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Opinion Halo Infinite: The Problem Was Never XBO, It Was 343i. Let Me Explain.

What do YOU think has been the biggest hindrance to 343i getting Halo Infinite into polished state?

  • Xbox One cross-gen support

    Votes: 23 11.1%
  • Lack of 343i programmer/artist/creative talent/synergy

    Votes: 39 18.8%
  • Lack of 343i upper management talent/synergy

    Votes: 76 36.7%
  • COVID-19 (and work-from-home)

    Votes: 5 2.4%
  • (By Popular Demand) All of the above

    Votes: 64 30.9%

  • Total voters
    207
  • Poll closed .
Aug 28, 2019
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So MS may finally be dropping XBO support for Halo Infinite and, honestly, it's for the best. But not for the reason some people keep thinking it is. Folks seem to be thinking the XBO itself was the anchor or "bottleneck" in the pipeline, but let's consider some of these other cross-gen games launching relatively soon that look MUCH better than Halo Infinite despite needing to similarly support soon-to-be legacy hardware:

The Avengers:





Batman: Gotham Knights:









DiRT 5:







Kena:





The Gunk:





These are titles off the top of my head which are cross-gen and not only look better on next-gen hardware than Halo Infinite, but even look better on current-gen hardware than Halo Infinite. This is why I say people blaming XBO for holding the game back are scapegoating; current-gen was never the issue. The painful truth is, 343i themselves are the reason Halo Infinite is in its current state. How do you squander 5 years, $500 million (granted, not all of that for the game itself, a lot is for marketing and also for future content creation I guess), AND need other 1st-party teams to take time away from their games to help you out with yours...and then somehow the idea among gamers is that the console itself was the problem?

No, it's pretty clear other developers, 3rd-party developers at that, who have less budget for their offerings and less resources, are still able to create better-looking and performing games (let alone betas, demos, vertical slices you name it) than 343i has managed with Halo Infinite. Better-looking and performing games both in the sense of their next-gen versions, AND their current-gen offerings. Cancelling the XBO version of HI only wipes maybe a speck or two of egg off 343i's face, because the actual issues run much deeper.

So just how deep? The creative team of programmers, artists, etc? No, I don't think so. 343i's made some visually great Halos on the XBO, particularly 4 and 5. They may not be the best lookers to a lot of people, but they definitely look better than Infinite (and yes I also know those weren't trying to be open-world, but that isn't much an excuse either). With the recent reports on their Halo TV stuff in a state of purgatory (among other things), it's pretty clear the problem for Halo Infinite's current situation isn't the XBO, but 343i's wonky, rotten upper management. The fact they let lead designers walk out midway through development...a studio whose management has their 'ish together wouldn't let that happen!

Hopefully people keep this in mind as we see how Halo Infinite's development shapes out. I'm not saying dropping the XBO version does the game no favors, it definitely does. It also benefits MS from a marketing POV in shifting customers towards their next-gen console offerings. But we should also understand that it's a very specific situation applicable mainly to 343i, as we don't see next-gen versions of other big or small games being held back by current-gen hardware like the XBO (or PS4) to anywhere near the detriment it seems to be affecting HI. Games like Cyberpunk for example, CDPR have outright said the current-gen systems are a bit of a hamstring, yet the latest footage has been perhaps the most visually impressive gameplay for it yet. If you want to expand this to open-world games, then we can look at stuff like Red Dead Redemption 2 (not cross-gen, but similarly big-budget and AAA like HI) or being really peculiar, Destiny 2, which is ALSO getting next-gen editions (though if that means graphics boost I don't know), yet still looking much better than HI, even on current-gen hardware. And that example is particularly damning knowing who makes the game and their connection to the legacy of Halo.

So I hope the XBO version is indeed being cancelled, but it's not the only change that needs to happen in order to ensure Halo Infinite lives up to expectations. 343i needs to seriously reorganize their upper management and get their priorities in order. Streamline the pipeline and structural flow in their studio, and develop a good chain of workflow for work-at-home scenarios like so much of the industry is currently dealing with. With the resources and suppor they've had over the past five years, there is no excuse for smaller indie (even if they're AA) games to have better looking & performing next AND current-gen versions than MS's marquee AAA offering, certainly no excuse that simply boils down to "the XBO was the problem".
 

Warnen

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I can only add that Marvel runs like hot trash on base Xbox and PS4. Maybe Xbox don’t want that kind of performance on there flag ship game.
 
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Graciaus

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343 is trash and ruined Halo. Delaying the game to fix up the graphics isn't going to change the gameplay. Fully expect another miss in the campaign and multi.
 
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NoLootBoxDev

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Let's be honest the problem is almost everything (the COVID is an excuse for me, you can work better from home). Place the blame on who deserves it, and that is management. They are the ones who hire, guide the team, make the decisions. If someone was not doing well, and they did not do anything to make it better, place the blame on them, not the lower guy who follows orders.

You can say "but they are the ones that could not make things right, art, programming, sound and such". Well if they are not up to the task, then is also a problem of the management for not getting the right people. Giving training, better tools, time to improve, make a meeting to know how to improve things, it is their fault too. I am tired that the lower guys get the blame for bad management.
 

Arun1910

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343 are bad Developers and this shows it. To run the demo build on a PC is a red flag considering it WAS supposed to launch in 3 months time.
 
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Kuranghi

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I hate that someone oversaturated the colours when taking the screengrab from the video, thats not what it looks like. Its got a way better palette in reality. It could be the compression shifting the colours but I don't think it would be that "bad".

Not your fault OP but I wanted to point it out because I fucking hate this practice. I'm not a literal toddler lol I don't need insanely saturated colours to grab my attention. For reference the video my 2 year old nephew was watching at mine the other day:

 

Neo_game

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The are many current gen shooters that looked better than Halo and many factors. But that does not mean that the next gen console will not be compromised by corss gen games.
 
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Stilton Disco

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It's a combination of the first 3.

Crossgen wouldn't be a problem if they were competent developers, and they would have hired competent developers if their management weren't utter fucking retards.

Going one further, the Studio wouldn't be filled top to bottom with talentless wankers, if Phil Spencer and the rest of Xbox management were good at their jobs.
 
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LeftThumbstick

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Only people to blame are management. They control the “vision” of the games and make the final decisions. I’m not sure how much say Phil has in the individual studios but seeing as he’s head honcho that he could pull the plug on any first party title if he felt it necessary.

That said, it’s on him, and the head of 343i alone. They have the full decision making power and allowed it to become what it is... a giant mess.
 

Vaelka

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I'd take Avengers and Gotham Knights more seriously as examples if they had good performance.
Both of them are poorly optimized, Gotham Knights ran at like 5 FPS at numerous points and at most times ran at what looked like bellow 30 FPS.

I don't care if it looks better than Infinite, that's unacceptable tbh.
 

SimpleKindofMan

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Jul 3, 2020
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It's difficult to imagine who DIDN'T drop the ball on this. Just two years ago, it looked like the Xbox launch would be loaded. Halo 6 would be in development for 5 years at launch at a studio that had been in operation for 13 years. What could go wrong?

Who was in charge of reporting progress up to Phil Spencer? He had to have been meeting with 343s management considering their budget and the importance of the franchise. This was a huge missed opportunity. I have to think he was either misled or is a fool (betting on misled but time will tell). Could also be both...

It's the same upper management group at 343 since 2007. Bonnie Ross, Frank O'Connor, Kiki Wolfkill. O'Connor has been on Resetera all day every day (over 20,000 posts in two years...) until banned for being a racist. Over twenty thousand posts. Halo Franchise Development Director. 20,000 posts in two years... Still can't believe that group got control of the crown jewel of Xbox. And kept control through 13 years of failure.
 

anothertech

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I wanted to choose all of those lol.

But Xbone Jaguar 720p support is absolutely a factor, while the rest is as well.
 
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Aug 28, 2019
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Let's be honest the problem is almost everything (the COVID is an excuse for me, you can work better from home). Place the blame on who deserves it, and that is management. They are the ones who hire, guide the team, make the decisions. If someone was not doing well, and they did not do anything to make it better, place the blame on them, not the lower guy who follows orders.

You can say "but they are the ones that could not make things right, art, programming, sound and such". Well if they are not up to the task, then is also a problem of the management for not getting the right people. Giving training, better tools, time to improve, make a meeting to know how to improve things, it is their fault too. I am tired that the lower guys get the blame for bad management.

One of those 343i employee reviews actually said something about the tools "breaking" on an almost daily basis when updates were being done. Essentially rendering full days' worth of work useless. I couldn't be that person, I'd be infuriated and heated beyond relief knowing hours were wasted because of another person's screw-up.

And you're right, the "lower guy" shouldn't get the blame, they are just following their job. A lot of time they may have ideas they'd to do but they literally can't because of upper management. In this way I thing 343i and Sonic Team are remarkably similar; they have a lot of talent there but they are hamstrung by terrible upper management and corporate deadlines that impede their ability to coordinate, focus, and operate at their 100%.

EDIT: Also since a lot of y'all sonsofguns keep asking, I added an All of the Above option to the poll xD.

Can I select all 4 options ?

You kinda can now; new 5th option covers the other 4 options.
 
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LordCBH

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The answer is all of the above, but 343 themselves deserve to take like 80% of the blame, with cross gen taking the other 20%.
 

HE1NZ

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The problem is judging the video instead of playing the game. That's it. Another dumb thread. They showed real gameplay and maybe it was a mistake. People are too gullible and would prefer a CGI video like Horizon 2.
 
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We don’t know enough to know what the problem is, but we do know that it wasn’t that the Xbox one is “holding back” the series X version because it is an Xbox one game and there is no series x version.

This is the part that irritates me, because only a few weeks ago there was the whole Halo Infinite "Optimized for Series X" stuff going around and I genuinely thought the Series X was the base and it was being downported to XBO. Welp, that blew up in my face.

But even with that reality I don't think XBO is the issue here, we've been had plenty of visually stunning games on the system from 1st and 3rd-party devs for years now, even with some of these upcoming cross-gen games. The problem has to lie elsewhere.

Where is the MS option? Or are they devoid of blame?

Well I mean, 343i is under MS's management so I figure it would fall under them anyway. I do see some people specifically calling out Phil Spencer, I'm not sure how much a role he has in day-to-day overseeing of the studios though. In fact IIRC that's more Matt Booty's thing.

It's a combination of the first 3.

Crossgen wouldn't be a problem if they were competent developers, and they would have hired competent developers if their management weren't utter fucking retards.

Going one further, the Studio wouldn't be filled top to bottom with talentless wankers, if Phil Spencer and the rest of Xbox management were good at their jobs.

Generally where I'm at with it, but with some differences here and there. I think the actual programmers, artists, level designers etc. at 343i are quite talented, they have shown they can create great stuff with previous Halo games, both visually and in terms of gameplay. But at the end of the day they will always be hamstrung by upper management in what makes the cut vs. what doesn't, and even what they are allowed to do in the first place.

All the same, I don't know how much Phil is involved in overseeing daily operations at 343i. I think it's a bit too harsh to use 343i as a case study for all of their other 1st party studios because other studios like Coalition, Playground, Turn 10 etc. have consistently delivered great results. Rare (eventually) delivered great results with SoT, then you have new studios there with great pedigrees like Ninja Theory and Obsidian, etc.

Taking all that into account really makes 343i stick out. It's honestly not a stretch to call them Microsoft's Sonic Team, but I don't think even Sonic Team has ever had a public demo for a game generate backlash against them the way HI's demo has for 343i. Plus at least it seems Sonic Team are actually taking their time for a change, I guess it only makes sense that 343i are doing similar (yeah they had 5 years already but still...).

The problem is judging the video instead of playing the game. That's it. Another dumb thread. They showed real gameplay and maybe it was a mistake. People are too gullible and would prefer a CGI video like Horizon 2.

But I've literally posted gameplay pics from five similar cross-gen games that look better and were better received in due part to better visual performance, right in the OP?

I actually like the fact MS had a few minutes of legit gameplay for Halo Infinite, but they needed it to have more visual punch than it did. That's just the reality of it, especially since it was at a showcase for their 1st-party (and as many of us were led to think, for Series X gameplay after the May show didn't quite go that way in terms of a lot of actual gameplay).

If you think people only want obvious CGI you should probably see some of the mixed reactions to Suicide Squad game reveal in large part because it was nothing but CGI and no gameplay. These next-gen systems are only three months from launch, people want to see more actual legit gameplay than anything else.

Xaero Gravity Xaero Gravity That's the current rumor. There's another thread talking about it, should be on the front page near the top I imagine.
 
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Kerotan

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All of the above including MS who initially forced them to make this years deadline and show off the game when it looked trash.

I've watched the god of war documentary twice and that game was made for ps4 only. They had to bust their balls and put every single ounce of effort into making it good and even then it was delayed close to launch.

Now imagine that team had to direct resources into a last gen version and a pc version at the same time. Also considering the weaker console when designing the game.

Of course it wouldn't have been as good and they'd definitely have need a much bigger delay. This is why games announced as ps5 exclusives are not a bad thing. Ultimately they'll be better games when they launch.
 

HE1NZ

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But I've literally posted gameplay pics from five similar cross-gen games that look better and were better received in due part to better visual performance, right in the OP?

I actually like the fact MS had a few minutes of legit gameplay for Halo Infinite, but they needed it to have more visual punch than it did. That's just the reality of it, especially since it was at a showcase for their 1st-party (and as many of us were led to think, for Series X gameplay after the May show didn't quite go that way in terms of a lot of actual gameplay).

If you think people only want obvious CGI you should probably see some of the mixed reactions to Suicide Squad game reveal in large part because it was nothing but CGI and no gameplay. These next-gen systems are only three months from launch, people want to see more actual legit gameplay than anything else.
You don't if any of these other next gen games are showing real gameplay or just targer renders like Watch Dogs and Witcher 3 did back in the day. When they launched and didn't look like that people claimed DOWNGRADE. But it wasn't really, it's just gameplay assets that are assembled into a gameplay video, but not rendered in engine.

Until you see journalists record their own gameplay you don't know if any of this is real. You're supposed to see flaws in prerelease games especially on unreleased hardware. Halo demo had them. It's going to look at least that good at launch (better in fact).
 

Come On Tars

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I’ve been thinking how much damage 343 has done singlehandedly to the Xbox brand. It’s amazing. At best it’s a huge lost opportunity cost where Halo could be at if bungee were still at the helm.
 

Esca

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is 343. There is something wrong with this studio. If they were a solo dev, they would be closed up by now from their previous releases
 

Dibils2k

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one big thing you might be missing (didnt read all your post but the games you compared to) is that infinite has to be 60fps... thats an enormous factor and something none of the games you mentioned target, some cant even hold 30

we have never had a open world game at 60fos this gen, this is the cost
 
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Xbox One cross-gen support
It was for sure not 343i´s decision, but someone else´s. Not sure, why said person is not getting more flack for it.

- no launch title
- potentially 2022 release
 

01011001

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343i HAS TO GO... SHUT THEM THE FUCK DOWN! let The Initiative or Coalition handle Halo, they literally can't do a worse job than what 343i did the last decade of trying to make their first good Halo game.