Halo Infinite is the long-anticipated sequel to 2015’s Halo 5: Guardians, first announced during Microsoft’s 2018 E3 press conference.
343 Industries are leading the development process for the game, which will mark their third instalment in the long-running Halo franchise — and it will also form part of the Reclaimer Saga, which began with 2012’s Halo 4.
In an interview with IGN, Bonnie Ross (the head of 343) described Halo Infinite as a ‘spiritual reboot’ of sorts for the Halo video game franchise.
This is quite a vague statement, but the implication is that Halo Infinite will be attempting to recapture the magic of the original games, combining everything the studio has learnt through developing their previous two entries.
The End Of The Reclaimer Saga?
As the third entry in the Halo franchise to be developed by 343, Halo Infinite was originally supposed to cap off the so-termed ‘Reclaimer Trilogy’.
However, as confirmed by Microsoft in an interview with GameSpot, this idea was scrapped, instead opting to call it the ‘Reclaimer Saga’. The thought process behind this decision was to allow the story to progress beyond three games.
As such, Halo Infinite is a continuation of an on-going story, creating its own mysteries to be explored in the future. Don’t expect every plot thread to be wrapped up by the time the credits roll.
What Will The Game Be About?
Halo Infinite will shift the focus back to the legendary Master Chief, after previously being demoted to co-protagonist in Halo 5: Guardians, with Spartan Locke (one of the elite soldiers created by the SPARTAN-IV program) being the predominant focus of that story.
This new campaign is said to be several times larger than the last two games put together, according to an interview with IGN.
We don’t know a whole lot about plot specifics, but the game will kick off three years after Guardians.
If you remember back to the previous game, Chief’s ever-loyal AI companion, Cortana, was seemingly set up as the antagonist.
Her role has not been discussed by the developers, but a secret audio clip was found through a QR code in the E3 2019 trailer, hinting that she still has a larger part to play in the narrative.
What we do know is that Chief starts the game drifting through space, where he is roused from his emergency cryosleep by a roaming pilot.
Together, the pair set out to explore a broken Halo ring, crashing on its surface.
Within this new environment, Chief will be taking on a rogue faction of the Covenant, known as the Banished. This group was first introduced in Halo Wars 2 (released in 2017), so if you’ve played that game, you will likely recognise them already.
However, they are led by a new villain, War Chief Escharum, who is prepared to make his last stand against Chief after having seemingly decimated the UNSC forces.
How Has The Gameplay Been Improved?
The core gameplay appears to be remaining faithful to previous entries, including many of the weapon archetypes and abilities we have become familiar with over the years.
However, the developers have made the bold decision to include a grappling hook. This is usable on both enemies and the environment.
And it looks like we will need it, because the world of Halo Infinite is much larger than its predecessors. Specifically, it is being described as open world–esque, with multiple objectives dotted around the map.
Halo has always been known for being quite open ended, but this entry is taking that concept to a new level, being decidedly less linear.
The new Halo ring map will include a fully functional day and night cycle, and wildlife will also populate the lush environments – as seen in the trailers.
Joining these friendly creatures will be the less-friendly Banished, who are said to be an evolution of the Covenant. As such, there are many enemy archetypes returning, including Brutes, Grunts, Jackals, and Elite.
It is also worth mentioning that the new game engine being used by 343, ‘Slipspace’, will supposedly allow the developers to introduce new gameplay features down the line.
What Can We Expect From Multiplayer?
Players will be happy to know that ‘couch coop’ has returned, with two players able to play locally in split-screen. And you can, likewise, play with up to four other players in online coop.
Forge mode is also back, allowing players to create their own unique multiplayer maps. Veteran Halo fans will be happy to know that an undo/redo feature is being added.
However, if you were hoping for the inclusion of a battle royale mode, 343 have no plans to add one right now. But they have not ruled out a similar mode being introduced down the line.
You may get the opportunity to explore some of these new features for yourself in the near future, as 343 has made it clear they intend to test the game alongside the community, though not within a limited-time beta.
And if you are wondering, there will be microtransactions. But loot boxes are confirmed not to be in the game.
Further details about the multiplayer are still sparse, but 343 did reveal that they were contemplating releasing Halo Infinite in two parts: campaign and multiplayer.
This would have allowed them to meet their 2020 launch date. But they (smartly) opted against this decision, feeling that it didn’t align with what they wanted for the Halo franchise.
When Is The Halo Infinite Release Date?
The Halo Infinite release date was originally set to coincide with the launch of the new Xbox consoles (Xbox Series X/S) on 10th November 2020. However, the game has since been delayed.
It has been confirmed by the community director at 343, Brian Jarrard, that they haven’t locked in a definite new Halo Infinite release date. But the game is expected to arrive sometime in 2021.
What Consoles Will It Be Available On?
Halo Infinite will launch for both the new Xbox Series X/S and the older Xbox One, and it will also be coming to PC.
It is worth mentioning that the game will use Microsoft’s new Smart Delivery system, implemented with their Xbox Game Studios titles. This means that if you buy the game once, no matter which iteration of the Xbox it is purchased for, you will own it on all your Xbox consoles – whether that be Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and so on.
Additionally, the game will be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch.
The Future Of The Halo Franchise
In an interview with IGN, 343 Studio Head Chris Lee expressed that Halo Infinite would be the last instalment in the franchise for the foreseeable future.
Apparently, the intention is to build upon the foundation of Infinite to grow the series over the next ten years. How exactly this will work is a mystery, but this does imply that a follow-up game is off the table — at least for now.
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