Is Halo Dead?

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"Is Halo dead?"

A question that has been asked by the Halo fandom since the release of Halo 4 in 2012, and with Halo Infinite's lukewarm reception at launch that same question is once again on the communities mind

Let's take an objective look at a narrative that has existed for over a decade:

Is Halo Infinite Dead?

Halo Weekly Unique Users Ranking on Xbox Live (2007-2013)
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Halo Weekly Unique Users Ranking on Xbox Live (2007-2013)

From 2001 to 2010, Halo was king.

Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo 3 were some of the biggest games in the world when they were the main Halo titles. For example, you can see on the chart above that Halo 3 was either a #1 or #2 top-ranked game on Xbox Live for over 3 years. Whereas Halo Infinite has been surpassed by its predecessor, Halo: MCC, in player count only 3 months after release.

So where did it all go wrong? For many, it was Halo Reach. Bungie, the game's original developers, changed the traditional Halo formula with the addition of sprint among other Armor Abilities, and that caused a massive divide in the fanbase. Despite this, however, Halo Reach held its own on Xbox Live but failed to replicate the success of Halo 3 and it left fans wondering if the game would return to its roots with the next entry in the series.

Halo 4 doubled down on changing the original Halo formula and alienated even more fans as a result. The game had very little staying power as illustrated above and this is where fans rightfully began to ask, "is Halo dead?" Halo 4 is widely regarded as the worst in the series and it really damaged Halo's reputation going forward.

Microsoft would then attempt to bring back the classic Halo fans they had previously alienated and gave them something they've wanted for years, an updated remaster of all their favorite Halo games on a brand new console.

Last Spartan Standing - Halo Infinite
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Credit: 343 Industries
Last Spartan Standing - Halo Infinite

Related: Is there a Halo Battle Royale?

Halo: The Master Chief Collection was poised to be a rebirth for the franchise, but it only ended up burying it further. Bugs made the game unplayable for months at release and this angered even the most loyal of fans, many of whom had just bought a new generation Xbox console with the sole intention of playing MCC.

The next mainline in the franchise, Halo 5, while being a solid and tight arena FPS shooter had a smaller audience of fans due to MCC being an overwhelming disappointment. Halo 5 also had bugs at launch and for the duration of its lifespan, which unfortunately seems to be a hallmark of modern Halo games.

Halo: MCC would then release on PC and Steam, but once again it just proved to be a disappointment at launch, with the game lacking content, features, and controller being much more powerful than the preferred input on PC, a mouse and keyboard.

Halo Infinite would release after a well-publicized delay and despite the gameplay being almost universally praised a lack of content doesn't offer much for casual fans of the series, and the number of bugs is offputting for newcomers and veterans alike.

Related: Does Halo Infinite have Forge?

So is Halo actually dead? Hardly, the game is still culturally relevant, its esports tournaments get over 100,000 viewers, and with a rumored Battle Royale mode looming in the future, it's very well possible Halo Infinite still hasn't seen its peak.

Is Halo Infinite currently the game that fans deserve? No, 343 Industries and Microsoft need to get together and deliver a content-rich, relatively bug-free Halo experience that fans expect nowadays. Until then Halo will remain what it is now, a successful video game franchise, but a shadow of its former self.