What you need to know
- At the time of writing, Halo Infinite has passed Destiny 2 on the official list of most played Xbox games in the United States. Halo is now at #16, and Destiny is now #17.
- Even though Destiny 2 is experiencing a bit of a rough patch, this nevertheless indicates that Halo Infinite is enjoying some improved success right now.
- This is due to everything added in Season 5: Reckoning, including campaign AI in Forge, new maps, a new game mode, the ability to earn Battle Pass XP in Custom Games, and more.
- Since its release in late 2021, Halo Infinite has struggled to keep players engaged with post-launch updates. The success of Season 5 suggests that things may finally be looking up, though.
At the time of writing, Halo Infinite has surpassed Bungie's space fantasy looter shooter Destiny 2 on the official most played Xbox games list in the United States, with the former at #16 and the latter now at #17. This is the first time I've seen this happen since the launch period for Microsoft and 343 Industries' live service FPS in late 2021, and it's indicative of the improved success that Halo Infinite is currently enjoying.
The increase in player interest is owed to Season 5: Reckoning, which kicked off last month on October 17. By far, its most exciting addition is the power to create custom PvE experiences by plonking down campaign AI in Forge. On top of that, though, there's a pair of new Arena maps, fresh Forge canvases and items, the return of the fan-favorite Halo 4 mode Extraction (deploy and protect extraction sites to score points), and more, including Master Chief's armor as a reward for reaching Hero rank and the ability to earn Battle Pass XP in Custom Games. Oh, and you can finally wear any helmet on any armor core. Let me do that with all my armor, please.
It's all great stuff, and there's more coming, too — an official King of the Hill-based PvE Firefight mode is slated to come before the season ends on January 30, as is a shield and vehicle-regenerating equipment piece called the Repair Field. There's also a pair of "Operation" events, one of which is active from now until December 19 and features 20 tiers of free rewards to earn, as well as a "Halo 3 Refueled" matchmaking playlist with community-made remakes of beloved Halo 3 maps.
It's important to note that Destiny 2 is going through a rough patch right now, as its player count has fallen to an all-time low due to a myriad of issues with the game's latest expansion and its core systems. It's also the end of Season of the Witch, so some players are undoubtedly checking out other games until Season of the Wish starts on Tuesday. But even so, it's impressive to see Halo Infinite top it on Xbox at all, even if that lead doesn't last for more than a few days.
Indeed, it's a good sign that things are finally looking up for Halo, which has struggled to keep fans engaged throughout the two years since its release. For the first time in a long time, I actually feel compelled to jump in and check out what's new, and based on the game's steadily rising player count on both Xbox and the Steam Charts, I'm not the only one.
To be clear, it's still not all sunshine and rainbows for Halo Infinite — Custom Games bug out pretty often, armor customization still feels lacking due to the continued existence of the restrictive armor core system, and prices in the microtransaction shop are often a bit much. But it's getting there. And hopefully things only continue to get better in 2024 and beyond.
Halo Infinite multiplayer is free-to-play, while its campaign is $60 (but often much cheaper) on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows PCs. Notably, you can also play it through any tier of Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass service.
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