Former Halo Infinite dev talks cut content, crunch, and more [Update]

Halo Infinite Master Chief
Halo Infinite Master Chief (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Update May 8, 2021: Lin has posted a follow up video that clarifies that everything discussed in the first video is solely his own opinion, that fans shouldn't expect an "epoch-making masterpiece" because people often overhype big AAA games to the point where they'll never meet the increasingly lofty expectations, and that employees working heavy overtime ("crunching") is by choice and is not required by 343 Industries. Our original story follows below.

What you need to know

  • A former 343 Industries skybox artist Eric Lin has shared some perspective on the development of Halo Infinite in a public video posted to Bilibili.
  • Lin commented on several topics related to the game's development, including his belief that Halo Infinite will be great but not an "epoch-making masterpiece," his belief that the game's executives were overambitious, the revelation that some of the game's original concepts and content has been cut for the final release, and more.
  • Notably, Lin's statements also suggest that 343 Industries' staff have experienced (or are experiencing) crunch as they develop Halo Infinite.

In a new video released on the Chinese video sharing website Bilibili, former 343 Industries skybox artist Eric Lin provided the gaming community with some interesting new information regarding the development of Halo Infinite, the next mainline entry in the Halo series that's expected to release in Fall 2021. The video is in Mandarin, but thankfully, it has been translated (if it's determined that there are translation errors, we will update this article).

Lin's overall feeling on Halo Infinite is that "the finished product will still be great," noting that massive improvements have been made to both the story and the gameplay. However, he comments that players shouldn't expect an "epoch-making masterpiece." He then expands on this by lamenting that "the company's executives were overambitious" and that because of the game's semi-open world focus, the game and the engine had to be worked on at the same time, resulting in a rocky development process. Lin also notes that the reason the official Halo Infinite gameplay premiere in 2020 was so underwhelming is because many features of Halo Infinite's Slipspace Engine "were not fully implemented at that time."

Source: 343 Industries (Image credit: Source: 343 Industries)

Lin then talked about how some of the concepts and content that were originally part of Halo Infinite have been cut during development. "This has led to some things I've made over the years that no one will probably ever see," he said. Following this, Lin revealed that many 343 Industries employees — low-level ones in particular — have "experienced working overtime until the early hours of the morning in the past few years." This indicates that 343 Industries' staff have experienced or are currently experiencing crunch, at least in a partial capacity.

Overall, it's disheartening to hear that 343 Industries and its developers have had issues working with the Slipspace Engine and that crunch has impacted the studio. That being said, it's good to hear that Lin thinks Halo Infinite will still be a great game, albeit not a masterpiece. It's also important to keep in mind that this is only one developer's perspective as well; some other current or former 343 Industries employees may come forward with perspectives of their own in the future.

Halo Infinite is expected to launch in Fall 2021 (potentially in late November according to a voice actor's account) on the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows 10 PCs. The full game's price is $60 according to a Best Buy preorder.

We highly recommend checking out the Master Chief Collection while you wait for Halo Infinite, as it bundles all of the pre-Xbox One Halo shooters together for an excellent price. This makes it one of the best Xbox One shooters available, and a game that you definitely shouldn't miss if you're looking to play some Halo while waiting for Infinite.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.