In my actual job, I deal with outsourced resources all the time. Matter of fact, I work for a company that specializes in outsourcing. It’s pretty funny because large global companies will hire my company to handle a project, and in turn, we will outsource some components to someone else.
As you can imagine, this can be a complex game to keep various teams and resources aligned. Now imagine doing this on an AAA title like Halo Infinite.
Outsourcing is nothing new actually, and it is used all the time in large projects in all areas of business. Software development in particular can benefit greatly from outsourcing. However, and I speak from experience, too many teams, working on too many work streams, can lead to a tremendous amount of inefficiency.
Senior management often thinks that you can speed up development by throwing as much staff onto a project as possible, but you do reach a point when too much staff hinders development. It’s a matter of too many cooks in the kitchen, stepping on each others toes.
Brad Sams of Thurrott.com has put together an excellent and exhaustive report on the matter from an insider within the studio.
One of the challenges of building Halo Infinite is that a significant portion of the game is being outsourced to third-party contractors. This is not all that unusual but the coordination between the many different companies contributing to Infinite has been rough, at best. One person familiar with the company’s plans indicated that they believed the out-sourcing for Infinite was at a ratio higher than a typical studio undertakes during development which has caused significant headaches for cross-development collaboration.Thurrott.com
There are other issues as well outside of resourcing. Another area are disconnects between marketing and engineering, which is also noting new in software development.
Turns out that development has been pushing for more time, while marketing is pushing to launch as quickly as possible. This is a moot point now, since Halo Infinite is no longer a launch title.
However, the insider added to Thurrott that game development has also been impacted by the production of the Halo TV series for Showtime. Apparently management has been more focused on the show rather than the game.
Hopefully with the announced delay, this gives development, marketing, and management the opportunity to focus, align, and get on track.