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[Windows Central] Don't Pre-Order Halo Infinite

3liteDragon

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Despite some promising appearances from Halo Infinite through 2021, its new pricing model spotlights continued obscurity around its single-player campaign.
Microsoft has settled on a Dec. 8, 2021, release date for Halo Infinite, the next entry in the sci-fi shooter series, and this year's tentpole project for its Xbox Game Studios creative arm. It's the first mainline Halo launch in over half a decade, promising the largest single-player campaign to date and a return to its classic arena multiplayer action. Halo Infinite made its latest on-stage appearance at Geoff Keighley's Opening Night Live show on Wednesday, flexing a new multiplayer trailer and a Halo Infinite-inspired Xbox Series X console to match.

But there's one takeaway I saw after Microsoft's Gamescom showing — "That's it?" The latest Halo showing has only raised fears over its campaign offerings, now almost three months from launch but still shrouded in obscurity. There's a promise of a new open-world approach to Halo, pitched as the most drastic shakeup to the formula on franchise history. But with the campaign still absent this close to launch, 343 Industries hasn't instilled confidence to justify that $60 price ta
g.

The piling pressure on Halo Infinite's campaign

Microsoft has positioned Halo Infinite as the "future" of its shooter franchise, both a mainline Halo experience years in the making but also doubling as a platform for years to come. The most significant change comes with its new free-to-play multiplayer model, launching alongside the single-player campaign on Dec. 8, but still detached from the $60 package. It follows a string of free-to-play success stories this generation, likely to welcome a new audience to the established franchise. But that new pricing model changes how we could perceive Halo Infinite and judgment toward its next chapter. With the multiplayer component now a standalone product, supported by an ecosystem of paid cosmetics and battle passes, those purchasing Halo Infinite are solely investing in the single-player campaign. While Microsoft continues to push Xbox Game Pass for day-one access, there's still a huge market for game sales, including preorders.

That's not to comment on the value of single-player experiences — some of the best modern video games thrive on solo experiences — and it's equally fundamental to the Halo legacy. But the Halo Infinite campaign remains absent, and with Gamescom the latest missed opportunity, it's clear that 343 Industries is holding back whatever is in the pipeline. Halo Infinite made its first gameplay debut last summer, once a headline demo to dominate Microsoft's big Xbox Series X showcase, now an infamous chapter in the game's development. The eight-minute demo spurred backlash for subpar visuals, birthing memes now synonymous with the project, and likely one factor behind its delay to 2021. 343 Industries blamed multiple factors, including working from home, but the rocky demo was a symptom of larger issues predating the spread of COVID-19.

The Halo Infinite launch is now only a few months out, with Microsoft committing to a firm early-December launch, and the title is now regularly prevalent in the news cycle. The game resurfaced at E3 2021 with a multiplayer focus, later followed by a multiplayer technical test providing the first public hands-on opportunity. The same theme has continued through Gamescom 2021, once again glossing over its single-player campaign.

With free multiplayer, Halo Infinite asks $60 for a single-player campaign still missing in action.
With Microsoft and various retailers now accepting Halo Infinite preorders, it's been over a year without substantial insight into anything relating to the paid $60 experience. We know Halo Infinite will descend on Zeta Halo, a new ring that serves as an open world for the events that unfold throughout the story. But how the open world and campaign function remains unclear. How big, and more importantly, how dense and varied is the open world? Where do missions and narratives tie into its open-ended structure? Is the campaign in a somewhat polished state? We also understand Halo Infinite underwent significant behind-the-scenes changes following the departure of former director, Chris Lee, with Halo veteran Joseph Staten taking the wheel. What improvements have been made, if any, since that initial 2020 demo?

Halo Infinite and Schrödinger's campaign

These questions will continually overshadow the title until we see the campaign running on Xbox Series X, let alone aging Xbox One hardware. Cyberpunk 2077's launch debacle demonstrated the implications of subpar console launches, a similarly anticipated title veiled by a lack of transparency. Recent announcements have amplified those worries, including plans to delay the cooperative campaign and its Forge level-editing modes beyond launch. With Halo Infinite pushing the final few weeks of the year, all signs suggest the project is down to the wire to deliver upon those launch day promises.

While it's generally sound advice never to preorder video games in an increasingly digital market, that's especially true for Halo Infinite. We're going into the campaign blind with little effort to rebuild confidence in the paid $60 experience since that July 2020 demo. Gamescom was the obvious platform to provide more clarity, but now merely a missed opportunity. Microsoft recently showed off new, limited-edition Halo Infinite hardware, and it's likely safe to take up any preorder opportunities, given the limited supply. But for the campaign, keep that cash set aside for the near-term — or invest in Xbox Game Pass as launch approaches. I have high hopes for Halo Infinite, with years of investment leading up to this moment, but some extra reassurance would go a long way.
 

Topher

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Confused Hanna Barbera GIF by Warner Archive
 

Shmunter

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It’s on gamepass, why would anyone preorder anything coming to it? Sure, some will, but those are the outliers.

They are already rolling out the sp like a live game introducing features over time to keep people subscribed to see it evolve.
 
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Papacheeks

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It’s on gamepass, why would anyone preorder anything coming to it? Sure, some will, but those are the outliers.

They are already rolling out the sp like a live game introducing features over time to keep people subscribed to see it evolve.

Not everyone wants to rent it. I already have mcc on steam. I would love a game similar to warzone in the vein that it's constantly being updated and new content being added.

Funny this is from a decent sized site. I got piled and questioned for why $60 is a lot to ask for just a campaign when multiplayer is free.
 
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CuNi

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I'm waiting for a life sign of the campaign but once co op releases at the latest its a guaranteed steam purchase for me. If there will be no trailer I'll wait for release day, watch a streamer play it to get a glimpse of bugs etc and if it's okay I'll get it day 1 on steam.
 
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LordOfChaos

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I don't preorder any game. But I do take their point, I'm wondering if the campaign is keeping larger plots secret, or it's just what we see is what we get and it's the third game in a row to abandon the previous baddie quickly for another one. Bit nervous about it, I mostly play Halo for the campaign and I feel like this is going to be a pivotal game for me staying with it and continuing to care.
 

mejin

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Yep, too much dishonesty, but people are free to spend their money. Why is WC going against their masters?
 

SenjutsuSage

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I'm actually in agreement on this one. This isn't how you sell your game to anyone. Even for game pass subscribers I feel like a major disservice is being done to fans anticipating this game and looking to support it. It's my most anticipated game, and I have no problem being honest about a disturbing pattern emerging. I've said this before regarding PS5 things that concerned me, and I've always made clear I would readily do so with xbox also, and have, and this is one such case that warrants that. It screams that the game is in some kind of trouble and they aren't being totally honest with us about it.

Only way this makes sense is if there's some major technical hurdle based on some new tech or something that they're trying to get working, and they don't want to show it before they've worked out those kinks. At this rate the next time they show this thing it must blow minds. There needs to be something stunningly impressive when this is shown for all this delay to be worth it.
 

Kuranghi

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It’s on gamepass, why would anyone preorder anything coming to it? Sure, some will, but those are the outliers.

They are already rolling out the sp like a live game introducing features over time to keep people subscribed to see it evolve.

When it launches the warthog will only have one wheel, they'll add another one every 3 months.
 

Urban

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This one is pretty interesting for me because I think that the game will “flop” with it sales numbers if you would compare it to ihr other ones in the series.
Might be a good indicator if any games even sell anymore if they go the game pass route.
 

01011001

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DELAY THR CAMPAIGN! it's that easy. the money maker will be the Multiplayer anyway, so release that as planned and polish the fucking campaign.


343i already released so many shitshows, if this comes out and sucks once again, how will this reflect on the franchise? they are lucky it's not 100% dead already
 

Vagswarm

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I never once pre-ordered a game, and that is probably not going to change. I haven't been too disappointed by word of mouth.
 

dvdvideo

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Pointless article really, like 80% of game sales are digital, there's no real reason to preorder it anyhow (except maybe to preload it but likely reviews a few days before anyhow). And there is risk with any game, even many that were shown often and early that were not 10/10 games. Plus probably 60% of the people playing it will be on gamepass anyhow........

It's just another let's jump on the bash halo infinite before it's out bandwagon to get hits.
I said it before, if you were ms, would you show halo infinite campaign before it releases so every internet nerd/website can slam it zoomed in at 800% slowed down 20x? Nope. At this point it's smarter to just release it Dec 8th for actual review.
 
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Corndog

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Not everyone wants to rent it. I already have mcc on steam. I would love a game similar to warzone in the vein that it's constantly being updated and new content being added.

Funny this is from a decent sized site. I got piled and questioned for why $60 is a lot to ask for just a campaign when multiplayer is free.
Probably because your a fanboy for Sony.
 

Corndog

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Apr 17, 2020
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I'm actually in agreement on this one. This isn't how you sell your game to anyone. Even for game pass subscribers I feel like a major disservice is being done to fans anticipating this game and looking to support it. It's my most anticipated game, and I have no problem being honest about a disturbing pattern emerging. I've said this before regarding PS5 things that concerned me, and I've always made clear I would readily do so with xbox also, and have, and this is one such case that warrants that. It screams that the game is in some kind of trouble and they aren't being totally honest with us about it.

Only way this makes sense is if there's some major technical hurdle based on some new tech or something that they're trying to get working, and they don't want to show it before they've worked out those kinks. At this rate the next time they show this thing it must blow minds. There needs to be something stunningly impressive when this is shown for all this delay to be worth it.
Maybe working on the lighting and it’s not ready. That would effect every level.
 
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SenjutsuSage

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Maybe working on the lighting and it’s not ready. That would effect every level.


My strong suspicion has always been that this was the first game which would use sampler feedback streaming on Series X, and they've been having some major challenges with that aspect of things.
 

MrFunSocks

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Jul 9, 2020
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This one is pretty interesting for me because I think that the game will “flop” with it sales numbers if you would compare it to ihr other ones in the series.
Might be a good indicator if any games even sell anymore if they go the game pass route.
Game pass isn’t what will affect sales numbers the most, it’s the multiplayer being F2P that will.

Despite forum sentiment, significantly more people care about the multiplayer than the single player.
 

Dr Bass

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Jun 6, 2013
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Everyone doesn't have Game Pass.
Yeah but pre-ordering in general is sort of a bygone practice in the age of digital downloads. You used to HAVE to do this 20 years ago when things were on carts/discs and there was real scarcity involved with the biggest releases. My first job was in what was once Software Etc. (now Gamestop), as a teenager. I saw people not get games they wanted ALL the time back then because they didn't pre-order.

Not a problem now. Just get the infinitely available digital version after release.

I've still pre-ordered a couple digital games here and there, mostly because I'm dumb.
 

purvispisgah

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[Insert any reasonable games outlet] Don't Pre-order [Literally any digital product].

Preorders only make sense in the context of scarcity. Hardware, sure. Software, never.
 
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Graciaus

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Campaign has a good chance to be trash anyway. Multi is f2p so why would I waste my money?
 

Papacheeks

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Probably because your a fanboy for Sony.

I own mcc on steam, my steam name is in my profile "ACETHEOUTLAW"?

Though in terms of platform for console I prefer PlayStation, and I have a PC for everything else. And love Halo and gears. My issue has been as of past gen those series have been stale.

Infinite looks like a return to what I loved about bungies run.
 
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