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Microsoft must "recover" Halo Infinite, after "tripping and stumbling at the finish line"

"The burden is on us."

Microsoft has commented on the ongoing issues affecting Halo Infinite after its arrival late last year - after which, it says, the game "fell short" by not being able to satisfy players.

Speaking to the Friends Per Second Podcast, Microsoft's Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty praised the team which launched Halo Infinite after working through the pandemic to get the game done - but also admitted Microsoft had fallen short with its support for the game after its arrival.

"In December I think we had a peak of around 20 million players playing the game, and just kudos to the team for building and shipping a game during some pretty challenging times, right?" Booty said. "Last year - still in the midst of the pandemic, still everybody trying to figure out how to adapt to remote work and hybird work. I think if there's a worse-case condition for trying to get games done, it is the big multi-hundred person team trying to final a game. It went smack into that. So, kudos to shipping it.

A look at the battle pass for Halo Infinite's Winter Update.Watch on YouTube

This week sees the arrival of Halo Infinite's long-awaited Winter Update, which is set to launch on Tuesday 8th November. It will add a number of fan-requested features such as campaign co-op and the Forge beta, plus a new battle pass and more maps for the game's multiplayer.

But many fans have said this is content they had expected much sooner to launch.

"As is apparent, these days with a game like Halo Infinite, shipping a game is just the beginning," Booty continued. "There's got to be a plan for content sustain [sic], there's got to be a plan for regular continuing engagement, and we just fell short on the plan on that.

"So we have really retrenched, we've got some changes in how the team is set up, we've got some changes in leadership, and we've just got to really get refocused around that sustained content plan and making sure we're bringing a regular update of content for players."

Beyond Halo Infinite's upcoming Winter Update, the game's Season 3 is set to launch in March 2023. It's at this time the PC version of Halo Infinite will also get ray-tracing.

"We know there's way more demand and there's so much more we could be delivering. [We] appreciate the players sticking with us and that is our focus right now - on quality of life and getting out a regular cadence of content, getting back to that.

"It was a little bit of a good finish at the finish line, and that classic runner's mistake of tripping and stumbling as you come across the finish line and we've got to recover there. The burden is on us," Booty concluded, "and the team is very focused on that right now."

Another big addition for Halo on the horizon is the expected arrival of the franchise's long-rumoured battle royale offering, said to be in development at Halo support studio Certain Affinity.

The still-technically-unannounced project has been in the works for more than two years, with almost 100 staff working on it - though there's still no word on when it'll see light of day.