Halo Infinite multiplayer is fun, but where's the content?

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

The free-to-play Halo Infinite multiplayer experience is here, and its core gameplay mechanics are superb. Many have even declared that Halo Infinite's movement, gunplay, and sandbox are some of the best in the series, and since hundreds of thousands of players are consistently playing the game across the Xbox ecosystem, it's clear that Microsoft and 343 Industries have crafted a shooter that has the potential to dominate the industry and become one of the best Xbox games ever. However, for Halo Infinite to truly succeed in the long term, it needs content variety. And unfortunately, that's one of the things that the game currently lacks.

Halo Infinite launched with three playlists: Quick Play, Ranked Arena, and Big Team Battle (the game's "Bot Bootcamp" training mode doesn't count). Within these playlists, there are six game modes: Slayer, Capture the Flag, Oddball, Strongholds, Stockpile, and Total Control.

Compared to previous Halo games, this is a pitiful amount of content. Where's Team SWAT? What about Team Doubles and Team Snipers? Why doesn't Halo Infinite have staple Halo modes like Infection, King of the Hill, and Juggernaut? The game doesn't even have matchmaking playlists for playing specific game modes, and as a result, many players are forced to play modes they don't enjoy.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The lack of content at launch is baffling, especially since the Halo community vehemently criticized 2015's Halo 5: Guardians for having the exact same problem. Why is a new Halo game shipping with less content than Halo 3 and Halo: Reach had over a decade ago? Why couldn't the developers include creative modes from Halo 4 and Halo 5 that many enjoyed, such as Ricochet, Dominion, and Breakout? Where's Halo's beloved cooperative Firefight PvE mode?

Why does Halo Infinite have significantly less content than Halo games from 10 years ago?

The issue is made worse by the fact that Halo Infinite's Forge mode was delayed further into 2022, preventing fans from using Forge to create maps suitable for Custom Games that would no doubt help ease the pain of Halo Infinite's miniscule content offering. Not only do fans have to deal with barely having any content variety in matchmaking, but they'll also be unable to make their own fun with Forge and Custom Games until late 2022.

Some fans have fairly pointed out that Halo Infinite's multiplayer is technically being considered a beta build until Dec. 8, and that because of that, new playlists and modes may be added to the game when it officially launches. However, according to 343 Industries, that won't be the case; in a blog post, the developers confirmed that the Halo Infinite multiplayer beta launched "with all day-one maps and modes enabled." What we have now is what we'll have on launch day.

Source: Xbox Game Studios (Image credit: Source: Xbox Game Studios)

Notably, during the recent Halo Infinite Fracture: Tenrai event the developers added the Fiesta game mode, only to yank it out of matchmaking once the event concluded. This frustrated countless fans who were excited to finally have another mode to play, and it also got me worried about the future of Halo Infinite's content offerings.

Are the developers intentionally holding back core modes like Fiesta, SWAT, and Infection so they can pass them off as "limited-time experiences"? Are they only offering the bare minimum between events in an attempt to drive up Player Engagement™ whenever the next event rolls around? I understand that free-to-play games live or die based on their ability to keep players coming back over time, but stripping Halo multiplayer down to its bare bones and creating an artificial lack of variety is not an acceptable way to achieve that goal.

Ultimately, it's just frustrating that one of the best-feeling Halo games ever made is suffering because of the fact that it barely has any content at launch. It's simply unacceptable that Microsoft and 343 Industries shipped Halo Infinite in this state, and things need to change sooner rather than later.

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.

  • Hidden outside of the beta?
  • According to 343, no more maps or modes are coming on Dec. 8…as I mentioned in the article…
  • That's crazy. So much is missing. I also totally missed that one paragraph. LoL
  • I still don't see how they release the full game on the 8th and have achievements for game modes that don't even exist. These achievements could have easily been in a title update when these modes were added later. I am choosing to believe that they aren't releasing an incompletable game and will add modes.
  • Thus far, they already introduced Fiesta as a temporary mode for the Tenrai challenge. They'll probably be looking at similar events that temporarily add modes, while keeping the core ones unchanged.
  • Yeah, that's probably going to be the case unfortunately. It just seems wrong for them to release a game without the ability to complete the achievement list (like the game is incomplete). At this point I just hope they at least give options for picking game styles. I would love to get some FFA matches too. Team play is great, but I used to love battling everyone.
  • The very obvious answer is that they need more time. They delayed the game by over 1 year because of the negative feedback last year as it was supposed to be a launch title with the Series X. The problem is that they still need more time, but I think MS and fanbase are not patient, and thus the game is being release in pieces. Some 'free multiplayer'. Next will be the campaign, next will be coop campaign and Forge, then will be more maps, more game modes (I miss both Warzones), etc. Basically the 'complete' game probably needed at least 6-8 more months, but likely 1 year, but I think the higher ups did not want to wait till Sept 2022 (Halo day).
  • I think it's more malicious than that. Everyone asks what the issue is with battle passes and cosmetic unlocks. The issue is that this is what happens. 343 appears to have based the entire multiplayer around the challenge system. The limited modes play into that and it appears as though they'll be using modes that used to be mainstays as limited time events. It's all pretty ridiculous.
  • If that's true, it's pretty ridiculous. You say they delayed it by over a year, but the initial 2020 release was 2 years longer than any other main series Halo title got. The time from Halo 5 to Infinite is double what any of its predecessors got, and 343 didn't even have the task of releasing new titles like Bungie was doing with its 3-year cycle (like with ODST). Even with this crappy launch, they're saying it's 6 months before we get co-op and 9 before we get Forge. So, it'll probably be a full year before this game is where you'd define it as finished in the supposed time frame of 6-8 months.
  • They did create a new engine (Slipspace) which would have added a couple of years at least.
  • Slipspace was a modified version of the engine they already had. It's more marketable to say its completely new though.
  • Isn't it going to have seasons or such, and they need to spread out the content drops over time...?
  • That stuff should be NEW content, not things Halo games have had for 10 years and counting
  • Totally agree. Where is the FFA Slayer?
  • You can't have a game series that always thrived on COMMUNITY and COMMUNITY INTERACTION and not have the baseline features to encourage it. The design of infinite is very cynical even compared to halo 4 & 5. If they wanted a big mode to advertise 6 months to a few years later, why not invasion or the 'war' mode that bungie, 343 and the fans have been interested in seeing done?
  • I thought its 26 maps
  • Just need a dedicated Slayer playlist. Crazy that's not a thing yet!
  • The game obviously wasnt ready. Half of it wont come until later next year..
  • This really irks me, every time I tried to get any kind of discussion going about the worrying trend of unfinished features and outright missing things conveniently held back to 6 months post release (as if in line with it being a live service) I would get a lot of personal attacks in Halo community groups. Halo was something I loved, but all I see now is a brand with all the heart and soul removed.
  • Is your caps lock key in Beta?
  • Final release my friend.....
  • AAA games arent indie early access games.
  • I absolutely hate playing power seeds. It's so tedious and boring.
    Also needs more maps. Maybe bring back some classics. The current maps are ok but nothing memorable.
  • Bean counters at play here. It's the only thing that makes any sense. But what's truly galling is the lack of transparency if they needed more time. Just come out and say it. But if Halo is going to be stripped down to bones and players given scraps here and there. Then this is where this Halo fan gets off the train. I was looking forward to the co-op campaign as finally the first time in years I actually have time to play something after work. As opposed to a gruelling slog against a crappy system with a backdrop of incompetent upper management.
  • It's a free to play game, and they can choose how to release it and how to monetize it. Get over it.
  • Have Halo infinite for Xmas is really a chance.
    Play have no limits.