With several years since the last major Halo game, it's time to start looking forward to the franchise's future. Microsoft's beloved first-person shooter series is due for a new entry, with development underway behind closed doors. Halo Infinite's showing at E3 2019 didn't reveal a lot, but there's still plenty of information that we do have.
Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for previous Halo titles.
Halo Infinite: Development and reveal
Halo Infinite is the next major entry to the main line of Halo games, following on from 2015's Halo 5: Guardians. The game's debut trailer opened Microsoft's E3 2018 press conference, providing the first look at the Master Chief in three years. We then got another new trailer during E3 2019 that gave us a much closer look at Chief's new armor and introduced some small story hints.
With the Halo franchise assigned to 343 Industries after Bungie's shift to Destiny, Halo Infinite will also be developed solely under the same roof. Based in Seattle, Washington, 343 Industries remains one of Microsoft's flagship game development studios, having worked on Halo 4, Halo 5: Guardians and Halo Wars 2, among other titles. Comprised of hundreds of employees, including veterans of Halo franchise, the team houses a powerhouse of talent in the first-person shooter space.
Halo Infinite is built on the new "Slipspace Engine," developed internally at the studio alongside the game. The in-engine reveal trailer focused heavily on showcasing its potential, indicating the game will offer a significant visual upgrade over previous titles.
Halo Infinite: Story
Halo Infinite will follow the story that begun in Halo 5: Guardians, in which Cortana returned with an army of ancient and powerful Forerunner war machines called Guardians, which she began to use to force the galaxy into submission. It's unclear what exactly the plot may be, but fans theorize that the game may take place on Zeta Halo, one of the remaining Halo rings, based on several various details found in the original reveal trailer. In addition, in the E3 2019 trailer for Halo Infinite, Master Chief was rescued from the vacuum of space by a stranded Pelican pilot. The pilot then proceeded to show him a view of a partially destroyed Halo ring through the cockpit and tells Master Chief that "we lost," which may indicate that we're going to start the game in the aftermath of a battle that occurs between the UNSC and Cortana's Guardians and Prometheans. The trailer also ends with a short speech from Cortana to Chief, which heavily implies that the story will features the two characters interacting with each other in important ways.
Speaking with GamesTM magazine, Frank O'Connor admitted the studio received "some digs for storytelling in Halo 5," indicating a new approach for its successor. Expanding, O'Connor acknowledged fans generally "wanted more Chief," after Halo 5's focus on Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris. At the reveal, Microsoft once again emphasized Chief will play a key role in the title, and the two trailers we have so far seem to confirm this as the case as they primarily focus on the Spartan.
Halo Infinite: Gameplay
As seen in previous games, Halo Infinite is expected to stick to the FPS gameplay formula that makes the series unique. From tight, responsive gameplay to slow times to kill, the core values of the Halo will likely be adopted, while evolving with new ideas.
While Halo 5: Guardians brought cutting-edge visuals to the Halo franchise, sacrifices were also made to achieve this. Local split-screen multiplayer was controversially axed, removing the social living room experience cherished by long-term fans. Speaking at DICE Summit in 2017, studio head Bonnie Ross discussed painful learning experiences, stating that future entries will "always have split-screen going forward." Assuming 343 Industries still adheres to this approach, Halo Infinite will mark the feature's return.
Halo Infinite: Release date and pricing
At E3 2019, it was revealed that Halo Infinite would launch in Holiday 2020 alongside the new Xbox console, which is codenamed "Scarlett." We don't have an exact launch date just yet, however. As the new console is said to support ray tracing and up to 8K resolution, it's likely that Halo Infinite will have these features. It will also be available on all Xbox One family consoles, as well as on PC via the Microsoft Store.
Like most big-budget games, Halo Infinite is expected to cost $59.99 at launch across all platforms. The game will also be available with an Xbox Game Pass subscription like other first-party titles from Microsoft. In line with many of Microsoft's "games-as-a-service" titles, also expect regular updates and content drops in the months, or years, following release.
An infinite wait lies ahead
Details on Halo Infinite may currently be limited but keep an eye out for further information in the months ahead. What are you looking for from the next Halo game? Drop into the comments section with your thoughts.
Updated June 9, 2019: Added details on Halo Infinite following its latest trailer and information from E3 2019.
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