Halo Infinite Bot Bootcamp removal possibly linked to AI issues

By Luke Albigés,

Halo Infinite's Winter Update has been making waves since it launched earlier this week, and players have spotted a possible reason for the removal of the Bot Bootcamp PvE playlist — bots and Forge maps don't seem to mix well.

Amid all the chatter about Halo Infinite removing Bot Bootcamp in its Winter Update this week, we spotted several suggestions that part of the reason for this could be that bots really don't seem to navigate Forge-made multiplayer maps well. Intrigued by this, we tested for ourselves in a few custom matches on the two new 343 Forge maps, and sure enough, the bots didn't appear to have a clue what they were doing.

Halo Infinite bots don't work properly on Forge multiplayer maps

Argyle fared the best out of the two maps, despite being the one currently removed from matchmaking due to other issues causing crashes. While not disastrous, bots here just didn't feel like they had the same degree of spacial awareness as on the original maps, often getting blindsided from obvious routes while loitering near spawn and not really doing a whole lot. Many would end matches on a single kill, and sitting back and watching ally bots scuffle with opponents made it clear just how ineffectual they are in general. They're prone to weird pathfinding issues, too — a few times, I saw a bot miss a jump, then just act confused for a few seconds as if trying to work out where it was, or perhaps continuing to take the same actions it would have if it had stuck the landing. Not awful, generally, but not very good, to say the least.

Detachment, meanwhile, proved a complete disaster. Every single bot managed to suicide multiple times per game by throwing themselves into the ravine on the map, most picked up just one or maybe two kills in an eight-player, 50-point Team Slayer game that went to time, and only one of them ended a match with a K/D that wasn't negative. Even when they weren't acting like lemmings, they didn't really seem to be acting at all. They'd often just stand around waiting to get shot, seemingly baffled by the geometry and unable to recognise some pretty obvious escape routes which might help them avoid getting wrecked. It did lead to some quite amusing moments, but in a tragic kind of way — the Bot Bootcamp opponents were hardly challenging, but at least the AI made it seem like they understood what game they were playing. Coming off the back of a slick yet simple Bootcamp match on an existing map then landing in a pantomime like this would have been extremely jarring, and frankly not much fun, so there's clearly still work to be done if bots are actually to be viable for use on Forge maps.

You okay there, buddy?You okay there, buddy?

Things get worse when you layer in complications like objectives. Bots are able to play objective-based modes to a degree, but frequent hiccups make them really not very good at it. I knew things weren't going to go smoothly when in my first Capture the Flag match, I cleared out a couple of defenders and watched as a bot ran up, grabbed the unguarded flag, took a couple of steps, threw it on the ground, and ran away. Nice job, pal. In another game, I waited for a runner who really took the scenic route, only to then throw himself into the middle of the map and sit down for a little rest. This is bad enough on its own, but bear in mind that PvP matchmaking also introduces bots when a player disconnects and it's too late to backfill with another. Combine that with the fact that Detachment is currently in rotation and you start seeing things like this brilliant moment where a bot runs the flag away from the capture point and throws the match, along with other amusing reports of bots just tossing flags off cliffs and such nonsense. It's funny until it happens to you, at which point it's downright annoying to take an L thanks to a clueless bot.

Of course, even if this is a reason for Bot Bootcamp going bye-bye, it's unlikely to be the only one. One common theory is that dropping it was an attempt to funnel players into the PvP pool rather than letting them chip away at challenges against bots, but many responses from more casual players claimed they'd more likely just not play at all instead of getting sweaty online. Still, it appears that whether due to fan feedback or all part of 343's plan, Bot Bootcamp will be returning, at some point. A tweet from community director Brian Jarrard states that "it'll take some time; the team wants to look at some potential tweaks," and says more details will follow. We'll keep you posted when we hear more.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection currently sits on our best Game Pass games list ahead of Infinite — we'll see if that changes as 343 continues to try to course-correct after a pretty bumpy launch.

Seen any bonkers bot behaviour in Halo Infinite yourself? Let us know below!
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.