Halo Infinite launching without co-op and Forge is a huge disappointment

Halo Infinite
Halo Infinite (Image credit: 343 Industries)

In a surprise developer update video, 343 Industries delivered some bad news to fans: Halo Infinite won't have campaign co-op or the series' beloved Forge map editing and creation tool at launch this holiday season. Additionally, neither feature will be added for several months. Specifically, co-op campaign isn't being implemented until three months after Halo Infinite's release in Season 2, and fans won't have access to Forge mode until six months post-launch in Season 3.

As someone who considers both co-op and Forge to be core parts of the Halo experience, this news left me feeling incredibly disappointed. And while I still ultimately believe that Halo Infinite will be an excellent game, these feature delays definitely don't reflect well on the franchise as a whole — especially since the Halo community has already had to deal with a game launching without core features once before with Halo 5: Guardians.

Co-op is an integral part of the campaign experience

Source: Bungie (Image credit: Source: Bungie)

Engaging with Halo's sandbox in co-op is a blast, and I hate that I'll have to wait to do so in Halo Infinite.

Ever since the launch of Halo: Combat Evolved in 2001, cooperative play has been an integral part of Halo's campaign experience. Both local splitscreen play and online co-op have always been fan-favorite avenues for enjoying Halo's sandbox-driven gameplay, and the reason why is because working with a buddy to combo various weapons, vehicles, and pieces of equipment together against AI enemies is a blast. Halo's sandbox is a ton of fun to engage with by yourself, but when you throw your friends into the mix, there's endless potential for enjoyable and creative gameplay.

You can sometimes even discover funny exploits that only work with multiple players, too; one of my fondest Halo memories is working with my friend to "fly" a dumpster prop onto a Covenant Scarab using a jump-spamming glitch.

Even though I wholeheartedly believe that Halo Infinite will be a great game to play solo, many are said they have to wait a full three months to be able to enjoy it with friends. Co-op campaign is something every Halo game has had at launch (even Halo 5 had it available online, though it lacked local splitscreen), and I expect that the lack of co-op will make a lot of fans hesitate to get the game when it releases.

Given that fans have already had to wait an entire extra year for Halo Infinite to come out, the fact they have to wait three months longer for one of Halo's most basic and beloved features is unacceptable.

Forge is crucial for the success of custom games

Source: Bungie (Image credit: Source: Bungie)

The six-month delay of Halo's Forge map editor is a massive bummer, too, and it also potentially threatens the health of Halo's multiplayer custom games scene. A Halo game's custom games community ultimately lives or dies based on whether or not Forge is available. With it, fans can build creative maps that fit classic community-made game modes like Duck Hunt perfectly, or even make entirely new game modes such as Halo 5's Flapjack Frenzy. Without it, players will be forced to try and make the game's stock maps work with custom games, which usually leads to a mediocre experience.

It wouldn't be that bad if Forge was coming soon after launch, but the fact that 343 Industries is delaying its arrival by a full six months is troublesome. This means that the custom games community basically won't exist for half of Halo Infinite's first year, which is terrible for the health of the game. Halo Infinite is supposed to be a live service game that entices people to keep playing over time, so the decision to launch the game without the Forge mode that kept people playing Halo 3, Halo: Reach, Halo 4, and Halo 5 for years is baffling.

This is not a good look for Halo

Source: Electronic Arts Halo Infinite is going up against Battlefield 2042 and Call of Duty: Vanguard this holiday. (Image credit: Source: Electronic Arts)

Halo Infinite needs all the help it can get, and these delays aren't helping at all.

Finally, these delays reflect very poorly on Microsoft and 343 Industries, especially since many fans are already skeptical of the game's quality due to the disappointing gameplay debut in 2020 and the subsequent delay into 2021. Considering Halo hasn't been seriously relevant for close to a decade and both Battlefield 2042 and Call of Duty: Vanguard look poised to attract countless players with advanced features like the Portal mode that revives classic Battlefield maps, the last thing Halo Infinite needs to do is offer less to its players. Competition in the first-person shooter space is extremely fierce, and if Halo isn't able to keep up, the franchise will struggle to claw its way back into relevance.

It's true that Halo Infinite will likely perform well despite these delays. After all, it's one of the only big games coming out on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S soon, and based on what fans thought of the first Halo Infinite beta test, I expect the game's multiplayer will be received positively. For Halo to truly challenge juggernauts like Battlefield and Call of Duty, however, the game needs to fire on all cylinders. I sincerely hope that these are the only content delays that the game will have, because if Microsoft and 343 Industries announce more, I'll be very worried for Halo Infinite's future.

Your thoughts

What do you think? Do you agree with me that the lack of co-op and Forge is incredibly disappointing, or do you think it's not that big of a deal? Let me know.

For more on Halo Infinite, don't miss our coverage of the Halo Infinite beta schedule. Also, check out our guide to Halo Infinite preorders if you're looking to get your copy of the game ahead of its Holiday 2021 launch (keep in mind that the multiplayer will be a standalone free-to-play experience). Ultimately, we're hoping that Halo Infinite ends up being one of the best Xbox games ever, and we can't to get our hands on the game when it launches.

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.

  • I had a whole thing planned with friends for the launch of Halo Infinite. Already Planned in our free days, food and drinks and just no-life the Campaign. This absolutely s*cks.
  • Indeed. I had plans in my own mind as well.
  • Lol I'm crying 🤣😂
  • Did not expect that one😄
  • Yeah they should really delay the game till they have coop. That is a corner stone of the halo games
  • The already delayed it a whole year....
  • My brother was on board to play halo with me for the first time since Halo 3, when he stopped playing it alltogether. Even bought a series x for it.
  • Terribly disappointing, and ominous in it's echos of other half-finished game releases driven by the corporate bean-counters who want to ca$h in on the Holiday Sales window. The "Ship it NOW. Fix it later" attitude is really, REALLY bad optics for a delayed, tent-pole IP like Halo.
    343 has really dropped the ball on this one. Almost NOBODY buys Halo to play the single-player game. Co-Op and PvP is what draws in the masses, and Forge keeps them there. I would rather have seen it the other way around: Launch with Co-Op and Forge, and release the single-player campaign in six months (hey, it's been done before, successfully.)
  • I play Halo for the single player. Speak for yourself. Coop is great, but people are seriously reaching for this, including yourself.
  • Based on many online serveys it's about 50/50 for single player vs multiplayer.
  • Remember, multiplayer is free for Halo Infinite. The part they're charging $60 for is the campaign and Forge, the stuff they're not bothering to finish at launch. If you were planning to play co-op, why bother paying for this game at launch when it'll most certainly hit $30-40 for the stuff you want? 6 years to make this game, more than any of its predecessors, and this is what they bring us. If there isn't a Series X LE console for this, I'll probably just play it on Game Pass and not bother with the CE/LE purchases I've made in the past. Kind of pathetic they sold us on bringing back co-op years ago, only to tell us they didn't finish it in that extra year of development time.
  • I totally agree. This is completely unacceptable for a $60 game. Because the MP is F2P that half the game should have always been $40 in my eyes, but to not have them FULLY FUNCTIONAL and still charge full price? Insane.
  • So all those games that Sony makes that are $60+ and have no co-op and never have any MP aren't worth it either? Or is it just Halo? All I see is a bunch flopping on the floor and whining like a three-year-old.
  • Are you serious? There is a whole half of the game that is free to play now and they are the charging the same price. This is NOT the same thing as a Sony SP experience. That's fine to charge the price, but at least have everything working when you release the product.
  • You're getting Co-Op and Forge regardless right? It's just not coming out at launch, and you aren't paying extra for it, OR if you have game pass, you aren't paying extra for anything including the game, who cares? If it bothers you, wait the 3 months or so and just buy the game when the features you want are there. Problem solved
  • Game pass by passes that as far as im concerned halo infine campaign is going to cost me £10.99 on game pass i can live with that and when co op is finally released probably be able to get the game alot cheaper
  • Game Pass shouldn't excuse releasing broken games or sub-par titles. We need to stop using this as an excuse. It worked with Crackdown 3, but that was then and this is now.
  • I don't understand how you had a YEAR and don't have a CO-OP Campaign. I know you essentially rebuilt the entire graphics engine but this feels like a huge oversight and should not be acceptable.
  • Excuse = world wide pandemic. Stop whining like an entitled American.
  • Wow, that almost stings considering the crap we are dealing with just concerning keeping masks in schools right now. Sounds like an excuse to me alright. I understand there is a freaking pandemic, but at the same time you just promised a full campaign releasing at the same time as the MP. You shouldn't have set a goal you couldn't achieve. This reeks of mismanagement and not just lack of resources. You go ahead and fall on your sword for your plastic, I will call out when I dislike something on my favorite plastic. They had a year, this should be called out. Remember that this game was 'ready' for release last year, so this almost seems planned. If that is the case then they deserve everything they get on it.
  • You are completely delusional and lack any concept of reality. I recommend you seek immediate psychological help.
  • LOL! Sure thing buddy. I can't believe that is your response, but considering the original response, I guess I shouldn't have expected anything less.
  • Simple fix. Launch F2P multiplayer holiday 2021. Launch campaign early 2022 (when coop is finished). Then launch Forge 3 months later. My excitement for the game is already in the toilet, another delay isn't going to hurt my feelings.
  • This would have been a better strategy imo.
  • This is looking at the glass half empty, especially since it's mentioned they said they will come.
  • Massively disappointed. My brother and I have always done the campaigns in co-op on release ever since Halo 1, and this leaves us with the choice of playing singleplayer (big no for us) or doing the spoiler ridden wait until co-op comes out, and it's going to be the latter. My expectations for my favourite franchise are just getting lower and lower.
  • Wow. This just plain sucks. Ive played coop day one on them. This will be the first Halo game i wont pickup day one then perhaps. Forge can come later... But coop? 343 has seriously dropped the ball on this one
  • Excuse = world wide pandemic. Stop whining like an entitled American.
  • Dont care i just want to get my hands on the campaign didnt bother much with forge as for co-op i can wait....Bring it on😁
  • Eh, I reiterate from before, Halo Infinite is becoming a dumpster fire and it's only getting worse. They copped how much flack for the couch co-op removal from Halo 5? Surely common sense would tell them that not providing it on launch again would probably be a bad thing. But they don't actually need to care about this, it's getting released into Game Pass so people are going to play it anyway so it's going to have the pickup numbers they want. It's not like it's an extra cost for anyone in the service.
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  • This is true, but we shouldn't use GP as am excuse. They are charging $60 for this, it should be feature complete for the half the game you pay for.
  • Oh I agree, I'm not saying Game Pass is an excuse, but what's going to happen is that because it's in Game Pass people are going to play it, so the player numbers are going to be high regardless so it'll still look like a success. But I agree with you, they have had plenty of time to get the game together, and the pandemic can't be blamed any more, it's been 18 months that is more than enough time for a business to be able to work around the pandemic. Especially a business that is run almost exclusively in the digital workplace.
  • That's a shame but I don't mind at all. I always played the campaign solo first, and I've never been a fan of Forge, except for trying the maps, but now we have bots so it's even better. I'm still buying the limited edition if there's one.
  • Yes i was always the same i always played the campaign on my own and i have played them all. Because i wanted to enjoy the story and take it all in so personally i dont know why people are getting upset over this co-op was always an afterthought in the campaign. To me the fun started when you got into multiplayer player which truthfully i lost interest after halo 2
  • They should just delay the game..
  • Yes, give it another year, why not?,🙄
  • Yeah, why not?
  • It's this simple: Don't buy the game. Don't give devs or MS money, because they keep doing this anyway despite backlash. Not supporting them sort of teaches an indirect lesson.. Watch dogs was the same way. Released broken and iirc was done despite knowing issues- then they panicked to patch it up. A game with such potential to be huge, now seems to have no real following because of launch failures. I've not played 2 or 3 bc of their ****
  • Got to push people into the the multiplayer quicker I guess.
  • Don't think so, if that was the strategy it would be better to delay the campaign all together with 3 months instead of co-op only.
  • Yeah, i'm disappointed. However, I'm also being realistic sure the game has issued to be resolved. People have forgotten that the pandemic is ongoing which makes last leg testing as it was done previously practically impossible. Especially since the US infrastructure in terms internet connectivity is pretty subpar. At this point, 343 is better off just delaying the whole thing for another 6 months. Dealing with grumbling is better than being annihilated in the press for an unfinished product launch.
  • Lol, the answer is so simple! Can't believe nobody thought of it! Ok hear me out: Just have different "release dates"! So for example, when ya order at Amazon, during checkout, it asks ya a question whether ya primarily play it (a) solo/MP, or (b) co-op, or (c) with Forge If ya answer (a), Amazon gives ya a Fall 2021 release date. If ya answer (b), Amazon gives ya a Winter 2022 release date. If ya answer (c), Amazon gives ya a Spring 2022 release date. It's just like doing preorders! But with different release dates! So as far as you're concerned, one of those is THE release date for you. Just try to avoid spoilers in the meantime if (b) or (c). Lol