Did Halo Infinite Just Kill Battlefield 2042?
November 15 was a big day for Xbox fans. The 20th anniversary of its OG console arrived, and with it came the expectations of a huge celebration to go with it. The planned livestream went ahead (mostly) without a hitch - recounting the history of the console from inception to the Series X/S, stopping to celebrate the company's huge achievements along the way.
Though Microsoft was transparent that there would be no grand announcements about new games coming to the console, it didn't stop fans from getting excited that something huge would come from the stream. And, lo and behold, it did.
Halo Infinite's multiplayer beta was out. At that very moment - with little fanfare and gleaming grins on their faces - 343 Industries announced the long-awaited free-to-play multiplayer had launched under fans' noses. It was a ballsy move that put the Halo franchise into the spotlight immediately. Fans are already loving it.
Now, the excitement has given way to speculation that this move could change the trajectory of 2021's FPS offerings and completely tank another franchise's bold return. And the theory of Battlefield's downfall could be accurate.
The Pecking Order
The new launch of the Halo Infinite beta has brought on a lot of discussions that could change the trajectory of game releases this year. Suddenly, there's one more massive shooter franchise on the block soaking up players, and this launch ahead of schedule has sent fan plans into disarray.
There was a solid lineage we were expecting in the latter half of 2021: the return to World War II in Call of Duty: Vanguard, which is a game with potential but is carrying the burdens of being a new title in an era many fans feel is already exhausted in the genre.
We also have the bombastic revisiting of Battlefield's traditional environmental destruction in fresh futuristic aesthetics for Battlefield 2042. Finally, there's another crack at a franchise that's suffered for some time, with a potential rebirth for the love of all things sci-fi shooter in Halo Infinite. It's a game that could define the fate of Master Chief
Fans have adjusted accordingly, made their allegiances, and placed their preorders. But something is changing.
Battlefield's Popularity Is Decaying Rapidly
Battlefield 2042's early access has launched for fans everywhere, and almost with no time for any other thoughts, fans are seething.
There are a lot of things that players are picking at - including a distinct lack of compelling weapons, an ugly UI, bugs populating servers more than players, and core elements of the Battlefield elements ripped from its heart with seemingly little explanation. Plus, with no voice chat at launch and a review-bombing for the ages on Metacritic, it seems like long-time fans of the franchise have more reason to dismay than delight.
And now, as it has to contend with trailing behind the new comeback king, is it going to be able to hold its own during the holiday sales boom?
Halo Infinite Has Battlefield 2042 Pinned
Of course, it would be unreasonable to expect any game from the Battlefield franchise would completely tank - but it might be backed into a corner.
2042's current leading feature is Portal, which is a mode that serves as a throwback playground for players to make their own games and modes. Unfortunately, Call of Duty's dedication to its returning classic maps and Halo maintaining its core multiplayer gameplay from as early as Halo 3 means that there's little else in Battlefield 2042 for lovers of classic-style multiplayer shooters beyond its trademark environmental destruction. Players are even complaining about the distinct lack of that in the game's early access.
The whole genre is relying on nostalgia and recognisability, so what can Battlefield truly offer in a multiplayer skirmish that can't be found in Vanguard or Halo Infinite?
Vanguard stood as a strong competitor to Battlefield as it was, and if Halo Infinite can maintain its immense hype (and with fans absolutely adoring the game's multiplayer, it's incredibly likely), Battlefield 2042's cultural sticking power might be exhausted before it was offered a chance to see the light of day, less than half a week before launch.
For some, this will be quiet penance for the role Battlefield played in the quelling of cult-favourite Titanfall 2's sales back in 2016, and for others, it'll be an absolute travesty. One thing is for certain - Battlefield is in trouble, and Finally, maybe Master Chief's return to the spotlight could be all the more grand for it.