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It's fair to say that games lovers the world over were somewhat split on the debut gameplay for Halo Infinite. Xbox's grand reveal of its next mainline Halo entry, during last week's Xbox Games Event, showed off some appealing gameplay qualities, like a grappling-hook mechanism and a freer, more open-world-y approach to level design. But while the environments were lush and the enemies and vehicles alike definitely Very Halo, there was a feeling that this was maybe too indebted to previous games in the series.
Which is to say: some folks took to the internet to complain that the game didn't look very "next-gen" at all. (Though it's worth repeating that games won't look amazingly different to how they do now, on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 - the next gen really isn't about things being more photo-real). "It just looks like everything is made of cheap plastic," commented one Twitter user, with another adding that "this doesn't look like it's being powered by the world's most powerful console".
And Halo Infinite developers 343 Industries haven't just stuck their heads in the sand - they've been watching, reading and listening to the feedback from the gameplay reveal. And now they've made some comments of their own. As picked up by VGC, 343 is taking some of the criticism "very seriously".
In a new blog post at halowaypoint.com, the team writes:
"We want to acknowledge that yes, we've heard the feedback coming from parts of the community regarding the visuals in the Halo Infinite campaign demo. While we see and hear far more positive than negative, we do want to share a bit more context. From our perspective, there are two key areas being debated around the community - overall art style and visual fidelity."
The post goes on to say that "we decided to shift back towards the legacy aesthetics that defined the original trilogy" for Infinite, and that decision was partially based on "strong community feedback". However, in light of the more critical feedback to the showcased demo, the team admits that "new opportunities and considerations [have been brought] to light that the team is taking very seriously and working to assess".
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They add: "In many ways we are in agreement here - 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. The build used to run the campaign demo was work-in-progress from several weeks ago with a variety of graphical elements and game systems still being finished and polished."
The section dedicated to visuals concludes with: "We don't have firm answers or outcomes to share yet but the team is working as quickly as possible on plans to address some of the feedback around detail, clarity, and overall fidelity. The team is committed and focused on making sure we have a beautiful world for players to explore when we launch."
Personally? I dig the aesthetic return to the original trilogy. I don't want Halo to look like something from the Alien franchise, all bulky and scary and 'real' or whatever. I want the cartoon-leaning factor, the Saturday morning TV vibes that it had on Xbox and 360. And sure, while some of the enemies and environments in the demo don't look great in stills, I thought the game in motion looked pretty great. But then, I've never been one to moan about an unfinished video game on the internet (immediately deletes Twitter history).
343 Industries also took a moment to comment on 'Craig', the brute at the centre of the this-game-looks-bad-tho criticism, and who's become something of a meme sensation. They add, towards the end of the blog post: "We've all laughed very hard at the nonstop stream of Craig memes the community is cranking out. Craig is thick-skinned and seems to be taking it in stride though all of this fame and attention seems to be going to his head."
I mean, I already love Craig, frankly. I support him, in all of his endeavours, even if they don't necessarily look very "next-gen".
Featured Image Credit: 343 Industries, Xbox Game Studios
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