There have been significant changes at Halo developer 343 Industries lately, with shakeups in leadership and layoffs across the entirety of Microsoft. According to a new report from Bloomberg, the latest change is a game engine switch for the Halo franchise.
The long-rumored game/mode codenamed “Tatanka” will kick off this switch to Unreal. We don’t know much about Tatanka, but a Windows Central report from January 2022 says it was an all-new mode for Halo Infinite’s multiplayer. Halo Infinite co-developer Certain Affinity would confirm they are working on something Halo-related a few months later.
Rumor is this project is Halo’s take on the Battle Royale genre – but the Bloomberg report notes it could “evolve in different directions.”
The Bloomberg report labels Tatanka as a “new game,” which makes sense given the engine switch.
One question that immediately pops up with the game engine switch is what happens with Halo’s Forge mode. Windows Central’s article corroborating the Bloomberg report today offers some hope for Forge fans. “Notably, we’ve heard unconfirmed reports that Microsoft has a prototype of Halo Infinite’s popular Forge mode mapmaking tool running in Unreal,” writes Windows Central.
Why the switch from Halo’s internal engine, Slipspace, to Unreal?
Today’s report points to Slipspace being “one of the biggest points of contention over the past two decades.” It’s an engine slapped together on decades-old code. Bloomberg notes two classic Halo modes (Extraction and Assault) are nearly finished, but issues with the current engine are causing roadblocks to their release. If the Slipspace is this big of a headache, then a switch is must.
As for story content? Halo fans are going to be waiting a while on that front. Currently, the focus is on supporting Halo Infinite’s multiplayer and working on Tatanka.
It must be hard for Halo fans to feel any optimism right now. It feels like the franchise has stalled out big time since 343 Industries took the reins. But there are some glimmers of hope. The recently launched Forge is a fantastic editor with the community putting out some incredible work. Plus, 343 Industries’ new head Pierre Hintze helped oversee the turnaround for the Halo: Master Chief Collection. But it will be an uphill battle for the franchise to reach its former glory. And it’s not going to happen in one game.