343 Industries’ self-made Slipspace engine used for Halo Infinite could be shelved in favor of Epic Games’ popular Unreal engine, according to a report from journalist Jeremy Penter.

According to Penter, Halo will “for sure” switch to Unreal. Penter states that the information has been confirmed by “many sources” and that the decision to make the switch has already been made. Note that Penter does not specifically refer to Halo Infinite making the jump to Unreal, but rather Halo as a franchise. That means Halo Infinite could be sticking with Slipspace (and very likely is), but future installments could operate on Unreal.

Penter’s tweet comes in response to speculation surrounding Halo Infinite co-developer Certain Affinity, which is working on a major new mode (that could possibly be a battle royale) for Halo Infinite that is rumored to operate on Unreal and not Slipspace. However, no concrete details about the mode, its engine, or how it will relate to Halo Infinite have been made official just yet.

343 converting Halo Infinite itself to run on Unreal seems unlikely, as it would likely result in 343 having to redo a lot of the work it has done over the past few years. For what it’s worth, the Halo Leaks Twitter account (which frequently shares looks at cut Halo Infinite features or teases upcoming ones) believes from what it has seen that Certain Affinity could use Unreal engine for its new mode, but that it doesn’t believe 343 Industries itself will make the switch. Windows Central reports it has heard Certain Affinity’s Halo project might not run on Slipspace and that Halo in the future could move to Unreal, seeming to add some credibility to Penter’s statements.

Slipspace infamously took years to develop, and is one of the core reasons for the long, six-year wait between Halo 5: Guardians and Halo Infinite. In theory, shifting over to a more widely used game engine like Unreal could potentially solve some of 343’s production woes. 343 publicly committed to a 10-year-plan for Halo Infinite, but nearly a year into that plan, it seems up for debate on whether or not 343 can pull it off. Frequent content delays and infrequent updates have led to frustration within the game’s community.

Halo Infinite suffered a year long delay just months before its planned November 2020 launch, and when it did finally arrive a year later, it did so without core features like Forge and co-op. Halo Infinite’s multiplayer content updates have also been delayed on multiple occasions, and when they do arrive, fans have found them to be sparse on new content. The game’s third multiplayer season, which is set to introduce new maps, weapons, and more, was recently delayed to March 2023. 343 recently made the decision to cut the game’s previously promised splitscreen co-op feature, saying it needed to reallocate its priorities.

The rumors about the switch to Unreal come as 343 Industries experiences a leadership shakeup, with studio head Bonnie Ross recently stepping down from the developer after 15 years. The lead engineer behind the Slipspace engine, David Berger, also recently departed the studio.

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