Halo Infinite Forge creations are amazing, and it isn't even out yet

Opinion by Luke Albigés,

Halo Infinite players in the PC co-op test flight were able to find a way to access and use an early version of 343's upcoming Forge creation suite, and the initial results are extremely promising for the future of the game.

Halo Infinite has had a bit of a rough time since it released late last year, with expected modes and features missing launch and suffering delays, and the slow drip-feed of new content to the free-to-play multiplayer component of the FPS all leading to players getting impatient and frustrated with 343's latest game. While things like co-op campaign play and more multiplayer content are still on the way to Infinite, one of the biggest upcoming features is Forge — a returning mode/map creation tool which, looking at some of the early examples of what it can do, appears to offer a suite that far exceeds anything the mode has been able to do in the past, and which could be set to breathe new life into the shooter... if handled correctly.

Halo Infinite x Stranger Things (Infinite Forges)

PC players in the Halo Infinite co-op test flight discovered that they could get into an early version of Forge that was left in the preview code, with 'early' being the operative word here. Projects could not be saved (although it appears a workaround has now been found for this), some features like lighting aren't fully implemented, and the unreleased mode still seems prone to bugs and crashes, making the examples creators have been putting out over the last few weeks even more impressive — for the most part, these are creations people have been able to put together in a single sitting with unfinished tools, suggesting that the potential for the final release of Forge will be absolutely huge. Looking at the scope of the toolset, it hardly seems surprising that this thing got delayed and even with help from Project Spark devs Skybox Labs, it won't have been easy or quick to pull together a creation suite this versatile.

Halo Infinite Forge detail showcase (karmaplex)

While the more polished examples in some of the videos out there (and here) are certainly cool, Forge isn't just about recreation — it's about creation, period. Ingenious users like Z Mods have been probing the depths of Forge's logic and scripting systems to deliver some impressive proof-of-concept videos. From portal guns and black hole launchers to tower defense turrets and CoD-style killstreaks, we're seeing all kinds of crazy options that could really help mix up the kinds of maps and modes Forge will be able to deliver. And this has all happened in a few weeks, with non-final tools. It reminds me of LittleBigPlanet and how a creation suite intended for 2D platformer levels eventually evolved to be able to produce first-person shooters, complex machinery, a working calculator, and so much more. I still enjoy firing up LBP's successor Dreams just to scroll through and be amazed by the community's latest absurd creations, and I'm already looking forward to hopefully being able to do the same with Forge content.

Halo Infinite x PT/Silent Hills (Death Templer)

That brings us on to perhaps the most important point here: surfacing content. It's all well and good having these awesome tools and crazy creations, but it will all be for naught if 343 isn't able to deliver an elegant way to get these passion projects into the hands of players. A few curated picks here and there isn't going to cut it... we need vast libraries of creative stuff to explore, playlists that will throw up all manner of unexpected game types, ways to save, archive, and share our favourite finds, as well as solid curation to ensure that the cream of the crop doesn't get missed. Just like with Forza's fantastic community of painters and tuners, we need to be able to follow, thank, and support creators in order to foster a player base that wants to engage with that side of the game, and the more of that kind of thing we can do from in-game, the better. There's even an existing external portal in Waypoint, so maybe even bring that into the mix to let us keep up with what the talented creators have cooked up in Forge there, too.

Remaking classic maps in Halo Infinite's Forge (UneeQ)

Halo Infinite has a really important few steps ahead of it. Campaign co-op really needs to land on its feet after so many setbacks; Season 3 of multiplayer — which is still three months away — is going to have to come loaded with content if it is to help rejuvenate Infinite's competitive scene; Forge, due some time after that, needs a signal boost to explain to players how much more it offers than just a traditional map editor. In terms of the impact these three elements could have on the game's long-term life, it's an interesting spread. Co-op will naturally bring in returning players who want to run Infinite's enjoyable campaign with friends as well, as those who have been holding off for it to start the game at all, so a decent short-term boost so long as everything goes to plan. More multiplayer content is more about catering to and retaining the existing player base, although there's also room for growth there with things like popular returning maps and modes from previous Halo games. But I think Forge has arguably the greatest potential to give Infinite a proper long-term boost, especially given the possibilities we're seeing made with limited access to an unfinished version of the tool. So while I'm glad the team is taking its time to get Forge right, it's still going to be a risk to bet the farm on it when many players don't even realise it's capable of some of the incredible stuff presented here... stuff created before the mode is even properly available, no less.

Halo Infinite x Portal (Z Mods)

People seem to love calling Halo Infinite a 'dead game,' but our Gameplay chart data would seem to refute that claim. While Infinite did slip out of the top ten most-played Xbox games a month or two back, it continues to loiter with intent just outside, often right alongside fellow 'dead game' Destiny 2, in fact. For starters, those positions still aren't bad by any stretch, with only around a dozen unique games attracting more players each week according to our data based on millions of active Xbox users. And as we've seen time and again, each new Destiny 2 season or expansion propels Bungie's shooter right back into the top flight. We'll see Halo do the same, almost certainly, both with the awaited release of co-op and with the next multiplayer season. But what of Forge? Well, all it would take is for a big streamer to latch onto some weird meme mode made in Forge and share it with their millions of easily-influenced viewers and folks would likely flock back to Infinite to try it out for themselves. That accounts for so much of the buzz around modern games, and for Halo Infinite to potentially be able to leverage that on a microcosmic level with Forge would be massive.

So what do you think? Will Forge help Halo Infinite climb back into the limelight proper, or will it come as too little, too late? Let us know!
Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Luke runs the TA news team, contributing where he can primarily with reviews and other long-form features — crafts he has honed across two decades of print and online gaming media experience, having worked with the likes of gamesTM, Eurogamer, Play, Retro Gamer, Edge, and many more. He loves all things Monster Hunter, enjoys a good D&D session, and has played way too much Destiny.