343 Industries is reportedly moving to Unreal Engine for future Halo games

343 Industries is reportedly moving to Unreal Engine for future Halo games

It looks like the Halo franchise is moving to Unreal Engine 5

343 Industries is reportedly going though a major reorganisation, an effort that will change the future of of the Halo Franchise and how 343 develops games. 

According to a report from Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, 343 Industries are abandoning their “Slipspace Engine”, the studio’s purpose-built engine for Halo Infinite. Halo Infinite was designed to be a platform for future Halo titles, with the game receiving new campaigns and new multiplayer content with frequent updates. Now, it looks like these plans have been cancelled, and 343 Industries will be starting from scratch using Unreal Engine 5. 

343 Industries’ first efforts with Unreal Engine 5 is expected to be a Battle Royale title that’s codenames “Tatanka”, a game that is being co-developed with Certain Affinity. The decision to move to Unreal Engine was reportedly made in late 2022, ahead of Microsoft’s layoffs at the studio earlier this month. 

Engines are the frameworks that are used to develop modern games, and many major AAA developers are finding it difficult to modernise and maintain their in-house engines while creating high quality content using them. Creating, updating, and maintaining a game engine is a difficult and expensive process, which is why many developers are now abandoning their in-house engines and moving towards pre-built engines like Unreal Engine 5. Doing so allows studios to use their development time elsewhere, and focus more on making new games than constantly upgrading/changing their in-house game engines.

Earlier this year, CD Projekt Red confirmed that they would be abandoning their in-house REDengine when Cyberpunk 2077’s development concludes. After this, CD Projekt Red will be moving to Unreal Engine 5, confirming that they plan to make a new The Witcher game.

343 Industries is reportedly moving to Unreal Engine for future Halo games

Why move to Unreal Engine 5

The simple reasons why many developers are moving to Unreal 5 are that it reduces costs by offloading engine development to Epic Games, grants them access to an advanced and easy to use suite of tools and most game developers are already familiar with, and the simple fact that Unreal Engine is often easier to use than the in-house engines that have been created and developed by studios. 

Unreal Engine was designed to be incredibly versatile, and in-house engines are often designed with specific games/genres in mind. Moving to a new genre, or adding new features is often a difficult process for in-house engine developers. Gamers should remember the issues that EA faced when using their Frostbite engine (which was originally designed for FPS) to create Mass Effect: Andromeda (a large scale RPG), or the challenges that Bethesda faces when Fallout 76 launched (a multiplayer online game that was built using a primarily single-player focused engine).

By using Unreal Engine, developers have access to a engine that they can easily mould to suit their needs. Beyond that, using Unreal Engine makes it easier to developers to gather and utilise new talent. If developers already know how to use Unreal Engine, they can quickly join your studio and start work. If you use an in-house engine, you will need to teach developers how to use this engine, and how to get the most from it.   

Halo's reportedly ditching its in-house engine and moving to Unreal Engine 5

Will Halo’s move to Unreal Engine 5 be a positive one?

A lot of AAA games utilise Unreal Engine. The Gears/Gears of War franchise has always made use of Unreal Engine, and the series’ move to turn-based tactics with Gears Tactics proves that Unreal Engine can allow developers to easily experiment with new genres and game types. 

With Unreal, 343 Industries can focus on creating fun Halo games instead of making sure that their Slipspace Engine is always at the cutting edge of graphics technology. Great games can be made using Unreal Engine, and the move away from Slipspace allows 343 to move its focus from tools and engine development and onto games and gameplay. Let’s hope that this move works out for them.

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