Halo Infinite's single-player campaign was once planned as a vast Zelda-like experience - but this was drastically cut back, as part of 343 Industries' plan to reduce the game's size by almost two-thirds for its final version.
The game was originally inspired by Nintendo's series, as the developers aimed to create an open-world version of Halo.
However, a number of issues meant the entire game had to be considerably stripped back.
Those issues include staff attrition rates at 343 Industries, conflicting creative decisions, and the developer's game engine (named Faber) being difficult to use - so much so that a move to Unreal was considered for months, according to journalist Jason Schreier.
A couple tidbits that were trimmed from the article:— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) December 8, 2021
- 343's tool set, Faber, was so difficult to use that they spent months considering a switch to Unreal. (They didn't)
- The game was delayed multiple times. One early plan was to release multiplayer in 2019 and campaign in 2020
The game was also delayed multiple times, with a 2019 multiplayer release and 2020 campaign release considered.
Eventually Joseph Staten, lead writer for the first three games, was brought in to turn the Halo ship around. Despite Microsoft remaining adamant that Halo Infinite would be a launch game for their new console, Staten persuaded his bosses to let 343 take their time.
"Here's a list of all the things we could do to make this game excellent," he told them. "Here's what more time buys us."
Among the changes made were improvements to the graphics and roaming Marines that follow the player and assist on their journey.
Still, Infinite isn't the finished product originally aimed for, with co-op mode and the customisable Forge set for release next year.
Further story DLC could add in some of that cut open world.
Our Halo Infinite review suggests the game is a "jumping off point for Halo's bold new future".