343 writer says ‘Halo Infinite’ won’t have Battle Royale, and that’s dumb

343 Industries writer Jeff Easterling, speaking on a livestream, had strong words to say about the inclusion of Battle Royale in Halo Infinite. “I’ll tell you right now,” he declared, “the only BR we’re interested in is Battle Rifle. The original BR. So, calm yourself.”

It’s hard to tell if Easterling was serious. The tone of the comment, and the informality of the stream, makes his statement a step short of an announcement. It’s possible he was speaking for himself, or that he doesn’t have full knowledge of the studio’s plans. If his attitude does represent the studio overall, though, I have an opinion to offer.

That’s dumb. On multiple levels.

Battle Royale is the hottest thing going right now, for good reason. Its unique take on competitive multiplayer is the opposite of everything prior games were built on. Before it, almost all competitive multiplayer games were founded on assumptions that, in retrospect, seem stale. Fights must be fair. Levels must be tight and designed with obsessive detail. Competition can only happen between two players or two teams.

Then came PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, and a long list of less successful (though often still popular) imitators. These games proved all the above untrue. Fights can be unfair. Levels can be sprawling. Competition can take place between up to a hundred people at once – with only one winner in the end.

As a matter of business, then, shunning Battle Royale isn’t smart. It’s a massively popular game mode that shreds the rulebook and encourages innovation. Players want not just the Battle Royale they know, but the Battle Royale they don’t know. There’s a literal wealth of opportunity for developers with new ideas.

It’s absurd that 343 Industries wouldn’t want to take part in that, but that’s not the only reason I chafe at Easterling’s remark. My big beef is that he works on Halo, a game that could make for an amazing Battle Royale title.

Think about it. What does Halo do well? Big, epic battles. It’s a fundamentally solid shooter, to be sure, but it is scope, not gunplay, that defines the franchise. The original Halo spawned new interest in first-person shooters on console but, aside from the Battlefield franchise, none have nailed (or even tried to nail) the massive battles that define Halo. From that first Warthog ride in the original game to the awesome “The Ark” mission in Halo 3, the game shines when it goes big – and brings a few tanks, too.

Battle Royale is exactly that. It’s big. It’s epic. Can you imagine dropping as a barely kitted Spartan. Searching for armor add-ons? Finding a Warthog? Fighting over an M808 dropped from the sky mid-match? My heart’s beating faster already.

343 Industries already understands this. Halo 5 introduced Warzone, a mode that placed two teams of 12 players on a large map that also contained enemy A.I. The goal was to earn victory points by eliminating the other team, killing A.I. baddies, and controlling bases. It was a fun, hectic, and epic experience. It felt more compact than it should’ve, though, and was undermined by an annoying microtransaction scheme. Still, Warzone showed the idea for large, unorthodox game modes can work in Halo, and I doubt there’s any technical reason the game couldn’t support it.

The inclusion of a Battle Royale mode, or something similar, could be the make-or-break on my Halo Infinite purchase. I want something new. I don’t want a stale sequel to Halo 5’s dull campaign and (except for Warzone) me-too multiplayer modes. If the Halo name is to mean something to players a decade from now, 343 Industries needs to carry the game’s spirit forward while changing the game to fit what players want. Battle Royale is the perfect opportunity to do that.


Fortnite V-Bucks being used by criminals for money laundering on dark web

Criminals are using Fortnite's V-Bucks for money laundering schemes on the dark web. Epic Games, apparently, is not doing enough to prevent the game from being used for the illegal activity.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

Sharing your best gameplay moments is quick and easy on the Xbox One

The current generation of consoles make it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.

Blizzard’s latest hiring spree is likely for the unannounced ‘Diablo 4’

Activision Blizzard is hiring for more than a dozen positions on unannounced Diablo projects. Some of the roles are likely for the unannounced Diablo 4, the next mainline entry in the series.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Everything we know about 'Red Dead Online', including the new mode Gun Rush

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Relive the 8-bit gaming era with the best NES emulators for Android and PC

For years prior to the release of the NES Classic, emulators have offered a means to every NES game ever created without needing the console. Here are the best NES emulators for Android and PC.

Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector’s Edition comes with a life-size Scorpion mask

The Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector's Edition will come with a human-sized replica of the mask of Scorpion, one of the most iconic fighters of the series. NetherRealm Studios has also announced the game's preorder bonuses.

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.

These are the best indie games you can get on PC right now

Though many indie games now come to consoles as well, there's still a much larger selection on PC. With that in mind, we've created a list of the best indie games for PC, with an emphasis on games that are only available on PC.

Goodbye, Machinima: YouTube gaming channel pulls the plug after 13 years

Machinima, a YouTube gaming channel that was launched in 2006, has suddenly shut down, with all of its videos set to private. The #RIPMachinima hashtag is now making the rounds in social media to reminisce about the channel's content.