Halo Infinite reportedly prototyped ‘hero-based’ systems during development

The game’s notoriously long development cycle included prototypes for drastically different systems to the franchise’s classic formula.

Image via 343 Industries

It had been six years since the release of Halo 5: Guardians when Halo Infinite launched at the end of 2021. Halo Infinite’s tumultuous development had already been reported on by Bloomberg, but one of the cuts to Jason Schreier’s original article included that developer 343 Industries had once prototyped a hero-based system in that period.

With the cultural shift to colorful casts of characters in games such as Overwatch or Apex Legends, the prototypes more than likely experimented with the potential of heroes and classes in the world of Halo. This information comes from Jason Schreier in response to tweets from content creator Chris Ray Gun that implied much of the game’s large budget went into creating an “Overwatch clone,” which Schreier argues is “exaggerated to the point where it’s mostly false.”

“People spinning this as some sort of a ‘this is why the game was ruined’ story are exaggerating to the point of falsehood,” Jason Schreier said in a follow-up tweet. “The production problems, as I wrote about last year, were largely the result of a lack of coherent vision, frustrating tools, and the contractor system.”

This comes after many in the Halo community, disaffected by the slow updates to Halo Infinite’s multiplayer, took Chris Ray Gun’s tweet to suggest the current version of Halo Infinite we have today only enjoyed a meager amount of development time following the hero-based prototypes being canned.

But Schreier’s point that the hero-based experiments were not a large part of the development troubles was backed up by a developer who helped ship the title. “We prototyped a bunch of stuff as we worked on the game which is never wasted time,” read Robeytech’s response to the rumor of a canceled Overwatch clone. “It was in the time allotted for the game to go through those design cycles.”

While the developmental tests never came to fruition in the final version of Halo Infinite, which was steeped in homage to the classic Arena gameplay of its predecessors, remnants of the design intentions can be seen in the free-to-play multiplayer’s narrative.

With the launch of season two, 343 will be introducing narrative events, its first incarnation focused around the Lone Wolves characters who are at the core of the seasonal story. Halo Infinite’s multiplayer still wants to develop and introduce players to new and diverse characters, drawing in that demographic who loves the beloved casts of hero shooter titles, but in a style more akin to Halo Reach with a player character stand-in produced via your multiplayer Spartan.

Fans will be able to experience these new and evolving narrative threads when season two, titled Lone Wolves, launches on May 3.


Alexis Walker
Alexis is a freelance journalist hailing from the UK. After a number of years competing on international esports stages, she transitioned into writing about the industry in 2021 and quickly found a home to call her own within the vibrant communities of the looter shooter genre. Now she provides coverage for games such as Destiny 2, Halo Infinite and Apex Legends.

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