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[Jason Schreier] How Microsoft’s Halo Infinite Went From Disaster to Triumph

Bernd Lauert

Gold Member
Not really a hit piece like expected from Schreier, but still a lot of juicy details in it.

The engine used to build Halo was one that 343 had based largely on old code from Bungie. Parts of the engine, a set of tools called Faber, became infamous at the studio for being buggy and difficult to use. Within engineering, there’s a concept known as “tech debt,” which refers to problems one puts up with because the previous programmers of a system chose quick, easy solutions over more sustainable ones. Faber’s code, some of which dated to the early 2000s, had so much debt that some 343 engineers mockingly referred to its “tech bankruptcy.”
The staffing at 343 was also unstable, partially because of its heavy reliance on contract workers, who made up almost half the staff by some estimates. Microsoft restricts contractors from staying in their jobs for more than 18 months, which meant steady attrition at 343.
Halo Infinite’s creative direction was also in flux until unusually late in its development. Several developers described 343 as a company split into fiefdoms, with every team jockeying for resources and making conflicting decisions. One developer describes the process as “four to five games being developed simultaneously.”
By the summer of 2019, Halo Infinite was in crisis mode. The studio decided to cut almost two-thirds of the entire planned game, leaving managers to instruct some designers to come to the office and do nothing while the studio figured out the next move. Eventually the game’s open world was cut back from a vast, Zelda-like experience into something far smaller.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...s-halo-infinite-went-from-disaster-to-triumph
 

DeepEnigma

Gold Member
Side Eye Reaction GIF by MOODMAN
 

Kacho

Member
“By the summer of 2019, Halo Infinite was in crisis mode. The studio decided to cut almost two-thirds of the entire planned game, leaving managers to instruct some designers to come to the office and do nothing while the studio figured out the next move. Eventually the game’s open world was cut back from a vast, Zelda-like experience into something far smaller.”

Well there it is. What a god damn shame.
 

Kev Kev

Gold Member
shut up jason

edit: for the record. i think halo multiplayer is a big success and that is great seeing as the reception of that first gameplay trailer, and i have high hopes for campaign today. so i dont disagree with the idea that that is a cool story to tell, i just dont care for jason's journalism style and the attacks/takedowns that he seems to revel in.
 
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ManaByte

Member
Never understood limiting contractors to 18 months. Revolving door of knowledge. Pretty self inflicted from a HR policy perspective.

I can't believe it's 2021 and people are just now discovering how the video game industry exploits temps. The Raven situation that just happened has been going on forever.

Most QA/support roles in gaming companies are temps. Only the developer gods get to be full time employees of the company.
 

AJUMP23

Member
The cheaper you can employ someone the more profit a company makes, Profit is not the only thing that drives a company, but it is the main thing that investors look at. If you run a company, take care of your employees.
 

Kuranghi

Gold Member
Halo Infinite is a great comeback story. 343 did a hell of a job turning that ship around.

I dunno, sounds more like they ejected 2/3rds of the passenger to be eaten by sharks and squeezed the remaining 1/3 into an olive green boat with a fantastic food selection but nothing else to do but eat. They have a guy onboard who's decent at telling stories but he keeps stammering and it ruins the immersion.

I'm sure its a great game overall but this is a major disappointment to me seeing what could've been. Its not like general cutting room floor stuff thats its sad to see didn't make it in but is just part of any game development, here its sounding like they really reduced the scope and made something that has none of the fun experimentation of BotW. All this game has is grappling vehicles right after they explode but its not even as good as BotW physics manipulation because it doesn't feel like a proper "fling" you get from stasising something in that, it feels like a physics glitch.
 

Duchess

Member
Never understood limiting contractors to 18 months.
In some parts of the world, if a contractor has worked at a firm for more than a certain number of months, they gain all the same rights as a permanent employee. So, they are entitled to holiday pay, sick pay, pension, training, and all the rest.

I knew someone who worked at an investment bank in London who was given a contract renewal to sign that had a break of one calendar month in it. This was so that they couldn't claim to have been working at the place for the number of consecutive months that would entitle them to things like severance pay. So, they signed it, then buggered off on holiday for a month before coming back for their next stint. I know, weird, right?
 

Nikana

Go Go Neo Rangers!
THe removing two thirds of the game line is silly. Games have features and portions cut all the time before they go into full development on the core elements. This is not unusual.

Perhaps them wanting it to make launch forced some things further to be cut but judging by the delay it sounds like it all made it in.
 

Pagusas

Elden Member
It's about money. Always is.
My last company had the same policy about contractors and having frank talks with our C-level, they said it was due to rules about % of a freelancers time over a period of 18 months, and if its more than a set % just with your company, some places require you to consider them an employee/eligible for benefits. We were an international company so I'm not sure where the rule came from, but they had a strick cut off for any labor we used mroe than 18 months, often we'd hire the person onto our staff if they were deemed essential.
 

Bernd Lauert

Gold Member
Microsoft has in-house devs who are top notch experts in Unreal Engine (The Coalition) and id Tech (id Software). Maybe they gonna finally ditch Faber for the next Halo?
 

Duchess

Member
When I read stuff like this, I sometimes wonder just how sustainable AAA game development is these days. The games just cost more and more to make, take longer to come out, have all kinds of issues when they do, and often gamers are saying it's not much of an improvement over what we had before.

Maybe I'm being too negative..?
 

Pagusas

Elden Member
When I read stuff like this, I sometimes wonder just how sustainable AAA game development is these days. The games just cost more and more to make, take longer to come out, have all kinds of issues when they do, and often gamers are saying it's not much of an improvement over what we had before.

Maybe I'm being too negative..?

Far too negative. Stop listening to the volcal minority (in all regards to life) and just enjoy this stuff. Also think of AAA games as massive job creators, they are pumping 200 - 500 million dollars into the private sector with every game, making tons of IT, Dev, Marketing, Management and Creative jobs.
 

Sosokrates

Founder of western console warring.
The folks at 343/XGS did well to get a very good game released, but its clear that there needs to a management and organisational shake up at 343.

One thing that should be noted is that every AAA studio is pretty chaotic.

There is no AAA game that has military run precision, they all have there problems.

I think it was naughty dog who said that 8months before release the game is a mess and the game that releases is completely different because of the blood sweat and tears gone into making it something special.
 

Salz01

Member
I won’t read the article because I can’t stand Jason, but calling it a triumph is a far stretch. Ive been playing Halo since the original, and this release is the least excited for a new entry I’ve ever been. Maybe in two years when they release new content for it and expand the biomes and objectives for the open world it will be more appealing to me. Maybe he is calling it a triumph, because it’s not a complete disaster at launch.
 

Kacho

Member
When I read stuff like this, I sometimes wonder just how sustainable AAA game development is these days. The games just cost more and more to make, take longer to come out, have all kinds of issues when they do, and often gamers are saying it's not much of an improvement over what we had before.

Maybe I'm being too negative..?
Nah, there's truth to it. Even Shawn Layden said AAA development in its current state isn't sustainable.

I've personally been concerned about the state of the industry. Marvel's Avengers, Battlefield 2042, GTA Trilogy all shit the bed. Halo had its scope reduced tremendously. We see a bunch of announced games and then hear nothing about them for years. On top of that we have companies like Ubisoft introducing terrible NFT nonsense to their games.

Something has to give at some point.
 

*Nightwing

Member
Little preemptive no?

Game hasn’t officially launched, and whilst the gameplay is so good and tight it is clearly going to be a hit and goty contender, the launch is still plagued with mediocrity and it ain’t gonna get there until after a few months of patching and adding content that should have been available at launch.

Then again it’s sensationalist propagandist Jason Shreier, gotta be the first one delivering the story even before it’s true since it’s an inevitable outcome, whilst simultaneously whitewashing/ outright omitting all the unfavorable parts of the story
 

Helghan

Member
It's disappointing that they weren't able to pull off what they wanted to do, but this does tell me that this game will get a lot of updates and a lot of new areas to discover in the future.
 

SlimySnake

Member
I dunno, sounds more like they ejected 2/3rds of the passenger to be eaten by sharks and squeezed the remaining 1/3 into an olive green boat with a fantastic food selection but nothing else to do but eat. They have a guy onboard who's decent at telling stories but he keeps stammering and it ruins the immersion.

I'm sure its a great game overall but this is a major disappointment to me seeing what could've been. Its not like general cutting room floor stuff thats its sad to see didn't make it in but is just part of any game development, here its sounding like they really reduced the scope and made something that has none of the fun experimentation of BotW. All this game has is grappling vehicles right after they explode but its not even as good as BotW physics manipulation because it doesn't feel like a proper "fling" you get from stasising something in that, it feels like a physics glitch.
Yeah, I am not sure how this is a triumph. They were able to ship the game with great reviews yes, but they literally cut 2/3rd of the game. The game was heavily downgraded both in terms of graphics and scope. Where is the wildlife? The amazing graphics? Is Watch Dogs a triumph?








 

insanexer

Member
Jason "Soy Boy" Schreier is a joke of a journalist. He finds disgruntled employees and writes hit pieces to fit his narratives. Once he gets called out over his shady and unethical practices, he instantly blocks you on twitter.
 

SenjutsuSage

Halo TV Series Promoter - Live from: Reach
Still trying to remain relevant, I see. It was never a disaster if it never released as such. It releases looking like possibly the best Halo campaign ever made.
 
"Jason Schreier"



I wouldn't call it a triumph yet, still a lot of backlash going on for the game but it's a hell of a lot better than 4 and 5 so far.
 
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