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Former 343i Employee speaks out about Halo Infinite (Crunch, game over ambitious, cut content...) and Schreier has a story about 343i coming up

Dec 29, 2018
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People ask too much of Halo. Its best days are in the past. It can't be exactly what it was, because the market has changed, gamers have changed. So Halo must also change. If the new concept doesn't hit it with today's audience, then they need to scratch it all and do a full reboot. Only don't put 343 in charge of it if they don't succeed this time.
Nailed it.

Hilarious that some still think Halo is a tentpole franchise. It no longer is and never will be. 343i horrible mismanagement of the IP is also not helping.
 

Rolla

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If this wasn't an indication that 343 were having problems...



Then I don't know what to tell you.
 

Edgelord79

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Because much of the time it hardly sounds like anything to get upset about? Like if what this guy said is construed as "crunch" I'll laugh.. occasional overtime for some people?

These people are insanely well paid too, as are all Microsoft employees.

There are loads of people that specifically seek out development jobs that offer overtime.. it's a perk.. because it pays insanely well.
It's a tough situation I think. His constant articles about this specific topic is starting to promote apathy among readers. I guess he still has to report it though. I don't know.

I'm trying to be sensitive to the issue as maybe it is that serious, but it's starting to wear thin. I guess if your are in the industry it's a big deal, but to everyone else it may seem like small potatoes with everything else happening.

Hopefully this story will paint the larger picture of the studio as a whole and not become another human interest story.
 

RoboFu

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I disagree.

Its an issue in the industry that many have already talked about that develop games. I see no reason to try to gloss over it and pretend its now suddenly not an issue.

but it’s not an issue. All these people can go to any job they want. It’s not like they are being told “ you will work overtime or you are finished in this industry!” No one is doing that. most of these people are contract hires as well. Most projects are light at the beginning and tight at the end. It’s not a factory job where you do one task constantly until the bell rings

it’s only a big deal because people like Jason has cultivated a negativity surrounding it to sell clicks and books.
 

Drewpee

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A former 343i employee (Skybox Artist) shared some insight on Halo Infinite. The video is in mandarin, and has been translated by a user from Reeee.
  • His overall feeling on Halo Infinite: "In fact, I think the finished product will still be great. The story is a big improvement, and the gameplay is much richer, though the development cycle is too long. Don't expect it to be an epoch-making masterpiece."
  • The company executives were overly ambitious. They wanted to make Halo Infinite a semi-open world game, so the engine needed to be changed significantly. They had to make the game and develop the engine at the same time (Due to engine defects, many workflows were not ideal, though they are now much more improved than before).
  • Last year's disastrous demo was because many engine features were not fully implemented at that time.
  • For a variety of reasons, the game content compared to the original idea has been cut (same for multiplayer). "This has led to some things I've made over the years that no one will probably ever see."
  • The team at 343 (especially the low-level employees) works very hard, and many of them have experienced working overtime until the early hours of the morning in the past few years. (Crunch confirmed :(
  • Now he works at Certain Affinity, still doing some HI outsourcing work, and he feels good to be out of 343's baggage.
Video (around 10 minutes):

Why are we so concerned with OT in the gaming industry vs every other industry where OT is common? Is it because they decided to call it "crunch" vs OT?
 
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Stuart360

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Nailed it.

Hilarious that some still think Halo is a tentpole franchise. It no longer is and never will be. 343i horrible mismanagement of the IP is also not helping.
How do you judge it?. Halo 4 and 5 still sold multiple million. The MCC has sold over 5mil just on Steam, while being on Gamepass and the Windows store for ages, and just hit 10mil players.
 

Stuart360

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Well I imagine you could find UK workers who are just as dedicated and vice versa. I think it's more an individual thing rather than your nationality.
Well i was obviously talking in general. Of course there are plenty of good hard working people in the west, especially the older people. I once worked 28 days straight with no day off (which is unlawfull by the way) wheh i joined a new store before it opened years ago. Didnt feel hard done by at all, in fact it never even crossed my mind. Thats the difference.
 

Negotiator101

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Why are we so concerned with OT in the gaming industry vs every other industry where OT is common? Is it because they decided to call ot "crunch" vs OT?
I do agree that other work sectors are seemingly forgotten about when it comes to OT, I think it's not a good thing whatsoever but unfortunately it's inevitable. I'm a head chef and at certain points through the year I'm required to work much longer and much harder than I would like but it has to done.
 

Men_in_Boxes

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"Don't expect it to be an epoch-making masterpiece."

We all saw the 8 minute gameplay premier that could have been mistaken for any of the last nine Halo games if we blurred our eyes a bit.
 
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Wait a second! At least let them release the game before you start calling it a doomed franchise, for all you know it scores 90+ Metacritic and has a huge player base.
The franchise doesn't have the draw it used to. I remember Halo 3 having such a huge launch and anticipation. I remember seeing damn near every single person on my Xbox friend list playing the game on launch day (myself included). It was a huge moment for Xbox and the franchise. I think Xbox spent a fortune on marketing too. $40+ million I believe though I might be slightly off with that figure.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling doom and gloom with Halo. All I'm saying is it doesn't have the draw it used to and it's going up against other big FPS titles. There is very solid competition for Halo these days.

EDIT: Also I do agree to wait and see how it does commercially. That much is obvious but it needs to be innovative to go toe to toe with today's big FPS titles. I'm keenly waiting to see what its like but I don't have faith 343i will be able to pull it off. Just got a bad feeling about it but we'll see.
 
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Hardensoul

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All projects are planned for no OT and time deadline. With set Cost, money is not infinite. Anytime past the deadline is cost sink. We have to weigh the cost of more OT or delay. So, yeah I don't understand the whining about crunch.

Some projects will make or break a company, I've been there multiple times in the lean years of places I worked. Layoffs aren't fun when a project fails.
 
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Stuart360

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The franchise doesn't have the draw it used to. I remember Halo 3 having such a huge launch and anticipation. I remember seeing damn near every single person on my Xbox friend list playing the game on launch day (myself included). It was a huge moment for Xbox and the franchise. I think Xbox spent a fortune on marketing too. $40+ million I believe though I might be slightly off with that figure.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling doom and gloom with Halo. All I'm saying is it doesn't have the draw it used to and it's going up against other big FPS titles. There is very solid competition for Halo these days.

EDIT: Also I do agree to wait and see how it does commercially. That much is obvious but it needs to be innovative to go toe to toe with today's big FPS titles. I'm keenly waiting to see what its like but I don't have faith 343i will be able to pull it off. Just got a bad feeling about it but we'll see.
Infinite IS in a tough position to be fair. 343 need to innovate, but then the Halo hardcore will be on their case. If they dont innovate and keep it old school, everyone else will say its dated and 343 are trash etc.
Sales wise, i still expect it to be huge regardless.
 

EDMIX

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but it’s not an issue. All these people can go to any job they want.

Might as well not even waste any time in such threads then with such logic.

No issues exist in any industries everyone, no one post anything about companies doing such practices cause I mean "day can work any jobz day want" /s

Stuart360 Stuart360 " Japanese people are disciplined and realize its part of life and get on with it" Shit, that doesn't make it ok and a none issue in the east either.

So sir, I have no clue where you heard that shit from. They are actually not just getting "on with it", just the opposite. That is not seen as some positive thing there.



 
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Lanrutcon

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Irrelevant
Bookmarking the thread.

It'll be fun to read after Infinite comes out a 7/10 and everyone loses their shit like it was a surprise to them.
 
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RoboFu

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Might as well not even waste any time in such threads then with such logic.

No issues exist in any industries everyone, no one post anything about companies doing such practices cause I mean "day can work any jobz day want" /s

these companies are not threatening anyone with not working in the industry.
now if the whole industry was collectively keeping employees pay down while greatly increasing overtime then you would have an argument. But that’s not happening.. there are laws against that in most countries.

But yes they are free to go work for other game devs. If a dev is truly bad they will lose employees and not be able to hire contract workers. It will regulate itself. This is how a lot industries work.
 

harmny

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these companies are not threatening anyone with not working in the industry.
now if the whole industry was collectively keeping employees pay down while greatly increasing overtime then you would have an argument. But that’s not happening.. there are laws against that in most countries.

But yes they are free to go work for other game devs. If a dev is truly bad they will lose employees and not be able to hire contract workers. It will regulate itself. This is how a lot industries work.

yeah for example EA is a great company to work for. except every online gamer will hate you. but the working conditions are great because of that.
 

Stuart360

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Its not just you, there were a few people. But yeah I can't believe it still.
Its like i said numerous times, its problem was that it was the first 'next gen' game shown off (and it isnt really as its cross gen), and it had to live up to the wild expectations that had built up about what next gen was going to give us.
For people like me, who had been saying for months before that there will be loads of 'next gen' games that look just like last gen games but at higher resolution and/or higher framerate, it looked fine.
 

laynelane

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Nah, we had 6 Japanese staff join our UK office from Japan at my old job, so we could train them up for our Japanese office. They couldnt believe some of the stuff we moan about.

Considering they're coming from a country that has an actual phrase for dying from overworking (Karoshi - overwork death), I can see why the people you worked with might have a different perspective on what's worth complaining about.
 
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Zoro7

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Its like i said numerous times, its problem was that it was the first 'next gen' game shown off (and it isnt really as its cross gen), and it had to live up to the wild expectations that had built up about what next gen was going to give us.
For people like me, who had been saying for months before that there will be loads of 'next gen' games that look just like last gen games but at higher resolution and/or higher framerate, it looked fine.
Thats fine but Id argue that the footage shown last year (in some instances) looked like early Xbox One footage. Which is inexcusable.
 
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Stuart360

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Thats fine but Id argue that the footage shown last year (in some instances) looked like early Xbox One footage. Which is inexcusable.
Well you could argue that all you want, but it doesnt really look like an early XB1 game. It looked way better than Halo 5 imo, and its semi open world, not linear like the old games. It was also reported that it would be running at 4k/60, which these consoles have struggled running some last gen games at already this gen.
And people can post cherry picked comparison pics, or low bitrate screen grabs, but the 4k footage looked fine to me, and about what i expected for what was at that time a launch cross gen game.
 

EDMIX

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Thats fine but Id argue that the footage shown last year (in some instances) looked like early Xbox One footage. Which is inexcusable.

Maybe...

It is after all a XONE game. I don't know if I'd argue its "inexcusable"....well you did say earily XONE, still many need to factor it was suppose to be cross gen..

I agree that as "early XONE" game footage looking, is just too much as the game is as late gen as you can get with a console.
 
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MiguelItUp

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Might as well not even waste any time in such threads then with such logic.

No issues exist in any industries everyone, no one post anything about companies doing such practices cause I mean "day can work any jobz day want" /s
Well, in my experience it's kind of true. If you're unhappy with the work environment, you can leave. It may sound blunt, but there's truth to it.

In the two studios I worked for in the past, when we crunched the majority didn't complain. They had been in the industry for a long time and expected crunch because it's a standard thing in games. Hell, even in software and other industries.

The people that generally made a fuss had never been in the industry before, and just didn't agree with it. They would talk about how awful it was, etc. Then proceed to ask others about how they felt about it to which they'd generally respond saying it sucks, sure, but everything else was awesome. Does that mean the people that didn't fuss about it, loved it? Not necessarily, they just always told themselves crunch would eventually happen so when it did they wouldn't be disappointed or upset. Kind of sad, sure, but that's just been how it's always been.

That being said, crunch can still be handled poorly. It could be better, it could be worse. It's all up to the developer and publisher and how they handle it. It would be great if we hit a point where crunch wasn't a thing in games, but in order to get to that point the entire industry is gonna have to work together to change. Sad part is, with people like Kotick and similar in place, I don't see that ever happening.

I could go on and on about the subject. But it doesn't really matter. I honestly enjoyed a lot of the memories I have from all the times I've crunched in the past. Sure, it was exhausting and taxing both emotionally and physically. But the experience and the payoff was always worth it. The majority felt the same way.
 

Zoro7

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Well you could argue that all you want, but it doesnt really look like an early XB1 game. It looked way better than Halo 5 imo, and its semi open world, not linear like the old games. It was also reported that it would be running at 4k/60, which these consoles have struggled running some last gen games at already this gen.
And people can post cherry picked comparison pics, or low bitrate screen grabs, but the 4k footage looked fine to me, and about what i expected for what was at that time a launch cross gen game.
So then could we compare it to another open world cross gen game like Spiderman Miles Morales? Surely you can see the difference there?
 
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Andodalf

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Jason has been very horny for any dirt on 343 cus he knows it’ll get clicks and headlines.


Dude’s nut when he saw this headline is probably what knocked the Chinese rocket out of geosynchronous orbit
 

Dabaus

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On one hand I can’t Imagine halo infinite living up to its own hype based on everything we’ve seen and heard behind the the scenes. On the other hand I refuse to believe Microsoft won’t make sure it’s a 9/10 production. I feel like the damage has already been done but who knows, maybe a good e3 showing can salvage it. I remain skeptical.
 
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Stuart360

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So then could we compare it to another open world cross gen game like Spiderman Miles Morales? Surely you can see the difference there?
You can compare it to whatever you want, it wont change my view on the reveal footage.
I think it will be very telling to see what rez and framerate the XB1 version runs at when the game comes out.
 
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EDMIX

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Well, in my experience it's kind of true. If you're unhappy with the work environment, you can leave. It may sound blunt, but there's truth to it.

moot.

Can be argued about anything to avoid actually talking about any issues in any industry.

If you are unhappy with the post Miguel, "you can leave". See, I can avoid discussing things too, see... =)
 
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