A Halo Infinite dev from 343 Industries has spoken out about some of the game’s problems as the Halo community continues its backlash against the company over the game’s state upon launch.
The last year or so have seen some of the most turbulent game launches in recent memory. Cyberpunk 2077 launched with issues so substantial CD Projekt RED were forced to offer refunds, while Battlefield 2042 has experienced launch problems so significant DICE’s Design Lead, Fawzi Mesmar, left the company.
Halo Infinite has seen certain aspects of its launch praised – CoD fans have looked on enviously at the readiness of its competitive landscape – but also seen large parts of the game frustrate its player base. The absence of Slayer and launch playlists have, among other things, come in for heavy criticism.
So heavy, in fact, that the game’s subreddit was forced to ‘lockdown’ to inhibit the spread of further toxicity and attacks on developers. Amid the lockdown and backlash, though, one dev spoke out about the game from 343’s perspective.
Brian Jarrard, Halo’s Community Director, sought to explain 343’s side of much of the debate.
He started: “First, I’m going to stress again that I 100% understand and generally agree with the frustrations most are expressing even if I don’t agree with the attacks and ways in which some choose to express those feelings.”
Going on to say that the playlists were chosen to try and innovate Halo and retain certain aspects of the franchise’s formula, he explained that the context in which the game was produced also affected its content.
“As for Slayer itself – we’re still having discussions around feasibility,” Jarrard added. “We would love to have modes and experiences that meet player expectations vs. the backlash situation we’re in today. I don’t believe anyone at 343 thought not having Slayer was a ‘good idea’… The team’s plans for a Slayer playlist, I think, are more robust than what might ‘suffice’ for an interim solution. I love the ideas and some of the variants they’re working on – those all require tuning and most importantly – testing.”
He summarized: “I’m starting to ramble here but the main TLDR is, for what it’s worth, we’re going to do what we can as soon as we can. If things today do not meet your expectations then I’m sorry you’ve been disappointed. I’m confident this game will continue to get better and better and all of these issues are fixable. I also realize that some players are just going to not play anymore – maybe they come back, maybe they don’t. I also know – and want to be very upfront and honest – that the pace at which bigger changes are brought to bear will absolutely not be as fast as many want.”
Many empathized with Jarrard, recognizing how difficult video game production must have been during a global health crisis. Others though, argued that the issues boiled down to fundamentally incorrect decisions on 343’s behalf.
As Jarrard said, Halo still has a long time to develop and improve, and all in the community and 343 will be hoping to see it do so.