343 lost the casual audience of Halo Infinite, now developers are also chasing hardcore players away

It’s no secret that Halo Infinite had a rocky launch. While missing features and core gameplay issues left the casual crowds fleeing in droves in the early months, mind-boggling updates and apparent mismanagement are beginning to force even the most dedicated of players to uninstall.

When Halo Infinite finally launched in 2021 after a series of lengthy delays, it did so to much acclaim. Not only were longtime fans happy with the campaign’s fresh open-world structure, but the multiplayer sandbox was praised for delivering one of the most satisfying FPS experiences in recent years.

However, it wasn’t long before the hype train flew off the track and the honeymoon phase ended abruptly. As we entered 2022 with little communication and extremely scarce updatesit didn’t take long for players to get delivered.

Game-breaking bugs became overwhelming, a serious cheating crisis went unattended, and fundamental balance problems stayed in place for months at a time. While Infinite rose to a peak player count of over 250,000, it now sees less than 7,000 players log in on an average day as a direct result.

It’s clear that the casual community has all but gone and now Infinite’s most dedicated players are also being chased away. Inexplicable updates that go against the core principle of “fun” have left even the most seasoned veterans looking for their multiplayer solution.

Halo Infinite Season 2 art
343 Industries

Halo Infinite’s Season 2 patch came with a series of surprising gameplay changes, much to the dismay of the remaining players.

Halo Infinite Season 2 Lowers Skill Cap

After further delays after the launch of Infinite, Season 2 finally went live on May 3. While 343 managed to release some new content here in the form of a few maps and modes, this highly anticipated update also came with some surprising gameplay changes.

Outside of typical weapon stat tuning, 343 shockingly tweaked one of Infinite’s core mechanics. †Advanced sliding‘ or ‘jump sliding’ as many refer to it has been a fundamental part of the multiplayer experience since the first public testing in July 2021.

Mastering your moves is one of the most effective ways to gain an edge in the competitive shooter. Thus, the mechanic has been ingrained in the style of just about every veteran player since launch.

After the May 3 update, Infinite no longer supports this mechanic. In addition, a wide range of the game’s more intricate movement tricks have been patched.

Leaving the most passionate players and even former Halo developers shocked, 343 chose to turn in a different direction without even a warning.

“Someone literally had to go out of their way and spend precious time removing features important to large sub-communities from their game,” former 343 contributor Blaze Lightcap said in response to the shocking changes.

Renowned Halo Commentator Alexander ‘ShyWay’ Hope was one of many on the esports scene who also felt “betrayed” by the sudden pivot.

“Making significant changes to the game balance without transparency or insight from your most devoted fan base just doesn’t feel like the best way to foster a healthy community.”

About 1,500 players shared his sentiment by demanding that these changes be reversed in the near future.

Veteran Halo Professionals Watch the Exit

If 343 were in sync with the remaining player base, such changes wouldn’t have been made in the Season 2 update. At least, not in such a sudden way.

By directly limiting the expression of skills while not appeasing the casual crowd, Infinite finds itself in a strange middle ground where no one is really satisfied. Fans aren’t coming back in light of two new cards this season, and professional players aren’t making their voices heard at all.

Speaking of the latter, we’ve already seen one of Halo’s most popular figures vent his frustrations. FaZe Clan’s Eric ‘Snip3down’ Wrona left Apex Legends in December when his passion for Halo was rekindled with the launch of Infinite. Now five months later he is already looking to exchange back

“I’m not happy, not at all,” he said during a recent stream about the state of Infinite. Unfortunately, Snip3down is just one of many that reflect that sentiment.

Pros feel disenchanted, content creators demotivated, and a vast majority of casuals have long since moved on, Season 2’s update is yet another nail in the coffin that is quickly forming around Infinite.

While it goes without saying, everyone loves a good comeback story. From the disastrous No Man’s Sky launch to Bungie’s triumphant rebound after the heavily panned release of Destiny 2, we’ve seen communities gather around various developers as they try to correct their course and deliver on their promises.

There’s no reason why Infinite can’t be listed among those examples in the near future. But to do this, 343 has to start recognizing those who actually play the game before it’s really too late to save Infinite.

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