Halo Infinite is a great game with a lot of problems. The challenge-based progression system incentivizes players to ignore the objectives, the cosmetic system is both overly complicated and creatively limiting, the shop items are absurdly overpriced, the battle pass seasons are way too long and the rewards are underwhelming, the first in-game event is bizarrely stretched out over five months, half the guns are useless, and it’s missing a lot of popular stat-tracking and playlist features that Halo is known for. It’s a lot to address, and that’s not even everything.
Despite my issues with the game, 343 Industries’ communication team is giving me complete confidence that things are going to improve in due course. The changes Halo needs will take time, some of them require complex, data-driven solutions, and there’s no guarantee every adjustment will work. It would be unreasonable to expect any game to change overnight, so it's important for developers to communicate frequently and be as transparent as possible with the players. 343 is doing that, which is all the proof I need that Halo Infinite is on the right track.
Addressing problems in any game isn’t just about meeting the demands of players and making swift changes. Even if everyone in the community is pointing out the same issue, it doesn’t necessarily mean changes can or should be made. Every article, subreddit, Discord server, and Twitter thread combined is still just a small fraction of Halo’s total player base, and the opinions expressed online may not necessarily reflect those of the entire community. We shouldn’t expect 343 to make drastic changes based solely on internet complaints without researching further by examining player data and working internally to assess the best course of action. In other words, game development is hard, not to mention extraordinarily time-consuming. Even if the developers wanted to change the entire battle pass system today, it would still take weeks or months to design and implement those changes. What matters is how well the studio takes on feedback and how often it communicates its intentions with players. To that end, the 343 communications team seems to be doing an exceptional job.
When problems can’t be fixed immediately, a lot of studios will ‘go dark’ while they assess the issue and determine the best solution. We’ve seen this happen recently with games like Marvel’s Avengers and Cyberpunk 2077. When communities get upset, developers often decide it’s best to stay quiet until they have something substantial to announce. The effect is that players are left feeling abandoned or angry that no one seems to be listening. The best thing a studio can do in these situations is simply say “We hear you, we know there’s a problem, we’re going to fix it.” Road maps, timelines, and concrete solutions are great – and eventually, even necessary – but at this point just two weeks into Halo Infinite’s life, all we really need is someone to tell us that our voices have been heard.
Halo community director Brian Jarrard and community manager John Junyszek have been active on Twitter since the launch of Halo Infinite multiplayer asking for feedback and offering updates to players. Sometimes they’re substantial, like the two reworks to match xp that have already happened, but often their tweets only serve to acknowledge that problems exist and the studio is working on a solution. By simply recognizing feedback and encouraging players to reach out to them with concerns, the Halo team is earning good will with the community and buying the time they need to make significant changes. Responding to tweets and offering updates may not seem like much, but it’s more than a lot of other studios are willing to do, especially when a community is upset. As players, we can be pushy, intimidating, and disrespectful to the humans on the other side of our favorite games. Halo’s community team isn’t afraid to put themselves out there and ask for criticism, and it’s already making all the difference.
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