The numbers of players participating in Forge thus far is significant: 27 million custom matches; 2 million user-generated creations; 40+ user-generated maps have even been added to public matchmaking playlists;. These numbers are telling in that the health of the Halo Infinite community — in particular the Forge community — is incredibly strong nearly two years after release, and nearly one year since Forge dropped.
“It seems like every day on Twitter I see something new. Or at least once a week I see a pretty major map release,” says Schorr. “People announcing it and tagging me in those. I see a lot of it. And it’s not just ‘Hey, I made a box with a ladder in it.’ These are dev-quality creations.”
“Those 40 [user-generated] maps we’ve added [through Forge], each one is on par with our dev-quality maps and that’s what we’re adding into matchmaking,” Kennelly adds. “That’s like a six-month project for a lot of people. The fact there’s so many… we’ve had 24 to 30 maps from just the studio. The point is, we’ve already seen the community in the last 11 months produce even more maps than we’ve produced to date and they’re incredible and it just keeps going.”
All this points to an obvious influence that Forge can have on not just players, but future game designers as well – if you know how to use Forge, you know how to use just about any internal level creation tool. And now, coupled with the Forge AI Toolkit, it’s easy to imagine how robust some portfolios might become in the coming months. In fact, many Forge level designers are now employed by 343 Industries, including Kennelly himself.
“I know a lot of folks who got their start Forging in older Halos and learned basic level design. That can help make an amateur portfolio,” shares Kennelly. “My big interview here was, ‘Here’s all the stuff I Forged, the professional skills I have…’ It’s really cool to see that pipeline. I know folks that work at other companies that got started [in Forge] as well. It’s a cool way to get your feet wet in the [game] industry. What I really love about Forge is, specifically, you have an existing player base. If you go and make your game and engine, you can get maybe five or ten play testers. With Forge you can just put it up in the custom browser, you can get players, find other Forgers, and then your content can get a lot better. I’m super passionate about that.”