Microsoft Boss Explains Why Halo Infinite Co-Op Delay Was The Right Move

"It shows the commitment of the studio--even when it's challenging, even when it hurts--to only ship experiences when they are ready."

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Halo development boss Joseph Staten has commented on the delay of Halo Infinite's campaign co-op feature, saying it was a difficult decision but ultimately the right one. Speaking to IGN, Staten said Halo and co-op are synonymous, so it was "very, very hard" to choose to delay the feature, but it was essential so the team could prioritize other areas and get the game out the door this holiday.

"I work on Halo but I'm still a Halo fan. And campaign co-op is essential to the experience. Playing Halo with your friends is playing Halo, whether it's multiplayer or campaign. So of all the decisions that we made that were the most difficult, delaying co-op was very, very hard," Staten explained. "But it shows the commitment of the studio--even when it's challenging, even when it hurts--to only ship experiences when they are ready. To only ship quality experiences. And that's so important for any franchise, but certainly a franchise like Halo that's been around for 20 years."

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Now Playing: Halo Infinite Campaign Hands-On Preview

He added: "If we don't maintain that high bar, if we don't commit ourselves to excellence, and commit ourselves to every time we launch something to delighting our customers, living up to our expectations, ideally exceeding our expectations, I don't think we're doing this job right. And the simple truth was co-op just wasn't ready. And we decided to prioritize our efforts in other areas."

Those "other areas" of focus included optimizing Halo Infinite so it ran smoothly on all the devices it is launching on, including an original Xbox One model released in 2013 up to a brand-new high-end PC, Staten said.

"That was a more important goal than shipping co-op," Staten said. "That's tough. But I think if you look at those two choices and you put yourself in a customer-first mindset, it's clear which one you should choose, even though it hurts."

Microsoft had previously said that campaign co-op is expected to launch in Season 2. Due to the extension of Season 1 until May 2022, fans might have to wait a while for co-op. It's not the only feature that's been delayed, as Forge is expected to launch after Season 2, so it might be releasing even later. Developer 343 has said it will make announcements in January about Season 2, as well as its plans for campaign co-op and Forge, so we should know more relatively soon.

Staten said in another interview that campaign co-op has been playable for "some time" already, but the team still needs more time to ensure it's ready. "We don't just want to ship a campaign co-op that barely works. We want to ship a campaign co-op that's stable, that's robust, that has the features players expect," Staten said.

Halo Infinite's multiplayer beta is out now and it's being received positively by fans. The first event, Fracture: Tenrai, has begun, adding a new event pass that features new cosmetics to unlock.

The campaign launches on December 8, and it's included with Xbox Game Pass for subscribers. Check out GameSpot's recent preview in the video above.

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