Even with Halo Infinite offering players a free-to-play multiplayer experience at launch, some players have suggested it needs a battle royale mode to appeal to a wider audience. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Beginning with H1Z1 and PUBG back in 2016, battle royale games are now some of the most popular on the market and draw in millions of players every single day.
So, heading into E3 2021, a lot of Halo Infinite fans expected 343 Industries to jump on the bandwagon, and release a BR alongside their multiplayer.
Luckily, they decided not to and emphasized that their focus was on perfecting Halo’s already unique PvP modes. While you could make a strong case that the developers have neglected a huge potential audience, I’d say they’ve dodged a bullet.
Too many established and popular BRs
The battle royale space is dominated by three goliath titles: Fortnite, Apex Legends, and of course, Warzone. While it’s easy to look at these games and view the BR genre as an open opportunity for Halo Infinite, that’s far from the truth.
Countless big franchises have attempted to take a slice of the market share and they just haven’t resonated with audiences. The classic example is Battlefield V’s Firestorm and more recently, Ubisoft’s Hyper Scape which has rapidly decreased in popularity, despite pulling in hundreds of thousands of views on Twitch prior to its launch. It was too streamer focused and it didn’t have that hook players need to keep coming back.
If Halo Infinite were to include a BR mode, the developers would have to knock it out of the park, making it a huge risk. It’s easy enough to suggest a big franchise like this would make it successful on name value alone, but the year is not 2016. Players used to accept the faults of PUBG and H1Z1 because no other titles could provide the same gameplay experience.
Player’s standards have risen significantly, and with so much choice between which BR to play, competing in the market would be a dangerous game for Halo Infinite. If it was to become another Hyper Scape or Firestorm, you’re left with the monumental task of updating it regularly on top of handling the multiplayer side of things, with very little reward. It’s a huge gamble.
Not to mention that it’s an Xbox exclusive game, which immediately halves your audience in a way that Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Warzone does not.
Halo Infinite’s balancing act
With Halo Guardians releasing all the way back in 2015, fans have been waiting over six years for another addition to the mainline series. It’s safe to say expectations are high, and 343 need to ensure they balance Halo’s classic gameplay with new and exciting features.
If innovation is what the developers are looking for, including a BR mode is not the solution. It’s not an original idea at this point.
Unlike a fresh franchise, the devs have to be incredibly selective over what features they decide to change or add when developing Halo Infinite. Fans are expecting it to play like the Halo games of old, but also want new and fresh mechanics alongside that. It’s a difficult balance to strike, especially for a game that has such a cult following.
This puts 343 in a difficult position and means any additions they make have to be truly innovative or fit Halo perfectly. The battle royale formula meets neither of these requirements, as it’s been done countless times before.
Why waste time developing a sub-par BR mode, when you can build on Halo’s brilliant and historied multiplayer?
Halo Infinite doesn’t need to jump on the trend
The main argument from supporters of a Halo Infinite BR mode is that the game “needs” one to compete with the other top shooters and keep players interested.
While this may have been the case in 2018, today it seems as if FPS players are calling out for something new or different. The excitement surrounding both Battlefield 2042 and Halo Infinite is palpable, regardless.
According to Fortnite leaks, Epic Games will be moving to an open-world game in the near future, Apex Legends has just opened up its Arenas mode as an alternative, and Warzone always has its multiplayer to fall back on.
Halo Infinite should be looking to play to its strengths and making its own multiplayer experiences the best it can be. The idea that 343 “needs” to copy other successful shooter titles in order to succeed appears to be a pitfall a lot of other huge developers fell into.
Halo is one of the biggest franchises in gaming history which helped to innovate and shape the shooter genre, why should that be any different today?