Halo Infinite Release Date and 10 Things We're Excited For

Halo, Halo Infinite, FPS, open world games, RPG
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Blasting aliens and reigniting ancient weapon arrays is about to make a return. 

As we near the holiday season, that means one thing: blockbuster releases. This year marks the 19th anniversary since Halo Combat Evolved was released as the first-gen Xbox’s companion title and the excitement for the next installment in the Halo franchise has yet to die down. Currently, Halo Infinite is scheduled for release in Q4 and no date has been specified, even after the July 23rd Xbox Games Showcase. In the meantime, 343 Industries has provided us with only two brief trailers from E3’s 2018 and 2019 conferences as well as a tweet teasing a potential campaign plot and a campaign demo at the Xbox Games Showcase.

Until the game’s release, here are 10 things we are most excited about Halo Infinite.

1. The Campaign

Master Chief visits an all too familiar room to Halo veterans, but what's up with that Halo ring?

Halo’s history as a franchise has always had its roots in the campaign and story telling. 

From the moment we stepped foot onto the first Halo ring, to watching Cortana destroy the universe because of a personality change, we’ve witnessed countless characters, side stories, and events that have dictated our experience with the campaign. But what about Halo Infinite’s campaign has us hopeful?

  • It can’t get worse than Halo 5: Guardians! If you liked Halo 5’s campaign, there’s a good chance you’re in the minority. The campaign followed very shoddy advertising of “Hunt the Truth” while the actual campaign had a very uncompelling cops and robbers storyline. All sorts of gamers were disappointed in the inconsistent, incoherent, writing while shoving new characters down our throats. Fortunately, 343 Industries has promised a “spiritual reboot” and a focus on Master Chief as our main protagonist.
  • Remember when you took your first steps on Halo? 343 Industries has confirmed we are on Zeta Halo, which is the last standing Halo ring from the original array. Our journey back to a Halo ring has promising opportunities of mystery, intrigue, and nostalgia. 
  • With confirmation that the Banished are our formidable foes, this is a good chance to rewrite our main enemies while maintaining or bringing back old ones. Many considered the Prometheans and the Didact to be hollow in design, thus bringing back the remnant species of the Covenant through a separatist faction known as the Banished allows us to dive into more lore of intergalactic beings while maintaining some familiarity (*cough* the Flood *cough*).
  • 343 Industries recently confirmed that Halo Infinite will be the last Halo iteration for the foreseeable future, but promised to build on the Halo Infinite platform. This means we keep getting more and more storylines indefinitely.

2. The New Slipspace Engine

Halo Infinite's tease with the Slipspace engine revealed vast landscapes with details we've only dreamed about.

Advances to gaming engines are not something casual gamers will care much about, but to die hard gamers, we all know an engine can make or break a game. Halo 5 blessed us with the ability to game in 60 frames per second, but it still ran on older architecture that was retooled in order to be compatible with the Xbox One console. Today, Halo Infinite is being developed on the Slipspace engine teased in its 2018 E3 release trailer. But what does this actually mean?

  • Creative director Frank O’Connor described the engine’s function briefly in an interview. He stated “We had to create an engine that was more powerful for next-generation development, but also more nimble, so the creatives and engineers are able to work more easily and iterate faster.” As we saw from the Xbox Games Showcase demo, this is easily the most expansive and intensive Halo game we’ve seen to date. Here’s the link to the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybmy2HfNfbs&feature=emb_title
  • Because of Halo Infinite’s ever expansive campaign model, 343 Industries needs to be able to accommodate the load. By having this engine, we are probably in for a large scale environment filled with new activities, environments, and mechanics; all this is going to require a more powerful engine.

3. ​The Multiplayer

Halo 5: Guardians had a very polarizing multiplayer experience. What can 343 Industries take from community feedback?

There’s no denying the impact that the Halo franchise has had on the multiplayer FPS community. Its arena style shooting style where players have to obtain their power weapons and upgrades results in micromanaging spawn times of sniper rifles while perfecting their shot with the battle rifle. However, recently the community has been in an uproar with regards to the multiplayer philosophy. But what makes us optimistic about Halo Infinite’s multiplayer?

  • The decision to include a sprint mechanic for the past few Halo games has divided the fan base severely. Some argue it ruins the core identity of Halo, while others find it necessary to modernize the game. From the campaign demo, 343 Industries has balanced our complaints by including sprint but at a significantly reduced speed. This means you can still use this ability strategically, though its effectiveness requires more discipline.
  • A “spiritual reboot” should apply to multiplayer as well. Halo began to lose its multiplayer identity when Halo Reach launched, but it ultimately dissolved when 343 Industries took command of the franchise. The facets that made gamers fall in love with Halo revolved around battle rifles, grenades, and strafing. Fortunately, 343 Industries’ commitment to the Master Chief Collection means they respect the past while moving the franchise ahead. For more speculation, check out this video from YouTuber HiddenXperia where he speculates that 343 Industries has been “beta testing” some multiplayer ideas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AejyTfpPG6s

4. The Return of the "Old" Art Style

Elites definitely had better days pre-343 Industries design. A Halo 4 Elite is depicted center left compared to a Halo Reach Elite depicted center right.

When putting the Reclaimer Saga and the original Halo trilogy side by side, it’s easy to tell something might’ve gone drastically wrong. Elites have had their majestic nature subdued, grunts have grown more feral, though jackals more or less stayed the same. What happened to Halo and why does it look so different?

  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Halo has always looked good, regardless of its art style. Oftentimes we forget that Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians were beautiful games with beautiful environments; we simply didn’t like how the finer details were illustrated. A character is delineated by how they look, and 343 Industries effectively unfamiliarized Elites and Grunts, making us disconnected with the Halo franchise. Fortunately, the new gameplay trailer showed us recognizable Elites, but there were still plenty of gripes that fans had in regards to the demo not “appearing” next gen. Why does the game look like it was developed on Windows 98?

5. The Classic Halo Music

Remember the final battle on the mission "The Covenant"? You can probably thank the music for that one.

The departure of legendary composer Martin O’Donnell from both the Halo franchise and Bungie as a whole was met with controversy. As a recent interview by aforementioned YouTuber HiddenXperia explained, Marty put the integrity of the game and the studio’s independence first and fought with executive decisions made when Bungie came into partnership with Activision. Despite Marty’s absence, the most iconic moments in Halo Infinite’s reveal was the music in both the 2018 E3 reveal and the recent campaign demo.

  • Halo’s Gregorian chant theme has stood the test of time and is still one of the most popular tunes in games. 343’s decision to reconcile players with their roots falls perfectly in line with bringing players back to a Halo ring. You might call nostalgia a cheap tactic, but I call it making a good Halo game.
  • Halo’s theme is memorable. This will help us remember the experiences we have in Halo Infinite. I couldn’t tell you major events that I recalled from the past two Halo titles, and I bet that largely has to do with the music. Why do we get so hyped when Captain America rallies The Avengers against Thanos? Or when King Theoden charges against Sauron’s forces on Pelennor Fields? It’s the music! I don’t know about you but Master Chief deserves his music when leading his one man army against the Banished.

6. Elites

Halo's Elites have come a long way since Combat Evolved. It's time we stick by our buddies once again.

Do you classic Halo players miss the “wort, wort, wort” of your fellow Elites? Somewhere, somehow, Elites have risen from bombastic foe to our loyal counterparts. Their four-mandibled mouths to their rebellion against The Covenant have made them our best friends and Halo 3 gave us the ability to play as Elites in multiplayer! Now with Halo Infinite on the horizon, it sounds like we’re going to be buddying up with them once again.

  • Elites are a novelty. They simply offer a different perspective on our gameplay experience. Something about teaming up with our former enemies has somehow made them our best friends and missing out on their loyalty for the past few titles has generated a gaping void in our hearts. Remember the classic YouTube series Arby ‘n the Chief? We need THAT friendship in our campaign experience again.
  • Playing as Elites has been a loveable facet of Halo 3 and Halo Reach. Despite the two being vastly different, it gives players more diversity in how they want to customize their characters. More customization has never hurt the player base, and giving gamers a fan service of playable Elites will help 343 Industries regain its shrinking fandom.

7. ... and Brutes!

Atriox leads his Banished forces. What're the chances we meet him again in Halo Infinite?

Perhaps the most eventful tease 343 Industries has released thus far was a cryptic tweet on their Twitter page. The tease was a brief video of a message decryption that resulted in the words, “... we are The Banished.” If you’re unfamiliar, The Banished are a coalition of Brutes formed by Atriox. They separated from The Covenant long before the Schism that took place in Halo 2 and Halo 3 and were the primary faction in the RTS game Halo Wars 2. This leak might just relate to a new Halo Wars title or IP, but with all the language regarding a spiritual reboot, wouldn’t it make sense that we bring back our fuzzy foes as well?  

  • The Banished have easily been the most compelling enemies we’ve faced from the Reclaimer Saga thus far. Despite our main baddie not being Atriox, we have to deal with a (poorly pixelated) Brute named Escharum. His vengeance against the Master Chief has made us feel unsafe for the first time ever, and a brief glimpse in the UNSC Infinity’s forces being wiped out on a display map makes us feel more alone than ever. Instead of our enemies being hellbent on a religious journey, we are not being hunted by one of the largest separatist factions ever. Start hiding, gamers.
  • Brutes have been a natural counterpart to Elites since Halo 2, and their playstyle reflects that. They are very hard headed, hairy, and, well, brutish. Brutes are a bullet sponge for us to abuse and provide diversity in the enemies we face. After fighting the same Prometheans over and over again, 343 Industries has nothing to lose by introducing another enemy type that we’re familiar with.

8. Focus on the Master Chief

It's time to don the helmet again. 

The last installment of Halo 5: Guardians introduced a new Spartan team composed of some new and one familiar face. The campaign progressed with this newly formed Fireteam Osiris and alternated between their storyline and Blue Team’s story line. This back and forth character swap is not new; Halo 2 did a similar thing with the Arbiter and the Master Chief. Why should we go back to the Master Chief though?

  • Spartan Locke was boring. We had little to no introduction to his character and our only experience with him is a brainwashed ONI Spartan devoted to hunting our beloved John-117. 
  • Our last satisfying experience with the Master Chief was arguably in Halo 3. Halo 4 gave us a campaign focused on Master Chief, but our overall experience with the storyline and how his character was handled left much to be desired, only to be disappointed with Halo 5: Guardians. By the time Halo Infinite releases, it would have been 13 years since we had a good experience with the Master Chief.
  • 343 Industries’ “spiritual reboot” can’t be very effective without focusing on one of the most recognizable faces in gaming history. Being a superhuman killing machine is part of what made the Halo games so enjoyable to play and being able to single-handedly square off against massive Brute forces won’t be as enjoyable if you aren’t conducting it as John-117.

9. Halo on PC

Cortana and Master Chief share a moment in Halo 2 Anniversary. 343 Industries has learned how to port their games from consoles to PC.

Now before I turn this into a console war, hear me out about Halo on PC.

Recently, the Halo: Master Chief Collection has been slowly ported to the PC platform in order to prevent the launch catastrophe of its Xbox release. The port was introduced with beta testing (called “flights”) and feedback from the community was used to fix any potential issues with it. The reception of the port has been slightly divided, but it provided 343 Industries with something valuable: experience. This is good news for those of us who like to game on PC, but why should we be so excited about it when Xbox Series X is on the horizon?

  • Despite Xbox Series X potentially being able to run Halo Infinite at 4K and 60 FPS, the console is capped in its potential. Dedicated PC gamers often boast about their ability to get 150 frames while gaming at 1440p resolution, and that should not be overlooked. Allowing gamers to push the limits of Halo Infinite should be encouraged.
  • Since PC hardware is so dynamic, the rendering capabilities of a video game are vastly improved. Imagine being able to see the vast environments of Halo Infinite in the highest quality you could obtain due to your beefy RTX 2080 Ti.
  • One word, two syllables: modding. PC gamers have vast opportunities to mod their games, and if 343 Industries allows gamers more flexibility than restrictions, one could imagine Skyrim-level capabilities of modding to a Halo game. The possibilities are endless.

10. An Ever Expansive Platform

Halo Infinite's map resembles many RPG maps we've experienced. How will it change as our world changes?

For the (second?) in Halo’s history, we are not getting linear campaign experiences. With Halo’s introduction of an open-world environment, 343 Industries has explained that Halo Infinite will not see a numerical sequel for the indefinite future, and promises to expand on this platform for a long time.

  • Remember Destiny? That game follows a similar gaming philosophy of a dynamic gaming world, and that title has stayed relevant for six years. Providing regular content updates for Halo Infinite should guarantee its survival for its player base for years to come.
  • By providing content updates, 343 Industries can essentially change the game’s identity and mechanics however they see fit. This could be good or bad, but it’s likely that 343 will use this opportunity to provide live feedback to what the community wants. With 343 Industries’ recent investment into community feedback, we could be seeing a Halo game built by our desires very soon.
  • And those are the top 10 things we are the most excited for! What do you think? What are you looking forward to most in Halo Infinite?

 

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Shoot first, ask questions later only dictates my mindset in video games. I promise!
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Destiny 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:Bioshock Infinite, Borderlands 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn
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