Halo Infinite drops out of Xbox’s top 5 games
Halo Infinite landed with the force of an ODST drop pod. But could the game have a shorter shelf-life than 343 and Microsoft were hoping for? Roughly two months after release, the game has dropped out of the Xbox’s top 5 active games.
Halo Infinite has been pushed out of peak position – not by new games – but by reliable favourites. The game sits in sixth place behind Fortnite, Call of Duty Warzone, GTA 5, Apex Legends and Roblox. While these titles are understandably popular heavy hitters, so too is the Halo franchise. Does this mean that Halo no longer holds the franchise dominance it once did? Or specifically that Infinite lacks the staying power of these titles, as well as prior Halo entries?
Cracks in the Mjolnir armour
Many would have expected 343’s title to dominate the Xbox charts for months to come. But there are multiple reasons why Halo Infinite may have diminished this early.
Halo Infinite was originally planned as a next-gen launch title, Xbox was banking on its iconic franchise starting the console generation off strong. Sony would have no immediate answer. God of War was delayed past its initial intended release window. And Horizon Forbidden West was always planned for the following year.
But the path to release was bumpy for 343. Following initial derision at demonstrated gameplay during the Xbox Games showcase, Halo Infinite went back to the forge for re-tuning. Joseph Statten, creative head of 343, asked Microsoft to give them time to turn the game around. To deliver on its promise. Perhaps fearing a public spectacle on the level of Cyberpunk 2077, Microsoft agreed. Reportedly heavy last-minute changes to the game eventually paid off. Halo Infinite was warmly received and reviewed.
Halo Infinite: Unpolished gem?
Success appears to have come at a cost. In order to get Halo Infinite in shape for its delayed release, corners had to be cut. Franchise staple elements were left out, to be added in later.
As of writing, there is a wealth of content and game-modes still to be added. Forge, campaign mission replay, and the much-requested local co-op are all in active development. This may well be a crucial element of Infinite’s dwindling player count. The game’s single and multiplayer components are very solid. But these missing modes and features are part of what keep the fans sticking around. Halo Infinite is a solid, well-made package, but it is missing franchise elements that bring both customisability and replayability. Even an excellent game gets dull if it’s played the same way over and over.
Released piece by piece
This isn’t at all a situation unique to Halo: Infinite, however. It is not uncommon for games to be released like this nowadays. As the pressure of AAA development grows, and remote work is adjusted to. It is common for the base experience to be fine-tuned as much as possible, giving developers the luxury of time to add in additional features post-release. Hopefully once all the pieces are in place, Halo Infinite will reclaim its crown once more.
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