Say goodbye to Halo Infinite's seasonal story cutscenes

Halo Infinite
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • Several of Halo Infinite's live service seasons have featured cinematic cutscenes and a unique story that ties into the game's multiplayer offerings.
  • 343 Industries' Community Director Brian "Ske7ch" Jarrard has announced that due to "refined our top priorities" and "shifted resources," the studio is foregoing the creation of new seasonal cutscenes.
  • The decision was made "to make room for the team to continue focusing on highly requested features, content, and improvements for Halo Infinite."
  • This news came just before the launch of Halo Infinite Season 4 on June 20, which includes the introduction of the classic Infection game mode, new maps and sandbox items, a new Battle Pass, and more.

Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries has announced that going forward, the game's live service multiplayer seasons will no longer be accompanied by story-driven narrative cutscenes.

"As we've refined our top priorities and shifted resources internally this year, we had to make the decision to forego seasonal narrative cutscenes to make room for the team to continue focusing on highly requested features, content, and improvements for Halo Infinite," wrote 343 Community Director Brian "Ske7ch" Jarrard on Twitter. "These trade-offs are never easy to make, and we truly appreciate your support as the team works to make Halo Infinite the best experience possible."

"While the job is far from over, Season 4 marks another big step forward and we remain committed to this journey with the Halo community," Jarrard concluded.

The news came on the evening before the launch of Halo Infinite Season 4: Infection on June 20, which adds the fan-favorite game mode Infection to the game's multiplayer offerings and also features two new maps, two new sandbox items, and a new Battle Pass.

Season 2 and Season 3 of Halo Infinite included multiple cutscenes set at the Avery J. Johnson Academy of Military Science, in which players were introduced to Spartan Sigrid Eklund and her squadmate Spartan Hieu Dinh after they returned from a raid on a Banished facility. Dinh trapped a Banished AI named Iratus in his armor's neural interface, and by participating in the Last Spartan Standing game mode, players helped trick Iratus into leaving Dinh's interface and entering a server where he, along with the intel he possessed, was contained. However, Iratus was able to take over a secret ONI facility under the academy, including a suit of Spartan armor there. 

Notably, this is the in-universe explanation for Infection, as Iratus is trying to kill Spartans at the academy and take control of their armor so he can grow stronger. This is why the "zombies" in Halo Infinite's version of the mode bear Iratus' holographic markings.

Ultimately, it's very sad to see 343 cut development of new cutscenes. Even though prioritizing the creation of new gameplay experiences is absolutely the right call, Infinite's seasonal cinematics helped ground its multiplayer in the Halo universe and provided some very interesting context. Season 3: Echoes Within in particular had cinematics that I'd say are on par with Destiny 2's in terms of quality, so it's a shame to see them get axed right when they were starting to genuinely get good.

Hopefully the developer is able to revisit cinematic cutscenes in the future, or perhaps outsource them to partner studios. A new leak of a Halo Infinite design document shows how 343 has done just that (or planned to), so I'm hopeful.

The Halo Infinite campaign is available with any tier of Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass service, and its multiplayer is free-to-play on both Xbox and Windows PC.

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Halo Infinite

Despite its issues, there's plenty to like about Halo Infinite. The core multiplayer gameplay is enjoyable, and since it's free-to-play, there's no barrier to entry. The campaign is fantastic, as it features an excellent story, fun open world gameplay, and plenty of action-packed levels to play through.

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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.