The Halo Infinite Forge mode isn’t coming anytime soon, but it should. I haven’t played Halo Infinite in two weeks. I’m not alone in this – player numbers are reportedly down on Steam, Twitch viewership is low, and it’s no longer in the top five most played games on Xbox.
As a live service game with plans to expand over the decade, interest in Halo Infinite is expected to hit highs and lows. A drop in players after the end of the campaign and the flurry of new releases we see at the start of the year can contribute to changing player counts, so while I’d be hesitant to jump to any conclusions about what exactly is going on , it’s clear that there are a few areas that 343 Industries could change to improve retention. With a small pool of maps and game modes to mine, Halo Infinite got too stale too quickly. New modes like Fiesta and Attrition temporarily spice up gameplay, but there just aren’t enough to keep players like me engaged.
Rather than giving 343 the responsibility of creating new maps or introducing new game modes, we can outsource the map creation and variety of game modes with what are arguably the best features in the franchise. In order to have the lifespan expected by 343, Halo Infinite must use its most powerful resource: its community of creators.
And player interest in Forge has only grown in recent days, with Forge mode feature leaks showing off lighting, gameplay, biomes, structures and props, all available for creation. and handling. Halo Infinite’s Forge looks to be the most impressive release yet, giving players mod tools and script editors that could mean an endless supply of new maps. Halo Infinite needs Forge, ASAP.
Forge is one of the biggest additions to the Halo franchise. The level editor was first introduced with Halo 3 in 2007, and has been iterated over and over again with every Halo release since. Versatile and relatively easy to use, Forge started out as a way to make simple modifications to existing maps, but quickly evolved into a vehicle for players to create custom maps and share them with the community. Forge became so popular so quickly that Bungie released Forge-specific maps built from movable and detachable Forge objects for Halo 3. Following this came quality-of-life improvements, with subsequent games adding magnets clapperboards, object highlights, and better lighting.
Forge is now a full-fledged map maker, with sites like ForgeHub offering a collection of insanely awesome builds designed by casual builders and pro developers alike. “For me, it started with manipulating weapons and spawns all the way to now with Forge’s latest integration into Halo 5, creating fully immersive experiences,” says Alex Rodriguez aka Infinite Forges, who honed his abilities in map makers like Forge before joining Borderlands developer Gearbox as a level artist. These experiences include recreating iconic classic Halo maps or creating entirely new environments with specific game modes in mind, the seemingly endless options for avid Halo fans.
Forge’s ability to extend a game’s lifecycle is what makes it such a powerful tool. Forge’s version of Halo 5 featured scripting for the first time, so players could harness its power to do much more than create throwback maps or jaw-dropping environments. According to ForgeHub writer, artist, and community leader Carson Barry (AKA Captain Punch), Halo 5’s Forge gave players “the most options and the most freedom”, acting as “essentially its own Halo-themed game engine rather than just a level creator”.
Player creations were so impressive that 343 Industries took notice by launching a Forge playlist three months after the release of Halo 5. Called Community Breakout, the playlist featured Forge creations made using the map Breakout as a starting point, aggregating the top ten community-created maps into a playlist for players to enjoy. Soon after, 343 Industries began integrating Forge maps into regular playlists, adding more depth and variety to Halo’s most popular game modes. The Halo 5 community acted as both creator and consumer of content, helping 343 spice up the game long after launch. It’s the power of that community that Halo Infinite desperately needs right now.
Forge, as Heart and Fortnite: Creative, provides accessible tools for creating maps and an engaged community ready and willing to test user-created maps. “You don’t need to learn to code or use Unreal, and you don’t need to have a player base to install your game just to be able to test your ideas. You can just build it and play it “, explains Barry.
Forge brings “community and ownership” to the Halo franchise, according to Barry. “Players are much more invested in the things they can contribute to. It also makes the game more than just being good at Halo and broadens the game’s appeal to a wider audience, especially once the custom modes don’t come together. focus on twitch reflexes and high-level gameplay are introduced.”
Although Barry and Rodriguez are quick to point out that Forge shouldn’t be released until it’s ready and its production shouldn’t put undue pressure on developers, the benefits of a Halo Infinite version of Forge are unmistakable. Forge would help bolster existing playlists with new maps and modes that would add much-needed depth to the current rotation. As of this writing, the problematic Big Team Battle playlist only has three maps and the queue was broken until recentlymaking gamers even more frustrated with the lack of variety in the playlist.
Forge can help bridge that gap, giving 343 Industries more time and space to continue working on future Halo Infinite content. However, launching Forge requires development work. Barry thinks a temporary salve will “fully flesh out custom game options as soon as it’s reasonable” instead of releasing a Forge beta. “Lobby hosts still manage to create interesting non-standard modes, but we would be able to do a lot more if feature parity with previous titles were achieved,” says Barry. “Custom modes are also crucial to many Forge projects and have been a keystone of accessibility.”
The Halo franchise has always had a passionate and creative player base. Improved authoring tools – whether it’s the ability to create maps or more flexible game modes – could only help the community feel more in tune with Halo Infinite. Halo matchmaking staples like King of the Hill, Grifball, Action Sack, Team Doubles are not only fun, but offer players a variety of experiences – this variety is especially important given the highly competitive multiplayer arena Halo Infinite. New maps and modes take time and resources for 343 to create, test, and implement; but players can create these modes themselves, providing a constant stream of freshness in Halo Infinite.
If Forge is indeed as far as 343 Industries tells us (it was recently slightly delayed and is scheduled for 2022, but there is no date set yet), then the developer needs to give players more opportunities to experiment with game modes. players who want to both create and enjoy new modes. The community will build it and the community will come, they just need the tools.
Halo Infinite Attrition should be added to the ranked rotation.