Halo Infinite's open world was reportedly cut down from a scale similar to that of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, to what it is today. Apparently, almost two-thirds of the planned game was chosen to be cut in in the move.
According to a report on the game's development by Bloomberg, 343 decided to drastically slash the game's open-world map in 2019 as it attempted to stabilize the direction that game was heading.
Reportedly, by the summer of 2019, Halo Infinite had hit a number of issues. As per the report, the studio took the decision to cut almost two-thirds of the entire planned game in an effort to streamline production. As part of this decision, the outlet notes that the game's open world was significantly scaled down from a "Zelda-like experience into something far smaller."
Despite scaling down the game's open-world map, Infinite's problems continued past 2019. In July 2020, the developers showed off a range of gameplay footage for the game, which was met with overwhelming disapproval from the Halo community. Fans mocked the gameplay footage across social media for its poor quality, creating memes out of 'Craig the Brute', and airing their frustrations toward 343.
Following the backlash, Infinite was delayed by an entire year from its intended November 2020 release. Since then, the game has undergone something of a revolution. While more minor issues have still cropped up with factors such as the game's multiplayer progression, critical praise for both Infinite's single player campaign and multiplayer mode have been widespread in recent weeks.
While Halo Infinite's darkest days now feel behind it, it's pleasing to see that the developer was even able to include a Craig Easter Egg in the game – perhaps as a nod of acknowledgement toward Infinite's turbulent past.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.