Will the Halo franchise follow the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield into the battle royale space? A video from noted Microsoft insider Brad Sams recently claimed that 343 was breaking ground on a battle royale mode for Halo Infinite. Franchise boss Frank O’Connor has now responded on ResetEra, saying that the multiplayer modes aren’t locked in yet but battle royale isn’t in the cards.
“We will not talk about the launch content of Halo Infinite until we’re ready,” O’Connor said. “I haven’t watched the video so if I am misinterpreting the headline as ‘Halo Infinite is launching with/as a Halo Battle Royale mode’ that is still not the case,” he said. “You can probably make your own Battle Royale mode in Forge even right now though. It’s a mode not a genre. And all the variants out there now are in my opinion quite radically different from my perspective. Apex vs Fortnite is chalk and cheese–one focuses on movement and map traversal and the other on building and budgeting. Like CTF. BTB Super Fiesta (for example) contains a lot of the shenanigans and emergent fun of that kind of large experience but big sandbox modes are not Battle Royale any more than Oddball is CTF.”
O’Connor joked that Halo Infinite will still have BR–the Battle Rifle, that is. And while Halo Infinite may not have a battle royale mode, O’Connor teased that 343 is looking into “big social modes with loads of organic shenanigans.”
“The launch modes for MP are not 100% defined and are subject to change till quite late in the process–but Battle Rifle will still be there,” he said. “So you can have BR. But are we interested in big social modes with loads of organic shenanigans? Yes. Specifically A blimp full of survivors heading to an Island after a (metaphorical) lecture from Beat Takeshi? No. We are NOT doing this as of now–and no plans to–but Battle Royale could be made for any of the Halo games in MCC or [Halo 5] with some content and scripting additions, because it is a mode. It would have limits based on each engine. I’m pointing that out to be clear that it’s one of the ways we think about gameplay possibilities rather than a single direction for a title.”
Brad Sams, who has accurately reported on many unannounced Xbox endeavours, may be accurate in stating Microsoft has done some work on a Halo battle royale game. Game development is highly iterative. So it might be possible that 343 experimented with battle royale and decided not to pursue it further. Given the enduring appeal of the battle royale genre, it makes sense that Microsoft would at least consider a battle royale mode for Halo Infinite.
The Call of Duty franchise added battle royale with Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode, while Battlefield V’s battle royale mode is called Firestorm. These are modes within the games, not standalone experiences like popular free-to-play battle royale games like Fortnite and Apex Legends.
Also in the Sams video, he claims a new trailer for Halo Infinite is being prepared for E3 this June. That would be no surprise, as Halo is one of Microsoft’s tentpole franchises, and we’ve already heard that Halo Infinite will be part of the show. He also responded to the recent claim that Halo Infinite has a $500 million budget. He said he’s heard that the actual budget is “in that region.” Given the sizeable investment, Sams added, “Careers will be made or broken on [Halo Infinite].” As Sams understands it, the reported $500 million budget would cover game development and development costs associated with the brand-new engine, Slipspace, that Microsoft created for Halo Infinite. It’s unclear if marketing costs are included.
A spokesperson for Microsoft told GameSpot about the $500 million budget, “We do not comment on speculation and rumor.”
Halo Infinite is in development for Xbox One and PC; a release date hasn’t been announced yet.
In other Halo news, it was recently announced that Orange is the New Black and American Gods actor Pablo Schreiber will play Master Chief in the Showtime Halo TV series. GameSpot and Showtime are owned by CBS.
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