was ripe for the taking, but 343 Industries launched a half-baked game in November of that year and is still struggling to pick up the broken pieces in 2022. The latest roadmap only confirms our worst fears.

halo infinite spartan players standing in a line343 Industries
Most players seem to be united in their disappointment.

Halo Infinite’s Season 3 roadmap is the tipping point

Community Director Brian Jarrad, Head of Creative Joseph Staten, and Head of Halo Infinite Live Service Season Barron sat down and dove into the future of Halo Infinite.

Barron acknowledged development struggles and assured players, “Two seasons a year doesn’t cut it. That’s not what our players deserve, what they expect, not what our team wants to do, and ideally, we want to do four seasons a year.”

The number one priority for Halo’s Live Service team is “achieving seasonality.” A graphic designed seasonality as “getting players more of what they want, and getting it to them faster with greater consistency.”

Unfortunately, achieving that goal meant delaying Season 3 until March, and Barron labeled Season 3 as the first step in attaining seasonality.

“We knew that if we tried to release season 3 on November 8, we would negatively impact our ability to be consistent the way we want to at a high level of quality,” Barron said.

343 decided to cut Campaign split-screen co-op, and Stetson said those resources were shifted to focusing on improving the Live Service and completing other projects such as Forge. Read the room – that’s a terrible decision.

Halo Infinite has missed its chance

343 developers showed courage in opening up about their struggles and revealed gears in motion to rectify those wrongs. But unfortunately for Halo, 2022’s FPS offerings blow 2021 out of the water.

Halo Infinite Season 2 started on May 3, and Season 3 doesn’t start until March 7. There is not enough meat on the bone to justify holding out content on players for just under a year.

November 8’s update adds the long-awaited Forge Beta, two new maps, and two new game modes, but a minor stop-gap won’t recover what’s already been lost.

For example, Battlefield 2042’s Season 2 launched successfully, but nothing DICE does will recapture the same hype before the game’s release. 343 can make every right move going forward but never recapture similar hype.

Modern Warfare 2 Ghost next to MWII logoActivision
Modern Warfare 2 will drop in October of 2022, a long-awaited follow-up to MW 2019.

Modern Warfare 2 is knocking on the door and launches on October 28. Halo Infinite missed its opportunity window in 2021 to build a strong foundation, and Xbox could seal the failing title’s fate.

Xbox CEO Phil Spencer confirmed CoD titles are coming to Game Pass if its landmark acquisition of Activision Blizzard goes through. Modern Warfare 2 would be the most accessible Call of Duty game ever and eliminate any Halo Infinite buzz come March.

CoD Vanguard was a blip for the franchise, so how did Activision respond? They called all hands on deck and tasked 11 studios with crafting Modern Warfare 2.

Halo Infinite could have pounced on the giant in its weakest state, but now Activision has all the ammunition to crown itself as the FPS king once again. With co-op campaign scrapped and nothing on the horizon to keep fans interested, it’s a gloomy moment for the series.

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