Halo Infinite's open world used to be far more gigantic

Halo Infinite's campaign launches today, and when players dive in for the first time, they'll be greeted by something that's quite a bit different from what they're used to. Halo Infinite is marketed as a semi-open world game, and as we noted in our review, that's actually a perfect phrase to describe it. However, we're learning today that once upon a time, Halo Infinite's open world was supposed to be much larger than what we're getting later today.

Halo Infinite's open world used to be a lot more massive

Bloomberg's Jason Schreier today published a new profile on Halo Infinite that reveals some fascinating details about the game's development. Of course, we were there for parts of it, as Halo fans undoubtedly remember Microsoft's decision to delay Halo Infinite beyond its original release date alongside the Xbox Series X.

Microsoft made that decision after negative fan reaction to a campaign demo released in July 2020, but to hear Schreier tell the tale, 343 Industries knew the game was in trouble long before that. His information comes from "more than 20 current and former employees," who remain anonymous in the article.

Those sources say that when Halo Infinite was originally conceptualized after Halo 5's release, it was determined that it would have a massive open world where players could do things in any order they wanted. The original plan for Halo Infinite is compared to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in this profile, which indeed suggests a very different game from the one we're ultimately getting.

What changed during Halo Infinite's development?

The sources share several issues with Halo Infinite's development, pointing to old engines with buggy code, disagreements between different groups within the studio, and Microsoft's insistence that the game be out in time for the Xbox Series X's launch date. In the summer of 2019, 343 and Microsoft decided to pare back Halo Infinite's open world significantly, cutting around two-thirds of the content from the game, according to this report.

Of course, that was well before the campaign demo was released and Microsoft was forced to delay, but with the reports from these sources, we now know that Halo Infinite's troubled development stretches back longer than many of us initially thought.

While the open world in Halo Infinite is smaller than it used to be – and certainly smaller than the open world in Breath of the Wild – what's there is still pretty good. You can read our full review of Halo Infinite to learn more about the semi-open world found in the campaign, or you can check to see when Halo Infinite's campaign goes live in your region today.