Report: Halo Development May Start Using Unreal Engine

Posted on October 3, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Games, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, Xbox with 16 Comments

It’s been almost a year since Halo Infinite was released on Xbox consoles and PC, and the game isn’t exactly in a good state right now. If the game’s campaign received solid reviews, players are not happy with the free-to-play multipayer mode, which launched with very little content.

If the much-anticipated Forge map editor will finally launch in November, developer 343 Industries doesn’t seem to be able to deliver the frequent content updates a live service game of this caliber really needs. And according to various reports, Halo Infinite’s Slipsace engine is to blame for the game’s development issues.

343 Industries built this new Slipspace engine from scratch when developing Halo Infinite, which is a huge undertaking in itself. Even though the game should be in a much better place once the Forge mode launches in beta in November, recent reports suggest that future Halo development may start using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine instead of the in-house Slipspace engine.

Yesterday, games journalist Jeremy Penter tweeted that according to his sources, the switch to Unreal Engine has been settled. “I can only confirm that many sources are saying this and very clear that it’s already been decided and Halo is for sure switching to Unreal,” the journalist wrote.

Today, Windows Central’s Jez Corden followed up with some details about what’s happening at 343 Industries after studio head Bonnie Ross announced that she was stepping down. David Berger, Technical Director of Halo at 343 Industries also left the studio last month.

“With 343i founder Bonnie Ross and Slipspace architect David Berger no longer with the company, it seems the studio is eager to explore new ways to adapt to the fast pace of development in the shooter service game world. Moving to a more popular engine that has mature tools, and perhaps more crucially, high levels of experience from the game developer workforce, may be key to figuring out Halo’s future,” Corden wrote.

The report also includes details about upcoming Halo Infinite experiences: “Tatanka” is the codename for a new Halo Infinite battle-royale mode that’s being developed by partner studio Certain Affinity. Microsoft also registered a trademark for “The Endless”, which could be a campaign DLC for Halo Infinite. Both projects may be built with Unreal Engine instead of 343 Industries’ problematic Slipspace Engine.

“Instead of representing the continuation of Halo Infinite, it’s possible that Tatanka could eventually grow to represent the next phase of Halo itself as a completely separate, standalone experience. On a different engine, it may scupper Microsoft’s original plan to incorporate the Forge mapping tools, but they could still bring across Halo Infinite’s cosmetics potentially by leveraging Halo’s social APIs,” Corden explained.

Microsoft previously said that it wanted Halo Infinite to be a “platform” for the next generation of Halo experiences. It’s not exactly clear how switching development to a new game engine could fix all of the game’s issues, though doing that following years of investments on Slipspace would be quite unprecedented.

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