Halo Infinite’s multiplayer originally looked a lot like Overwatch

Halo Infinite’s multiplayer was originally prototyped as a hero shooter that included PvP and PvE features, before the idea was scrapped in favor of the game’s current online build.

That’s according to Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier, who confirmed on Reddit that developer 343 Industries was at one point working on multiple prototype builds for Halo Infinite that included hero shooter features.

His comments were made in response to YouTuber Chris Ray Gun, who suggested on Twitter that the studio had originally developed Halo Infinite’s multiplayer to be similar to Overwatch, before pivoting to the build that made its way to the final game.

“This was actually cut from my article late last year - yes, 343 spent a while prototyping a hero-based system,” Schreier said.

“I don't remember exactly when they switched to the current version… but I can confirm that they were working on various hero-based prototypes. In fact, I think there were both PvP and PvE prototypes built.”

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Schreier said Chris Ray Gun’s original tweet, which claims 343 Industries spent half the game’s development time prototyping the hero shooter build before eventually scrapping it, is “exaggerated to the point where it's mostly false”. 

That’s corroborated by Twitter user Robeytech (Justin Robey) – who is credited as senior insights project manager on Halo Infinite, and said the hero shooter prototypes were among several design ideas that never made it into full release.

“We prototyped a bunch of stuff as we worked on the game which is never wasted time,” they said. “But the way it’s being spun [by Chris Ray Gun] is super inaccurate. It was in the time allotted for the game to go through those design cycles.

“It’s how you innovate and try new ideas. You can’t know it’s good until you try it,” they continued.

Halo infinite Tactical Ops Challenge

(Image credit: Bungie)

Change of plans

The idea that 343 Industries had tested the waters of a Halo hero shooter gives us an interesting look behind the curtain. Halo Infinite’s multiplayer could have been a very different beast if it followed in the footsteps of Overwatch and Valorant, setting itself up as an Overwatch 2 competitor rather than carving out a space among traditional shooters and Halo fans.

As Robey highlights, it's par for the course for development studios to test lots of design ideas that never end up in the final game. Prototyping several builds allows developers to try out a range of gameplay concepts, iterate upon them, and fine-tune them without sinking so many resources into a single one that the wider development schedule suffers from lost resources.

Halo Infinite’s development cycle hasn’t been smooth, though. The game was delayed for a year after its first gameplay reveal was poorly received by audiences, large gameplay features like campaign co-op and Forge mode are yet to be rolled out, and players have voiced their disappointment that staple Halo game modes – including King of the Hill – weren't included in the game’s multiplayer at launch.

Some of those concerns will likely be alleviated later next month when Halo Infinite’s second season – Lone Wolves – releases. It will introduce a batch of new maps, a new battle pass system, and the Last Spartan Standing mode, which looks similar to a battle royale.

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