- In 2018, Microsoft released the ambitious next entry in the long-running “Halo” shooter game series: “Halo Infinite.”
- That game launches next to next-gen Xbox Series X this holiday season, and Microsoft just showed “Infinity” in action for the first time last week.
- The response from fans was strictly critical: The graphics were described as flat, and did not fit into a so-called “next generation” console.
- The game’s developer, Microsoft-owned 343 Industries, released a statement Thursday night with a commitment to “address some of the comments around detail, clarity, and general honesty”; of the upcoming game.
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The flagship game for Microsoft’s next gen, “Halo Forever,” is facing sharp criticism from fans for its looks.
Since July 23, when the game was featured within an hour of viewing upcoming games for the Xbox Series X, fans and critics have dragged the game visuals. They say it doesn’t look as good as previous games, and it does not reflect the powerful next gen of the Microsoft console.
An extensive video from Digital Foundry digs into these criticisms, along with “flat” graphics and a lack of visual detail:
On Thursday night, Microsoft-owned studio behind “Halo Infinite” released a long statement intended to address concerns.
Despite being only a few months away from the game’s scheduled holiday launch, the studio aims to “address some of the feedback around detail, clarity, and overall honesty,” 343 said community community manager John Junyszek in a blog post.
“We heard feedback coming from parts of the community regarding visuals,” he said. “While some of the feedback is expected and speaks to the areas in which it is being conducted, other aspects of the feedback have brought new opportunities and considerations that the team is serious about and working to assess.”
In particular, Junyszek spoke of criticisms of the game’s “overall art style and visual fidelity” – the two “main areas of debate” for fans. In the case of the former, he defended the 343 option to return to the roots of the “Halo” series.
“With ‘Halo Infinite,’ we return to a more ‘classic’ style of art,” he said, “which is a key message that goes back to the very first one that garnered enthusiastic and positive response.” While some fans may not like it, Junyszek said “we stand by this decision and are glad to see it reflect so many fans around the world.”
But in the case of visual criticism, he said the studio was looking to address concerns ahead of launch.
As for the visual criticism of honesty, Junyszek said, “we have something to do to address some of these areas and raise the level of honesty and overall presentation for the final game.”
Interestingly, the version of the game presented last week was not the final version of the game: It was a “work-in-progress from a few weeks ago,” Junyszek said. This often happens if games are shown early in the launch. An unfinished version of a game was captured on video and used to create marketing. While games are finalized for launch, they often receive final touches that should be set aside until the last minute.
In the case of “Halo Infinite,” the game is already planned as an ongoing service of sorts. “We look forward to flying and continuing community feedback and collaboration beyond launch as we grow and change the game,” Junyszek said.
More specifically, 343 has already announced at least one visual upgrade coming to “Halo Forever” after launch: Tracking Ray, a lighting strategy that can dramatically change a game’s visuals .
Check out the full gameplay demo for “Halo Forever” below, and judge for yourself what “next gen” looks like:
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