While we’re getting six more weeks of winter IRL, Halo Infinite’s most frigid cold snap is coming to an end. Today, developer 343 Industries rolled out a hotfix for the multiplayer shooter’s long-troubled Big Team Battle playlist. Don’t look now — and I sincerely hope writing about it doesn’t jinx things — but it seems to have actually done the trick.
Halo Infinite’s multiplayer launched in November for Xbox and PC featuring a handful of modes, with Big Team Battle propped up as a marquee. A mainstay of Halo, historically pitting larger-than-normal teams against each other on larger-than-normal maps, 343 Industries expanded the mode for Infinite, kicking the roster size up to 12 players per team.
During Infinite’s initial explosion in popularity, Big Team Battle was the go-to mode. It was an absolute blast: Seemingly everyone with a controller was playing, way too many people to fit into a four-person party for Quick Play matches, so you’d get these infectiously buzzy Discord calls full of six, seven, hell, a dozen friends at once. As GamesRadar+’s Alyssa Mercante wrote, playing Halo Infinite at launch felt like stepping through a wormhole into 2007.
But somewhere along the way, Big Team Battle just…broke. Folks had trouble getting into matches. When they’d succeed in finding one, they’d stand a high chance of getting kicked, or losing a bunch of their teammates. There’s no specific date for when problems started. (Polygon notes that problems started sometime during the week of December 13.) And the reason for why everything went haywire is still foggy; problems with Big Team Battle didn’t follow some massive patch or content update or anything of that sort, and 343 hasn’t issued a detailed assessment publicly.
Players weren’t irked because the mode itself was broken, though that of course was a point of contention. Players were upset that weekly challenges related to Big Team Battle continued to show up in rotation. Obviously, you can’t complete challenges for a mode that doesn’t work, so battle pass completionists were forced to burn challenge swaps — single-use items that allow you to change one of your weekly challenges — to cycle in objectives for modes they could actually play. You earn some via Halo Infinite’s battle pass, but it’s a fixed amount. If you used them all and want more, you’d have to fork over real-world money in Halo Infinite’s microtransaction store (or head to the bodega for a can of Pringles).
In January, following the cool “Winter Contingency” event and right as the slightly cooler “Cyber Showdown” one started, 343 Industries rolled out a hotfix intended to address woes with Big Team Battle. It did not work. Today’s, however, seems to have done the trick.
“It’s looking good right now [smiling-face-with-halo emoji],” Halo senior community manager John Junyszek wrote on Twitter, about half an hour after the update went live. Good news for the one fan who, just last night, said they’d “call off work and spend the whole day crying in the shower” if the fix didn’t work.
I played a handful of games this afternoon — y’know, just to make sure — and found it just as easy to hop into matches of Big Team Battle as any other playlist. So far, the general response from players seems optimistic, if cautiously. (Random aside: The sheer amount of “Let’s goooooooooooo!” memes in response to the official announcement is enough to last me all year, folks.) On ResetEra, the popular gaming forum, players responded to the initial, semi-viral thread about BTB’s busted first hotfix with a wave of responses about how this second one has seemed to fix things. To quote one poster, “Fun is back on the menu!”
Today’s update also included some tweaks to Big Team Battle, ramping up the spawn rates of wraith and scorpion tanks and increasing the on-screen visibility of your fireteam. As for the BTB-themed challenges, well, they’re definitely not coming back this week. (All of your weeklies were determined two days ago.) And it’s uncertain if they’ll make a comeback next week. Representatives for Microsoft, Halo Infinite’s publisher, did not respond to a request for comment.
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