Halo Infinite does not have a battle royale mode. At least, that's the current messaging coming from Xbox and Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries suggests. The genre has been wildly successful ever since PUBG and Fortnite broke onto the scene, and now even Bomberman and Pac-Man have dropped into the battle royale fray with new riffs on the format.
On Monday, Halo Community Direct Brian Jarrard called rumors of an oft-requested battle royale mode in the upcoming game "unfounded." While not an outright denial, this continues 343's positioning of being uninterested in a Halo battle royale game.
While a Halo battle royale has been frequently requested by players, it isn't a good fit for the franchise — particularly right now.
Especially considering the hectic state Halo Infinite's development since it was delayed in August, it's better for 343 to focus on the core qualities that make Halo's gameplay so distinct rather than chase industry trends. A Halo Infinite battle royale would probably be overshadowed by the competition.
While we may hear more about the game before the end of 2020, the developers of Halo Infinite have been pretty quiet about the former Xbox Series X launch title ever since the delay. That's why a new rumor which suggested that Halo Infinite will feature a battle royale mode quickly made the rounds and got people excited.
Famously, writer Jeff Easterling said that "the only 'BR' we're really interested in is 'Battle Rifle," back in 2018. Developer Bonnie Ross gave a more detailed response as to why Halo doesn't need a battle royale in an interview with IGN in 2019 that explains why 343 isn't immediately jumping on the industry trend.
"We have a sandbox that gives us the ability to have multiple different game types," she said. "Whatever we do needs to be the right thing for Halo, so whether or not you call it a battle royale ... the team thinks about how it needs to be right for Halo." The point Ross ultimately gets at is that Halo shouldn't just shamelessly copy Fortnite, Apex Legends, or any other battle royale shooter in structure or design.
Halo stays distinct thanks to its fast-paced, easy-to-pick-up, and fun-to-master shooting that doesn't feel like Call of Duty or any of its contemporaries. While Halo's gameplay could work in a battle royale, it's also proven to be super effective in more traditional gameplay modes or ones created by the community in the forge.
With Halo Infinite, multiplayer is going to be free to play, even for those not on Xbox Game Pass, so it still has the potential for wide appeal without chasing industry trends. While Halo might be able to learn and pull from some of the more successful battle royale mechanics like a tightening arena or loot drops, a straight squad-based, last-man-standing wouldn't really feel like Halo.
At this point, I don't see Halo etching out a spot for themselves unless they are able to knock Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone or Fortnite off their pedestals. To stand out and win fans back, Halo Infinite needs to be different from the competition. A standard battle royale mode would just seem like they're desperately chasing trends instead of honing in on what makes Halo's multiplayer memorable.
It's well-documented that Halo Infinite has had a rough development, with many creative leads leaving the project as recently as October. In a project as tumultuous as it, 343 industries just needs to stick to and improve upon what people already like about Halo instead of just chasing the most popular trend in the industry right now.
Halo Infinite will be released for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S in 2021.