Of the many bells and whistles that have come to define the Halo franchise over its 20-year history, campaign co-op and Forge mode are the ones that aren't coming with the upcoming Halo Infinite at launch. Game developer 343 Industries made the announcement today, revealing that both popular modes will be planned as post-launch content in 2022. Creative head Joseph Staten confirmed the news in a YouTube video posted this afternoon on the franchise's official channel.
"As we focused the team for shut down, and really focused on a quality experience for launch, we made the really tough decision to delay shipping campaign co-op for launch," Staten explained. "We also made the tough call to delay shipping Forge past launch as well...They're just not ready. And as a studio, we don't want to ship things if they're not ready."
Check out the game's official Development Update below:
The reasoning for the delay also comes down to the complexities of making the game, with Staten saying the campaign is an "open, non-linear take on the Halo campaign. It's going to offer so much more flexibility."
343 later explained that the popular features will come as free content in the game's future seasons: campaign co-op is aiming to be released alongside Season 2, while Forge should come with Season 3. The multiplayer's first year has already been mapped out, the developers added, and –– like most shooters these days –– each of the game's seasons will last three months. With that in mind, you should expect both campaign co-op and Forge to be patched into the game by late spring or early summer 2022...hopefully.
Campaign co-op has been a part of nearly every Halo entry, and 2007's Halo 3 bumped the player count up from two to four. With 2012's Halo 4, there was an entire episodic 4-player co-op campaign dubbed Spartan Ops, and 2015's Halo 5 had the campaign built from the ground up with four Spartans in mind, for better and worse. Co-op is tied to multiple achievements in several Halo games, thanks to both arcade-like campaign scoring and modifiers, dubbed Skulls, that can make levels more difficult if activated.
Meanwhile, Forge, which debuted with Halo 3, is a map editor that lets players create their own enviroments using assets from each respective game it's in and share it onine. It's been in each mainline game in the series, plus spinoff Halo: Reach and Halo 2 Anniversary. Some modes, such as Griffball –– a football-like mode created by Red vs. Blue creators Rooster Teeth, where you have to escort a bomb to a goal zone –– have gone on to be added to the games in an official capacity.
During the update, 343 community head Brian Jarrard also stated that the game's release date is close to being revealed. "This game is definitely committed to releasing this holiday," stressed Jarrard. "We're just working through some details on what that real date is." Staten admitted that delaying the game to feature both modes at launch was possible, but acknowleged that being a service game means that there's no such thing as being finished. "To have a beginning, you need to pick a moment and actually begin....we didn't want to delay anymore."
Halo Infinite will release for Xbox and PC later this year. If you want an idea of what Forge could be in Infinite, 343 said that you should sign up to be part of the game's test flights for multiplayer, which they plan on doing before launch.