After its big reveal, fans are dragging the next-gen 'Halo' game for its visuals — and now the developers have vowed to fix the issues ahead of launch
- In 2018, Microsoft unveiled the ambitious next entry in the long-running "Halo" first-person shooter game series: "Halo Infinite."
- That game launches alongside the next-gen Xbox Series X this holiday season, and Microsoft just showcased "Infinite" in action for the first time last week.
- The response from fans was sharply critical: The graphics were described as flat, and unworthy of a so-called "next-generation" game console.
- The game's developer, Microsoft-owned 343 Industries, issued a statement on Thursday night with a promise to "address some of the feedback around detail, clarity, and overall fidelity" of the upcoming game.
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The flagship game for Microsoft's next-gen Xbox, "Halo Infinite," is facing sharp criticism from fans for how it looks.
Ever since July 23, when the game was featured during an hour-long look at upcoming games for the Xbox Series X, fans and critics have dragged the game's visuals. They say it doesn't look as good as previous games, and it doesn't showcase Microsoft's powerful next-gen game console.
An extensive video from Digital Foundry digs into these criticisms, including "flat" graphics and a lack of visual detail:
On Thursday night, the Microsoft-owned studio behind "Halo Infinite" issued a lengthy statement intended to address concerns.
Despite being just a few months away from the game's scheduled holiday launch, the studio intends to "address some of the feedback around detail, clarity, and overall fidelity," 343 Industries community manager John Junyszek said in a blog post.
"We've heard the feedback coming from parts of the community regarding the visuals," he said. "While some of the feedback was expected and speaks to areas already in progress, other aspects of the feedback have brought new opportunities and considerations to light that the team is taking very seriously and working to assess."
In particular, Junyszek spoke to criticisms of the game's "overall art style and visual fidelity" — the two "key areas being debated" by fans. In the case of the former, he defended 343's choice to return to "Halo" series roots.
"With 'Halo Infinite,' we're returning to a more 'classic' art style," he said, "which was a key message going back to the very first reveal that garnered enthusiastic and positive responses." Though some fans may not like it, Junyszek said "we stand by this decision and are happy to see it resonating with so many fans around the world."
But in the case of the visual criticisms, he said the studio is looking to address those concerns ahead of launch.
As for the visual fidelity criticism, Junyszek said, "we do have work to do to address some of these areas and raise the level of fidelity and overall presentation for the final game."
Notably, the version of the game demonstrated last week isn't the final version of the game: It's a "work-in-progress from several weeks ago," Junyszek said. This is often the case when games are shown ahead of launch. An unfinished version of a game is captured to video and used to create marketing. As games are finalized for launch, they often receive final touches that must be put off until the last minute.
In the case of "Halo Infinite," the game is already being planned as an ongoing service of sorts. "We'll be relying on flighting and continued feedback and community partnership well beyond launch as we grow and evolve the game together," Junyszek said.
More specifically, 343 has already announced at least one visual upgrade coming to "Halo Infinite" after launch: Ray tracing, a lighting technique that can dramatically alter a game's visuals.
Check out the full gameplay demo for "Halo Infinite" right below, and judge for yourself whether or not it looks "next-gen":
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