halo infinite master chief

Gamers will be able to play Halo Infinite’s campaign with their friends in the coming months, but most seemed to have moved on already.

On June 7, the official Halo Twitter account announced that Halo Infinite will finally see Halo insiders have the chance to play the game’s open-world campaign in co-op. The announcement comes just a few days before Xbox and Bethesda’s games showcase on June 12, and vows to bring co-op to the game over seven months after its release.

Halo Infinite saw an explosive launch, peaking at over 270 thousand players on Steam alone during its multiplayer launch in Nov. 2021. Since the game’s launch, however, numbers have been steadily trending down. Currently, Halo Infinite sees player counts peak around 20,000 on PC — still a lot, but a far cry from when the series was at the height of its popularity. Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer saw Season 2 begin in early May, but the brief boost in player count didn’t last into June. With so much time since the game’s initial release, the announcement of co-op finally coming may be too late for any but die-hard fans.

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Halo has been a game series that’s featured co-op campaign play since Halo: Combat Evolved was released in 2001, and even though Halo 5: Guardians‘ announcement that split-screen co-op would not be in the game was divisive, it was still released with online co-op that let up to four people play through the game’s campaign together. Not having co-op at launch meant that the fans looking forward to playing through the game’s storyline would’ve done so alone, and returning to the story seven months later may not interest many fans.

The style of Halo Infinite‘s campaign may also keep gamers from replaying. While Infinite‘s shift to open-world gave the game a fresh feeling, it also added significantly to its completion time. The added side missions, collectibles and content may mean that gamers run out of steam before reaching the end of the story. On Xbox, 97% of players who purchased the campaign have the achievement for completing the first mission, while only 48% have the one for completing the campaign. Compare that to 88% having completed mission one in Halo 5, and 60% finishing the final mission.

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Another issue with Halo Infinite is the distinction between a free multiplayer and paid campaign: according to Steam, only around 10% of people who have played Halo Infinite have beaten the first mission, and only 5.4% have beaten the game. Even though Halo has traditionally seen its success in multiplayer, the fact that many gamers can play it without needing to purchase the campaign at all means that even fewer would play through simply because they already own it.

Halo Infinite has an uphill battle to bring the series back to the glory days of Halo 2 and Halo 3. The highly praised Forge Mode intended to release for Infinite later this year may see a boost into the top played, but a co-op campaign isn’t likely to do so. The Halo series will always remain one of gaming’s most influential franchises, and Halo: Combat Evolved is still worth playing, but Infinite‘s shake-up to the series’ campaign formula has already done some damage.

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