What if: Halo Infinite was a Bungie game?

Halo Infinite is coming, and from what we’ve seen so far, it can see the multiplayer game going in new directions. While we’re considering what Halo might be or not, I can ‘t stop thinking about its creator.

While the series has evolved under 343’s custody, ever since Bungie handed over the reins in 2010, Bungie itself has also evolved and has gone further in creating its loot shooting series Destiny. The studio began this journey in collaboration with Activision, but has since the beginning of 2019 continued as a self-published studio. When we compare Bungie and 343’s respective Halo eras, a question arises: what if Bungie made Halo: Infinite

Let’s be clear, this is does not a dumping exercise at 343 Industries. The studio is nearing the end of the fight that Bungie started, and there are lots of good and not so good things that can be said about its bid for the series, just as there are good and bad things about Bungie’s Halo games. It’s not about whether Bungie could do better. This is about what Destiny can tell us about what a Bungie-led Halo would look like today.

We do not know where the studio would have taken the Halo universe after Halo 3, but there are bigger things to consider, especially Bungie itself. The studio has exploded in size since releasing Halo: Reach in 2010, adding a whole host of new design and development skills and tackling challenges like it never did with Halo. A Bungie-made Halo, ten years after the studio parted ways with the franchise, would probably look very different from what we get with Halo: Infinite.

Fight in Halo Infinite

Or would it?

To date, Halo games can be defined as first-person shooters with traditional deathmatch-style multiplayer and narrative-led, single-player (or co-op) campaigns that skew toward linear-level design. Halo: Infinite, on the other hand, apparently takes the campaign in a new direction, offering an open-world set-up that is in line with current game trends, though we do not know the full extent of how this will look out yet. But Bungie has already turned to this kind of design with Destiny.

I do not see the chief dropping his battle rifle for another with better statistics or a shiny “exotic” designation

Destiny offers a variety of spaces and modes to its players. A campaign and guard Halo-like multiplayer is back, but so are raids, dungeons, ‘strikes’, PvPvE and areas of the open world that encourage exploration and host public events. MMO purists may mock, but many people see Destiny that way. Social spaces, campaign missions, PvP and PvE multiplayer happily bubble together in one unified crucible.

A Bungie-led Halo, especially under Microsoft’s eyes, may not be trying to do too many new things too quickly, but it’s easy to imagine a more open, experimental Halo coming out of the studio in 2021. Multiplayer is obviously a big one. part of Halo’s makeup, and has been so from the beginning. Halo, for example, deserves most of the credit for driving the early days of console multiplayer, and I do not think Bungie would feel a need to change the existing formula, instead of focusing its efforts on the open world and storytelling. .

A ghost from the Bungie's Destiny series

Although Destiny was also groundbreaking in the current phase of loot-shooters, I guess Bungie would not take Halo too far down this road. The world of the master boss is grounded when it comes to military hardware; I do not see the chief dropping his battle rifle for another with better statistics or a shiny “exotic” designation. If we accept that the Halo multiplayer we see IRL is the same kind of offering that Bungie would keep – with fixed weapon sets and fine-tuned charges – then this would probably bleed into the solo and PvE content.

The Destiny world is powerful, poetic sci-fi, but Bungie has had to learn to tell that story

Two basic questions arise when considering a new Bungie-led Halo: Has the studio become better at making games, and has it become better at telling stories?

We have already touched on many aspects of the former, but it may be worth concluding the point with some recent observations about Destiny as a series. As popular as it has been, even the most avid fan will not claim that it has been perfect. Even in 2021, it is clear that despite the years of development and learning, the studio is still struggling fundamentally with some of the nuances around leadership and catering to what is a very different kind of community. Most of the recent controversy, whether it’s the content vault, sunset, the latest kerfuffle about the price of Dungeon content in Witch Queen, or the constant issue of Eververse crawling, one thread is consistent: revenue generation.

Open the world of Halo Infinite

But what about Destiny’s storytelling? I’m a big fan of the wider Halo lore and universe, despite some of the slightly strange directions that 343 have decided to go in. Bungie’s chapters in this narrative were rather focused, narrow matters. The backstory revealed itself rather reluctantly, and Bungie’s Halo game focused directly on the Chief and his personal journey through the twilight of a desperate, very destructive war. ODST and Reach introduce new characters, themes and a vision for the series, but their narratives were just as compact. There is a little dark shadow in the background with the Flood, the Forerunners and the Covenant, but it is nothing compared to the scope and greatness of Fate.

I have it with good authority – our editor and resident Destiny expert Rich – that the Destiny world is powerful, poetic science fiction, but it’s worth remembering that Bungie has falteringly had to learn to tell that story. . Destiny 1 was thoroughly mocked for its rogue campaign that felt like drowning in a soup of proper names unless you checked a phone app for its unlockable grimoire card. Destiny 2 embraced storytelling in the game, but has generally still done a pretty bad job of introducing the broader story; it is only since Beyond Light introduced the current kind of season-long story arcs that Bungie has really improved its game in this regard.

One would then hope that between Bungie’s established pedigree with linear narratives and the skills it has developed to introduce players to learning in an open world context, a new Bungie-made Halo would be able to take advantage of the best of both worlds. Destiny 2 has struggled to emulate the tight direction of Halo’s single-player campaigns, due in part to the fact that so much of it has to be placed in open worlds or form the basis of repetitive quests like Empire Hunts, but there is good reason to hope. Bungie has not lost touch. As Rich says in his reviews of Shadowkeep and Beyond Light, Destiny’s campaigns can still produce intriguing sights or atmospheric scenery that made him want a single-player Destiny. Perhaps such moments, in turn, provide glimpses of the kind of Halo the studio would make today.

PvE battle in Destiny 2

Halo Infinite is about to embark on a new, if familiar, journey with its fans in early December. Despite being bigger, smarter and now free to do what it wants, Bungie does not seem to be in a hurry to move on from Destiny 2. Despite complaints and controversy, the general consensus is that Destiny 2 is the best it has ever been.

We’ll probably never know what a legitimate new Bungie Halo game would look like, but we might not have to. Bungie has a tradition of keeping its legacy alive in subsequent releases, and if Halo is an extension of the original Marathon games, then Destiny may be an extension of Halo. Other than that, it’s a vision of Halo freed from the shackles of a protagonist, thrown into mainstream success, and a vision free to explore a unique sci-fi world to its full potential.

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