The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Although the outside world keeps going to shit, at least the closing months of 2021 saw the biggest shooter properties duke it out in time for the festive period. Battlefield 2042 was void of Battlefield feeling while Call of Duty: Vanguard was similarly said to be “meh” – though I wouldn’t really know, I stopped playing the franchise over a decade ago. However, in terms of quality at the point of release, Halo Infinite has stepped out as the clear winner.
First off, a disclaimer. I haven’t played a Halo game with any sincerity since the third entry from 2007 so I’ve missed a lot. On the business side of things, the original trilogy, as well as spinoffs ODST and Reach, were developed by the formerly Microsoft-owned Bungie. Following Halo 3, Bungie split from Redmond to become an independent company while Microsoft retained the rights to Halo. Bungie now develops and publishes the Destiny looter-shooter series.
Since Halo 4, development has been handled by 343 Industries, a part of Xbox Game Studios formed specifically for this purpose. Fans weren’t best pleased at being ditched by Bungie and the gradual modernisation of Halo under 343, but it hasn’t harmed the series’ stature as a gaming powerhouse, selling 81 million copies (and a fair amount of Xboxes) as of early 2021 and spawning countless novels, comics, animations, short films, and feature-lengths.