By many accounts, Halo Infinite is an overall fantastic, if notably flawed, game. Gamers and critics alike hailed the game’s campaign as a return to greatness, especially after the disappointment that was Halo 5: Guardians. However, despite some overall improvements, Halo Infinite shipped incomplete, and its developers promised that those missing features would eventually be patched in. Well, you know what they say: Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
When 343 Industries announced Halo Infinite’s Season 2, the company provided a roadmap that included estimated dates for legacy/missing features such as the Forge and campaign co-op. Recently, 343 updated its timeline with new release dates for most of those features, but a few things got lost in the process. According to the latest Halo Infinite update video, the Forge and online campaign co-op will launch side-by-side on November 8. Unfortunately, all work on the game’s previously promised split-screen co-op campaign feature has been canceled.
In order to speed up the development and quality of Halo Infinite’s live service updates (and hopefully avoid crunch), 343’s staff had to undergo a bit of reshuffling and cut back on some of Halo Infinite‘s features. The most noteworthy of those now-missing features would certainly have to be that much-anticipated split-screen co-op mode. As 343’s Head of Creative Joseph Staten put it, the company reallocated the resources that previously went into that legacy feature into other avenues in order to make players feel more rewarded and welcomed, while also ensuring that Halo Infinite multiplayer sessions are fair and stable.
For those who were not just looking forward to the return of Halo‘s split-screen co-op but simply don’t care about the game’s live-service multiplayer mode, this decision is a devastating blow. Some fans may have even just learned that the biggest reason they may have bought the game in the first place is now no longer going to be in the game at all. Halo Infinite‘s development has been a mess so far, and decisions like this kind of capture the spirit of that disastrous development process. The promised return of split-screen co-op once felt like a simple feature designed to let longtime fans know the studio had their backs. Now, it’s another example of a game that has often stumbled and is still trying to find its balance.
Still, the news isn’t all bad. As previously mentioned, the online version of Halo Infinite‘s campaign co-op is still set to launch on November 8 as part of the game’s massive Winter Update. So, those willing to hop online can still team up with other players in the story campaign. That feature will even support cross-platform play for a little extra accessibility.
Plus, as heretical as this might sound, now that 343 staff members aren’t preoccupied with split-screen co-op, they can devote more time to developing and polishing future live service updates and focusing on the long-term health of the game. For instance, Halo Infinite’s next season, Echoes Within, will include new maps, reintroduce legacy weapons such as the M392 Bandit, and add more narrative events. How embarrassing would it be if couch co-op hadn’t been canceled but one of the game’s more substantial updates had shipped with some kind of massive bug? So while this news is undoubtedly disappointing to many, we sometimes need a reminder that every cloud has a silver lining. In this case, maybe there is something to be said for the idea of 343 cutting their losses in the name of getting Halo Infinite back on track and hopefully offering more substantial campaign updates (including possible DLC expansions) in the future.
With any luck, this decision will ultimately help 343 Industries create a better Halo Infinite experience. As always, only time will tell.