Halo Infinite dev responds to negative reactions, telling players "your voice matters"

The in-depth reveal of Halo Infinite during July’s Xbox 20/20 event was met with negative criticism from some viewers. One dev has now responded to say this feedback isn’t “falling on deaf ears.”

Halo Infinite’s narrative experience director Dan Chosich responded to one such fan on Twitter, who’d tweeted to express disappointment with the campaign gameplay shown during the Xbox event. Chosich replied, “I’ve been in your shoes. I know what it’s like to have expectations built + feel let down. I want you to know your voice matters + is heard. You’re not falling on deaf ears. I always want to live up to the legacy that Bungie pioneered. I personally care a lot about honoring that.”

Recently Xbox’s marketing GM Aaron Greenberg also commented on negative feedback about the game’s visuals. Speaking to Inside Gaming, Greenberg said, “Listen, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. It’s July; we’re far from Holiday, you’re seeing a work-in-progress game,” adding, “It’s very hard to show the full power and graphic fidelity of what Xbox Series X can deliver for you over a stream, so go back and look at it in 4K/60. It is a work in progress. We see build check-ins every week, and they make progress week after week, so between now and Holiday, it’s going to get better and better.” It was also confirmed that the footage had been captured on a PC with similar specifications to the Xbox Series X, rather than the console itself.

Halo Infinite is set to release in Holiday 2020, and as per the description, will be “the most expansive Master Chief story yet.” As Greenberg says, there’s still some time to go before the holiday period, with regular check-ins every week until then, so it’s probable the Halo Infinite we see at launch will be very different.

Several Halo Infinite devs have come forwards recently to address the negative response to the game following July’s Xbox event. 343 Industries has now also responded to this feedback, and outlined plans to address some of the issues.

John Junyszek, community manager at 343 Industries, says “first, we want to acknowledge that yes, we’ve heard the feedback coming from parts of the community regarding the visuals in the Halo Infinite campaign demo. While we see and hear far more positive than negative, we do want to share a bit more context. From our perspective, there are two key areas being debated around the community – overall art style and visual fidelity.”

Junyszek says the team “decided to shift back towards the legacy aesthetics that defined the original trilogy” and is “returning to a more ‘classic’ art style” with Halo Infinite, as based on community feedback. Junyszek points out that this decision was made clear when the game was first revealed, and “garnered enthusiastic and positive responses.” This return to the “legacy aesthetics” with a more classic art style means “a more vibrant palette, “cleaner” models and objects with less “noise”, though it doesn’t mean less detail.” Junyszek adds that this “may not be everyone’s personal preference” but that 343 Industries “stands by this decision and is happy to see it resonating with so many fans around the world.”

Going on to address the response to visual fidelity, Junyszek says, “negative feedback in this area includes comments around characters and objects appearing flat, simplistic and plastic-like, lighting feeling dull and flat, and object pop-in. We’ve read your comments, we’ve seen the homemade examples of retouched content, and yes we’ve heard the Digital Foundry assessments. In many ways we are in agreement here – we do have work to do to address some of these areas and raise the level of fidelity and overall presentation for the final game.” Junyszek reiterates that “the build used to run the campaign demo was work-in-progress from several weeks ago” — it was also run on a PC with similar specs to the Xbox Series X, not the console itself — and as such, it showed “a variety of graphical elements and game systems still being finished and polished.”

The statement goes on to say that some of this negative feedback was “expected” and addresses areas which are “already in progress”, but that “other aspects of the feedback have brought new opportunities and considerations to light that the team is taking very seriously and working to assess.” Junyszek concludes that the dev team is “working as quickly as possible on plans to address some of the feedback around detail, clarity, and overall fidelity” and “is committed and focused on making sure we have a beautiful world for players to explore when we launch.”

Just a few days ago, Halo Infinite’s narrative experience director Dan Chosich responded to the same negative feedback, saying, “I’ve been in your shoes. I know what it’s like to have expectations built + feel let down. I want you to know your voice matters + is heard. You’re not falling on deaf ears. I always want to live up to the legacy that Bungie pioneered. I personally care a lot about honoring that.”