343 Industries boss Bonnie Ross has revealed why Halo Infinite is taking longer to develop than Halo 4 and Halo 5.
Speaking to USGamer during this month's DICE Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, Ross revealed that in order to release Halo 4 and Halo 5 on time, the studio had to endure considerable periods of crunching to the point that a promise had to be made that it would never happen again. And thus, Halo Infinite will take longer as a result.
"Yeah, with Halo 4, just given the nature of being a brand new team that had not worked on the Halo engine before, we did put the team through a really bad crunch," said Ross when asked what 343 Industries has down to combat crunch and bad work practices. "Obviously we had a ton of feedback that that was not a great thing. And one of the reasons is that the Halo engine is a very technical engine, which means it's a lot harder for artists and designers to get content into the game. So we promised the team that for Halo 5, we would do the work. And we did a ton of work to improve the engine along the way, but we promised them that we would do the work to really create tools and pipeline that was easy to work in so that we could help prevent crunch."
"And we didn't do that for Halo 5. It ended up being a bigger game than we thought it was and we didn't have time. When we shipped Halo 5, it definitely was a point of, I think, crisis with the team. Crisis might be not the right word, but it was a point where the team was like, 'You promised us and we're not doing crunch again.' And they were right.....
"That's why we've taken a bit more time—usually it's three years between every Halo—to really do the investment in the engine and the tools and pipeline, and we're still working on it. But we showed it at E3 last year, and it is basically trying to create an environment that we can build the game better, faster, and ideally, you know, prevent crunch. I think there will always be with any game, I think there will be times where we need to work longer hours. But I think that we need to be really deliberate with that because it's not fair to the team, and the team doesn't want to do it. And so we're trying to work out how do we create the best environment to hopefully mitigate that."
It's good to hear that 343 Industries is no longer succumbing to crunching and is taking its time with Halo Infinite. While this may cost Microsoft more money up front, it should translate to a better product, and thus recoup extra developments costs on the back-end.
Halo Infinite is in development for Xbox One and PC. And according to a new report, it's also in development for the two next-gen Xbox consoles, and will be a launch game for the pair. In other words, it won't release until 2020. But that's all unofficial at this point. Officially, Halo Infinite is in development for Xbox One and PC, and currently doesn't have a release date or even a release window.