Halo Infinite developer considered releasing Halo 5.5

Corporate vice president at Xbox Game Studios and head of 343 Industries Bonnie Ross has revealed the studio considered releasing a Halo 5.5 title for Xbox One while Halo Infinite is in development. Recent information points to a 2020 release date for Halo Infinite, meaning it will have been five years since Halo 5: Guardians.

Bonnie Ross explained why 343 Industries was considering a stopgap title in the series during an interview on IGN Unfiltered. “When we [released] Halo 5, there were talks about, could we get another Halo out in two years? So, we did look at, I’d call it a ‘Halo 5.5,’ or a ‘Halo 6 ODST’ type of thing. A smaller game … If you want another game, we can do that, but … my concern was, if you did something like that, I don’t think Halo would do well after that. You can’t put out a half-baked game.” With the large gap between the previous entry in the Halo franchise and Halo Infinite, it isn’t surprising 343 Industries considered releasing a game in the meantime. There was clearly an appetite for a Halo title, demonstrated by fan speculation about whether arcade game Halo Fireteam Raven may be released on the Xbox One.

Along with the news that the studio considering Halo 5.5, Ross elaborated on why Halo Infinite had spent so much time in development. Ross called the previous Halo engine “a very technical, engineering-focused engine” and stated, “it’s super-hard for creatives to work in.” These difficulties appear to be what led to the delay as it meant 343 Industries chose to develop a new engine for Halo Infinite, the “Slipspace Engine.” Despite the long development time, the game doesn’t appear to be experiencing wider issues. Halo franchise development director Frank O’Connor recently stated that he was “extremely happy” with the Halo Infinite multiplayer.

During the interview, Ross also stated that more of Infinite would be shown at E3 2019 as well as refusing to confirm or deny whether the new title would have a battle royale mode.

In other Halo news, the series’ long-planned TV show acquired a new director. While the studio also teased news about Halo: The Master Chief Collection would be coming at SXSW 2019. We may still not know exactly when Halo Infinite will be released, but have compiled a guide of everything we do know so far.