343 Industries has gone through some turmoil since Halo Infinite‘s launch, which culminated in some recent layoffs that hit Microsoft as a whole. A new report has stated that this has shaken up the developer, resulting in some technology changes and shifts to the Halo Infinite‘s roadmap.
Bloomberg’s report goes into how 343 was hollowed out during those aforementioned layoffs, but will remain in charge of the Halo franchise (as was previously confirmed) despite some rumors. One of the bigger shifts is a move to Unreal Engine, which was also rumored. Halo‘s Slipspace engine was reportedly archaic and hard to work with, resulting in delays and other complications.
If 343 does switch to Unreal, this would mark yet another studio abandoning its engine in favor of Epic’s popular one. Crystal Dynamics and CD Projekt Red are both using Unreal Engine 5 to develop the next Tomb Raider and Witcher, respectively, while Hangar 13 is reportedly using it to make the next Mafia game.
The first game to take advantage of Unreal will allegedly be a project codenamed Tatanka, which was also rumored in January 2022. The report notes that it is being co-developed with Certain Affinity, and while it started out as a battle royale, it might evolve into something else. 343 will “also explore using the Unreal Engine” for future Halo games, but some inside the team are apparently skeptical of the change since it could alter how the series feels.
And while most of the focus has been on Halo‘s multiplayer side, the report states that 343 is not making story DLC for Infinite. Developers were reportedly creating prototypes in Unreal Engine and pitching ideas for new Halo titles, but weren’t making more campaign content for Infinite. Bloomberg also says that a lot of those people who were prototyping were among those laid off and that 343 isn’t actively making story DLC.
Halo Infinite is stuck in a peculiar place, as it seems as though 343 is not quite looking 10 years into the future as was originally the plan, but is focusing more on short-term goals. Regardless, 343 Studio Head Pierre Hintze said in an internal email reviewed by Bloomberg that 343 is going to support “a robust live offering” for the game, “[greenlight its] new tech stack” for future Halo installments, and “[bring] Halo to more players through more platforms than ever before.”