Halo Infinite is now out in the wild, and it’s the first large scale open-world game in the long-running series of FPS games. But it turns out that Halo was originally conceived of as having an open-world setting – its developers, however, had to pare things back for the hardware available 20 years ago.
Marcus Lehto was the art director for Halo: Combat Evolved during its development at Bungie back in the late ’90s, and in a recent exchange on Twitter, he said that Halo: Infinite – developed by 343 Industries while Lehto himself has started working on the Battlefield series – “brings back the magic of Halo.”
A fan repled, asking Lehto if he wished Halo: Combat Evolved could have had a more open-world structure. Lehto says that the original plans for Halo were indeed to make it an open-world game. “When building the first demo the intent then was to make it open world,” he explains. “Closest we got was The Silent Cartographer.”
The fourth level in Halo: Combat Evolved’s campaign, the Silent Cartographer was a showstopper when it debuted in 2001. In it, Master Chief and a group of UNSC marines land on a small island to try to find a map room hidden in one of the structures.
Yes absolutely. When building the first demo the intent then was to make it open world. Closest we got was The Silent Cartographer level.
— Marcus Lehto (@game_fabricator) January 3, 2022
You’re given a huge amount of room to move around, across beaches and hills, and it made Halo stand out in a field of FPS games that generally featured narrow corridors and constrained arena fights.
Here’s how long it takes to complete the Halo Infinite campaign, if you’re just starting out.