Updated June 24, 2021: Added more details about the multiplayer seasons and Halo Infinite's first season, Heroes of Reach.
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 since then, much about the game has been unveiled, and more information is coming soon. Based on what we've seen so far, we're incredibly excited, as there's serious potential for Halo Infinite to be one of the best Xbox games of all time. Here's an overview of everything we know about Halo Infinite so far, including story and gameplay details, multiplayer features, trailers and screenshots, and more.
Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for previous Halo titles.
Halo Infinite development and reveal
Halo Infinite is the next major entry to the mainline 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. Then, during the Xbox Series X July event on July 23, 2020, the first ever gameplay footage of Halo Infinite was presented.
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. 343 industries has also stated that the Halo Insider Program will be used for public tests of Halo Infinite before it launches.
Halo Infinite's campaign is being led by Joseph Staten, a Halo series veteran who has worked on the original games made by Bungie extensively. Meanwhile, the multiplayer is being led by Pierre Hintze, who has previously served as the head of publishing for Halo: The Master Chief Collection. In terms of music, Halo Infinite is being scored by Gareth Coker, Curtis Schweitzer, and Joel Corelitz. The former composed for Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Schweitzer has worked on games like Starbound before, and the latter contributed to the soundtrack of Death Stranding. Three sample tracks have been released so far: Gareth Coker's "Set a Fire in Your Heart," Curtis Schweitzer's "Reverie," and Joel Corelitz' "Through the Trees." Several other potential Halo Infinite tracks were also discovered in marketing videos on a toy website.
Following news of Halo Infinite's original lead Chris Lee resigning, 343 Industries has launched a new series of blog posts called "Inside Infinite," which are intended to provide fans with a closer look at the development of the game. The first of these articles was released on December 8, 2020.
Halo Infinite story and setting so far
Halo Infinite will follow the story that began 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 precisely the plot may be, but we do know that the game will take place on Zeta Halo, which is one of the remaining Halo rings. Also, in the E3 2019 trailer for Halo Infinite, Master Chief was rescued from the vacuum of space by a stranded Pelican pilot. The pilot has been stated to be a juxtaposition of Master Chief; whereas he is a supersoldier, the pilot is the most "human" type of character ever created in the Halo universe. This juxtaposition between the two is sure to make for plenty of interesting moments in the story.
Later in the trailer, the pilot proceeded to show him a view of a partially destroyed Halo ring through the cockpit and tells Master Chief that "we lost," indicating that a past battle was fought over the Halo ring. The Halo Infinite gameplay shown off at the Xbox Series X July event in 2020 confirms that this battle was against the Banished faction. This faction was introduced in Halo Wars 2 and was lead by the Brute Atriox, but it appears that the Banished now have a new leader called War Chief Escharum. Additionally, the Banished are also allied with a mysterious individual or group called the Harbinger, though no information about the Harbinger is known. The Banished and the Harbinger aim to control a location called the Auditorium, which we also don't know anything about just yet. There's also a fair chance that the Flood will be present, though the evidence that supports this possibility is far from concrete.
We also know that there will be more than one named Banished foe taking on Master Chief, as 343 Industries has shared concept art of an Elite blademaster named Jega 'Rdomnai, who serves as part of the Hand of Atriox.
Speaking in an interview, Franchise Director 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 vital role in the title, and the two trailers and gameplay footage we have so far seem to confirm this as the case as they primarily focus on the Spartan.
In a new campaign trailer from the Xbox E3 2021 show, Master Chief met "The Weapon," a Cortana-like AI that claims the original Cortana has been deleted and that her directive was to infiltrate her network and prepare her for retrieval, while Chief's original mission was to then bring her back to the UNSC Infinity for deletion. It looks like The Weapon will be Chief's companion alongside the Pilot during the campaign.
Halo Infinite gameplay: What to expect
The campaign gameplay footage of Halo Infinite, shown during the Xbox Series X July event, was filled with interesting revelations. For one, the game will have an open world-style setting complete with backtracking for exploration, and players are given a full map to use for navigation. Players will also have the ability to pick and choose missions to play based on what was shown on the map screen, though it's likely that there will still be a linear story progression.
Additionally, Master Chief can now use equipment pickups such as grappling hooks or deployable shields that can be found and upgraded in the world, similar to Halo 3. In an interview with IGN, former Studio Head Chris Lee commented that "We do have a light upgrade system for Chief as he explores this ring. He'll be able to upgrade equipment items. The grapple and the drop shield that we showed are kind of in that concept of a spiritual reboot that harkens back to the equipment system in Halo 3. Those are two new equipment items that Chief will be able to find and use as you play through the game." 343 also confirmed that these items would be making their way into the multiplayer, but their implementation will be different compared to how they'll work in the campaign. Notably, locational damage may be in the game as well, as Chief is seen shooting a charging Brute's legs to force it to stop.
Finally, new weapons were shown off in the gameplay reveal, including a new UNSC rifle called the Commando and a shotgun called the Bulldog, as well as two Banished burst-fire plasma weapons, one revolver-style firearm, and a brutal anti-tank rifle called the Skewer. Following the gameplay showing, it was stated that Halo Infinite's campaign will be larger than the Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians campaigns put together. Enemies will be able to use elements of this expansive sandbox as well, so players will be kept on their toes.
Further details about the game's sandbox were provided in 343 Industries' January 2021 update. In this post, members of the studio's sandbox team explained how the overall goal with Halo Infinite's sandbox is to make each weapon, vehicle, and piece of equipment fulfill a specific role that would give the player strong and unique advantages in combat. However, the developers are balancing these sandbox elements carefully so that nothing feels overpowered and that players will ultimately have a fair chance against enemies or other players no matter what they're using. Additionally, the developers are also focusing on making each sandbox tool simple enough for beginner players to understand and benefit from, while also adding nuances to them that will allow experienced players to master the tools and gain an edge.
In the campaign, there will also be a dynamic reactive spawning system for AI that ensures the challenges you face will be appropriate for the arsenal that you're carrying. Based on information from the developers' March 2021 Inside Infinite article, there will also be a dynamic audio threat detection system that ensures the player can always hear weapons being fired directly at them loudly and clearly, as well as a custom-built acoustic system that realistically simulates how sound should travel in the game's environments. The game will even support spatial sound technologies like Dolby Atmos, which is a first for the franchise.
The world of Halo Infinite's wide-open sandbox was discussed more by 343 Industries in its February 2021 Inside Infinite update, with the ring of Zeta Halo being designed around "Legacy" and "Simplicity" and to look like the Pacific Northwest. Also, the developers have talked about how there will be a day/night cycle in place alongside different biomes that add marshy swamps, highlands, and more to Halo Infinite's overall environment. There will also be caves, abandoned bases, Forerunner structures, and more to explore as optional objectives. These areas may contain pieces of lore or caches of items to obtain, so players have good reason to seek them out as they explore.
Though split-screen for cooperative play was absent from Halo 5: Guardians, it will be present with Halo Infinite. Speaking at D.I.C.E. Summit in 2017, studio head Bonnie Ross discussed painful learning experiences, stating that future entries will "always have split-screen going forward." In Halo Infinite, players can enjoy a two-player local split-screen. Online, up to four players can play together.
In terms of customization, Halo Infinite will feature a system inspired by Halo: Reach's according to comments made in a developer stream in 2019. This will be good news for most Halo fans, as Halo: Reach's armor customization is often thought to be the best in the series. In addition to this, Halo Infinite will also feature a "coating" system that allows players to apply a set of colors and textures to their armors, weapons, and vehicles. Notably, 343 Industries has confirmed that there won't be any "loot boxes or randomness" present with Halo Infinite's various rewards, and there won't be any for the gameplay systems either.
Halo Infinite multiplayer: What's new and going free-to-play
343 Industries' approach to Halo Infinite as a whole appears to be returning the series to its sandbox-focused roots, and we expect that that will be the case in the multiplayer as well. This means that the multiplayer will likely be less like the "advanced mobility" style from Halo 5: Guardians that was focused on intrinsic player abilities and more like the Halo 2 and Halo 3 multiplayer experience where the weapons and vehicles present on each map were more impactful and influential on the outcome of a match.
Something we do know is that much like Halo 3's equipment system, Halo Infinite will allow you to use pickups like the grappling hook or deployable cover in multiplayer. These tools will give players new and exciting ways to turn the tables on their opponents and will add flavor to Halo's core "Golden Triangle" — Guns, Grenades, and Melee.
Additionally, 343 Industries has stated that Halo Infinite's multiplayer will be free-to-play, which is a first for the series. This move will allow anyone with an Xbox console or a PC to play the game, which will no doubt help it gain popularity as long as the gameplay experience is enjoyable. The multiplayer for Halo Infinite is capable of running at 120 FPS on Xbox Series X (and presumably PC, too), which will surely attract competitive players to the game.
On June 13, 2021, 343 Industries has revealed details for the multiplayer component along with a trailer for Halo Infinite during 2021's E3. It showcases the traditional Arena mode and the new Big Team Battle mode which will support up to 24 players, the largest amount of player combatants in a Halo game yet. And it has been confirmed it will be free-to-play.
In a couple of aftershow blog posts, 343 Industries has also stated that the multiplayer mode with feature AI bots to help players practice in training modes and fill in spots during custom games and that they are removing team colors.
The developers have also announced that Halo Infinite's first multiplayer season will be titled Heroes of Reach, which will likely focus primarily on Halo: Reach-themed characters and cosmetics. Each multiplayer season will also last roughly three months and will feature numerous avenues in which players can acquire rewards, including the free and paid battle pass track, challenges, event participation, campaign actions, and more.
Will Halo Infinite have a battle royale mode?
With the popularity of the battle royale multiplayer genre soaring in recent years, many fans have wondered whether Halo Infinite will feature a battle royale mode alongside traditional Halo multiplayer playlists.
A battle royale may come in the future, but for now, it sounds like 343 Industries has no interest in the idea. In a 2018 Mixer stream, 343 Industries Narrative Writer Jeff Easterling famously quipped that "the only BR we're interested in is the Battle Rifle," effectively confirming that the studio isn't planning to add a battle royale mode into Halo Infinite currently.
Halo Infinite beta and test flights
According to 343 Industries, Halo Infinite will undergo test flights, a form of temporary beta tests in which players who sign up for the Halo Insider Program will be able to playtest the game before its release so that 343 Industries can identify and then fix bugs, glitches, and other issues. This system was used to great effect when the studio brought Halo: The Master Chief Collection to PC, so we expect that 343 Industries won't change much about how it works. There have been no details about how test flights will work beyond 343 Industries confirming that they will be used for Halo Infinite, though, so nothing is set in stone. As for when test flighting will begin, we expect that it will begin at some point during Summer 2021 since the full game is slated to launch in Fall 2021. For more details on the Halo Insider Program and Halo test flighting, check out our Halo Infinite beta guide.
343 Industries has released a blog saying there will also be a beta test that players can participate in sometime in Summer 2021.
Halo Infinite PC port and features
We've known for a while now that Halo Infinite is officially returning the Halo series to PC after a decades-long hiatus finally interrupted by Halo: The Master Chief Collection (which now now boasts over 10 million players). Halo Infinite launching simultaneously on PC and Xbox consoles is a big enough deal in and of itself, but 343 Industries has since made it clear that the PC version of Halo Infinite is far more than a simple port. In fact, Halo Infinite coming to PC has directly influenced several major improvements that will greatly benefit console players, and further narrows the gap that has long existed between console and PC gaming.
To get the simple stuff out of the way: Halo Infinite will fully support cross-play and cross-save between PC and Xbox at launch. That means players can play on any platform they want, keep all of their progression and stats, and play multiplayer or co-op with their friends no matter where they play. Even better, it's now been confirmed that Halo Infinite is taking cross-play to the next level. This includes:
- Cross-play is supported between all Halo Infinite platforms, including Xbox consoles, Steam, and the Microsoft Store on PC
- Players can hop into matches and join their friends using both in-game and out-of-game invites
- PC players can host local multiplayer matches, and both PC and console players on the LAN can join and play Halo Infinite together
- Halo Infinite will include both ranked and unranked matchmaking playlists with cross-play between PC and console
- Social and custom matches are open to all players, while competitive ranked matches will sort by input type, and not by console or PC
Of course, making a game feel native on PC means taking far more into consideration than simply how the game plays with consoles. PC players have advanced customizable setups that span all kinds of hardware configurations, and Halo Infinite has been built from the ground up to work across all of them. From the get-go, Halo Infinite will include a ton of advanced settings that players can use and customize to their heart's desires. You can read about a lot of this in the April 2021 "Inside Infinite" article. Some of the PC-centric settings include:
- Advanced graphics settings, including fully customizable performance markers, dynamic resolution, and tons of options to make Halo Infinite look as great as possible on your PC
- Advanced display settings, including VRR support, granular field-of-view slider that increases your horizontal view without decreasing vertical view, and more
- Support for ultrawide and super ultrawide monitors and a wide range of aspect ratios and resolutions, including across all in-game cutscenes, animations, UI and menus, and the entirety of Halo Infinite
- Native support for multiple input types including mouse and keyboard, Xbox controllers, and third-party controllers
- Triple keybinds for highly customizable controls
- A customizable HUD with in-game FPS counter, ping, and an option to quickly hide the HUD for uninterrupted screenshots
There's a lot more beyond this too, but of course Halo Infinite couldn't spill all of the details up front. PC players clearly have a lot to be excited about here, and 343i isn't shy about sharing how much work they've put into this. The goal here was to make Halo Infinite feel like a native PC game with a seamless relationship between PC and console. It was also important to make these PC settings feel accessible and universal, meaning console players also get to benefit from many of these settings!
Halo Infinite on Xbox consoles will benefit from advanced settings like performance profiles and even an FOV slider, which is often highly requested in console games. 343i has also put a lot of work grouping and organizing these settings into "core groups" to make them easy to find and use. The team in charge of bringing Halo Infinite to PC has worked closely with practically every other Halo Infinite team to ensure that everything is as smooth as humanly possible, so that Halo Infinite can be supported as the quintessential Halo experience for many years.
What does this mean? Well, it means that Halo Infinite actually has a shot of becoming one of the best PC games around, which is no small feat. It also means that PC players may want to consider upgrading their setup with one of the best gaming keyboards for PC or best gaming mice for PC to get the most out of Halo Infinite when it launches on PC later this year.
Is Halo Infinite still coming to Xbox One?
Ever since it was announced that Halo Infinite would release on the Xbox One as well as the newer and more powerful Xbox Series generation of consoles, many fans have been concerned that the aging Xbox One console generation will "hold back" Halo Infinite from being as advanced as it could be (here's why we don't think that will be the case). This concern has made people wonder whether Microsoft plans to cut support for the game's planned release on Xbox One consoles.
While Microsoft hasn't directly stated that Halo Infinite's Xbox One release is confirmed or denied, all signs currently point to the game coming out on Xbox One as originally planned. There has been no indication from either Microsoft or 343 Industries that the Xbox One version of the game is being cancelled, so there's no reason to think otherwise for now.
Halo Infinite release date
At E3 2019, it was revealed that Halo Infinite would launch in Holiday 2020 alongside Xbox Series X. However, due to the impact that COVID-19 has had on development, the game was delayed to 2021. Specifically, the game was slated to release in Fall 2021, with the release date now set to Holiday 2021.
A tease from 343 Industries' founder Bonnie Ross hints that the release date might be Nov. 15 specifically, which would be cool since it's the 20th anniversary of Halo: Combat Evolved's original launch. However, that isn't confirmed. Even so, two Halo Infinite voice actors have suggested that Halo Infinite will arrive in November 2021, which means that the chances of the game launching on Nov. 15 are fairly high.
Halo Infinite pricing, platforms, and more
Aside from the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One consoles, Halo Infinite will also be available on PC via the Microsoft Store and Steam. Notably, a preorder for the game was revealed on Best Buy's website.
Since the new Xbox Series X is said to support ray tracing and up to 8K resolution, Halo Infinite will likely have these features at launch, though this hasn't been confirmed. During the Xbox Series X July event in 2020, it was confirmed that Halo Infinite will run perfectly at 60 FPS and will be significantly more detailed than Halo 5: Guardians was by Chris Lee.
The cost of the campaign half of the game is $60 according to the aforementioned Best Buy preorder. 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.
In terms of what the future holds, 343 Industries has made it clear that Halo Infinite will be a sort of platform for future content. In an interview with IGN, Chris Lee stated (prior to his resignation) that "Halo Infinite is the start of our platform for the future. We want Infinite to grow over time, versus going to those numbered titles and having all that segmentation that we had before. It's really about creating Halo Infinite as the start of the next ten years for Halo and then building that as we go with our fans and community."
Halo Infinite trailers and screenshots
To wrap things up, we've gathered the currently available Halo Infinite trailers and screenshots in one place for you to view. Let us know what your favorites are in the comments below!
An infinite wait lies ahead
Details on Halo Infinite may currently be limited, but keep an eye out for further information as the game's launch nears. What are you looking for from the next Halo adventure? Drop into the comments section with your thoughts.
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