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Halo: Infinite hidden trailer details – A new AI, Zeta Halo, the Flood, and more

Halo
Halo (Image credit: Microsoft)

After almost three years since Halo 5: Guardians, Xbox's most iconic franchise has had its next big release teased with Halo: Infinite. Revealed at the start of Microsoft's E3 briefing, Infinite showcased 343 Industries' brand new Slipspace engine, as well as a shift to an aesthetic inspired by Bungie's original games.

However, while the trailer seemingly provided little information about the story and setting, Halo fanatics like myself and others have dissected it, and the amount of information hidden within may surprise you. Here's every known detail (so far).

Setting: A brave new world

While the trailer clearly shows the Master Chief and his UNSC allies stranded on a Halo ring, determining which ring specifically is tricky. However, there are several hints that strongly suggest it is Zeta Halo, or Installation 07. The first of these is the appearance of wildlife on the Halo ring. Both Halo: Primordium (opens in new tab) and Halo: Hunters in the Dark (opens in new tab), two of the franchise's novels, reference the fact that Zeta Halo is home to various fauna, with Hunters in the Dark specifically mentioning these deer-like creatures.

Another strong hint is the appearance of ancient structures with some form of written language carved into them. Though it isn't hard evidence, this may suggest the presence of ancient humans at one point. This is consistent with Zeta Halo, which is known in the lore to have had humans living on it during the time of the Forerunners.

Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite (Image credit: 343 Industries)

Perhaps the strongest evidence for Zeta Halo being in Halo: Infinite is the fact that the beeping radio in the trailer relays morse code that references it. The Reddit community slowed down the audio and analyzed each individual noise from the radio, and what they were able to decipher was "SOS ZETA HALO GRD". While the meaning of "GRD" is debatable, the meaning of "SOS ZETA HALO' is clear.

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The last hint about the setting of Halo: Infinite comes from Twitter user Masterz1337, who, by viewing the video on a full 4K display, was able to make out an electronic screen within the Pelican dropship that displays a date: 5/27/2560. This means that Halo: Infinite will likely take place about a year and a half after the events of Halo 5: Guardians.

Story and plot: Chief teams up with a new AI

Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite (Image credit: Microsoft)

Since the game will almost certainly be on Zeta Halo and take place long after Halo 5, we can piece together what the plot may be like. During the events of Halo: Primordium, Forerunners on Zeta Halo trapped humans in a place known as the Palace of Pain. Here, they forced them to undergo horrific experiments with the Flood parasite to try to find a cure. The Forerunners eventually fired the Halo Arrays, but it's possible that the Flood here survived because they were in a research facility — and we may have to fight them.

This is further supported by research done by Reddit user kittylyncher, who, after replacing the writing seen in the trailer with similar English lettering and then running it through a cryptogram solver, found that one of the possible word combinations was "Enemy Within". This could be directly referencing the Flood that are within Zeta Halo's depths.

When it comes to how the Chief and his allies will fight Cortana, there's relatively little to go on. However, Reddit user juicebawwx discovered that zooming in on the artificial intelligence chip that Chief puts into his helmet reveals a serial number. At a glance, none of the numbers are clearly identifiable aside from the final zero in the sequence, but upon even closer inspection, it seems that it isn't a zero, but a D.

Since Cortana's serial number doesn't end with a D, this can't be her. In addition, none of the AIs in Halo lore have this either, so it has to be an entirely new character. A possibility that myself and Halo community leaders MetalHedSpartan and HiddenXperia realized was that the AI could be named Durandal. The reason why ties back to a classic piece of literature: The Song of Roland.

Within the comic anthology Halo: Library Edition (opens in new tab), it was hinted that the Song of Roland would play a large role in the next Halo game. In that story, the Frankish knight Roland is betrayed by his comrade Ganelon and is killed after fighting valiantly. However, Ganelon is weakened after the fight, opening the door for the Frankish king Charlemagne to come in and defeat the criminal. Durandal is the name of the sword Roland used, and is made "of the same steel and temper as Joyeous and Curtana."

Based on this, it's extremely likely that "Durandal" is some form of powerful construct that Roland, the UNSC Infinity's AI, fuses with in order to take the fight to Cortana. While Roland might die, this will potentially make way for the Master Chief (who is like Charlemagne in this scenario) to take advantage of Cortana's weakened state and defeat her, saving the galaxy. This possibility is only strengthened by the fact that one of the stories in Halo: Tales from Slipspace (opens in new tab) shows Cortana describing herself as "joyous", which is directly in-line with the description of Durandal.

Your thoughts

What do you think of everything this trailer hints at? Were you surprised at how much was contained in it? Let me know.

Halo: Infinite currently has no release date, but be sure to check out the Master Chief Collection, Halo Wars 2, and Halo 5: Guardians if you're looking for Halo action.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

39 Comments
  • I don't know if anyone else mentioned this, but the SlipSpace Engine font looks like that weird letter "S" they trademarked (that WC reported on some time ago). https://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-has-trademarked-mysterious-s-lo...
  • That "S" is being used as the Xbox One S brand. https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co...
  • The trailer means nothing just like Halo 5's trailer had nothing to do with the actual game.
  • I would be extremely surprised. As in, absolutely stunned.
  • The 1st thing I thought of as well!!!
  • I don't read anything about the lore, just play the games, watch the movies etc. But those spires look a lot like the ones you see in Mass Effect Andromeda. I just played and finished Halo 5 this weekend and then started Andromeda, there are a number of similarities.
  • I have a strong hunch that the Halo aesthetic was a large inspiration for the developers of Andromeda.
  • I'm still not sure if the story with John 177 should continue after Infinity. He's pretty old now. He should finally find it's peace.
    They could focus on the events prior to Reach after Infinity (would be good for newcomers to the series and veterans as well) or use Jerome & Isabel vs Atriox as the new plot. I mean there has to be a reason why the game is called Infinity.
  • u obviously never read the books, story blogs or even read what infinite will be and mean to newcomers. what u said makes 0 sense for the Saga real fans know and love.
  • I hope John either dies a fitting death or gets to experience a peaceful life.
  • "John 177" - damn, 60 clones in....
  • Halo 5 trailer was a bit of a misdirect, but these are very specific references. I'm impressed by this analysis by the Halo community. Durandal, of course, features in the Marathon trilogy by Bungie.
  • Also a good point. Man, that'd be so fitting, wouldn't it? For all of it to come full circle.
  • I'm much more excited about this than I was H5. The Chief is back as the focal protagonist, and the familiar setting and music take me back to a better day.
  • You have way too much time on your hands. :) Thank the lord you do because it made for a very interesting read. Quite inciteful. I know more than most, less than some about the lore (thanks to Wikipedia and gameplay) but, I have never read any of the books. I might have to pick up a couple of them. (Which do people recommend?) And yes, now I will have to go back and look at the reveal video much more closely. Thanks for the breakdown.
  • My personal favorite Halo novels are as follows: Halo: Broken Circle Halo: Hunters in the Dark Halo: Ghosts of Onyx Halo: Envoy Halo Evolutions (All volumes) Halo: The Fall of Reach In truth, they're ALL great, aside from Halo: The Flood and the Kilo-Five trilogy (Glasslands, Thursday War, and Mortal Dictata) Also be sure to watch the animated short films from Halo Legends!
  • Glasslands was OK. Other two sucked. Loved Greg Bear's Forerunner trilogy.
  • Halo Infinite is Microsoft's first Cross-gen game and I highly believe that too. not only digital foundry talked about it but also 343i Frank slightly referred to it on ResetEra. when asked if xbox one was still in the picture for this game, he also mentioned ''more powerful devices in Microsoft’s ecosystem'' next to the Xbox One X and PC. just looking at the Engine and the Scale the demo was showcasing, it makes sense. also talked about that Halo infinite will continue the story from Halo 5 Guardians but will be built in a way that its a good start for newcomers to jump in on the Saga. also ''It will take place after the events of Halo 5 but feel new to new players. Remember how Halo CE woke you up in the middle of a war you had apparently been fighting?''. man we have so much to speculate till it releases.. I freakin love it!!
  • Same. My passion for the series has been completely reignited.
  • Impressive analysis. I think it is probable we are going back to a ring and the Flood will be back to make life miserable. What I disagree with is the fate of Cortana. While it did seem she had turned to the dark side, I think that's to simple of an explanation. It would be pretty lame to leave the Chief/Cortana relationship like that. Thinking back to the e d of Halo 4, didn't Cortana split herself into many parts to protect Chief and defeat Diadact? The effects of her rampancy, the split and a nuclear explosion are completely unknown and could lead to any thing. Some kind of doul existence is not out of the realm of possibilities.
  • It's a tricky situation. Ultimately if things do go the way of the Durandal Theory, I hope that Chief doesn't kill her as Charlemagne did with Ganelon.
  • Feel free to ask me any questions you have regarding everything, everybody. :)
  • well.. ehm.. u got more gameplay? :P edit.. demo Footage is better
  • I wish I had ANY gameplay...I NEED MORE
  • Is good to see 343i doing what fans wanted ( until now, in the art department) This new engine was something the game needed. I will speculate the new Halo game will be open world, you can play it up to 4 friends, 60fps, split screen, and it will be available for the next Xbox.
  • My view, before this trailer was released, was that Dr Halsey would have created a copy of Cortana, as possibly suggested in the opening cinematic of Halo 5. Is this a stupid assumption based on your knowledge?
  • Not “stupid” but I personally don’t find it likely. Halo 4 had a similar opening scene with Halsey that never really led to anything, so it might be the case with 5 too.
  • It seems like they're so scarred by the reception to Halo 5 that they're going to be lazy with this one. They're dialing it way back to play it super safe and look for an easy win, IMO. They took things too far, but I don't think leaning on The Flood (which I have no interest in seeing again, honestly) and another Halo ring (not something I'm against) is going to lead to anything exciting. It's likely to be OK, but just kind of a minimally acceptable game pandering to the nostalgia of past games to avoid making people mad with change again.
  • The morse code says, "SOS ZETA HALO GRD". "GRD", in the army stands for gaurd. Could this be a message about a Guardian keeping everyone on Zeta Halo????
  • Fantastic theory! I thought it meant “General Radio Distress” but I never thought of this possibility.
  • Most of the games MS & Sony showed will probably be for the next generation. This generation has been pretty lame when you compare it to last generation. There were alot of great games last generation. I'm ready for a reset.
  • I absolutely loved Halo 4, The Cortana of Halo 4 and the Chief/Cortana relationship in Halo 4. I am disappointed that they made her an enemy and seem to be continuing with that direction. Chief and Cortana were and always should be an inseparable team with a complex and ever evolving relationship. I hate when games, movies or shows try to deviate so drastically from what made them a success in the first place. I hope there will be a way back from this story at some point.
  • Hopefully they save her and don’t kill her in Infinite.
  • I agree, I didn't care for it either.
  • Did you catch the poster on the left inside the pelican? :)
  • I did! Matches the same poster found in a room on the MCC version of ODST.
  • The new engine looks great - but they definitely need some work on its physics aspects. Two places looked terrible because of the interaction of a moving subject with the ground - the running of the rhino creatures and the last shot of the warthog driving across the landscape. I have heard a rumor that one of the advantages of this engine is scaling over a wide gambit of hardware - so will probably look pretty bad on Xbox One, look good on X1X, and look great on next xbox and a good gaming PC.
  • These images make fantastic wallpapers.
  • It is said that Mendicant Bias core was stored on Zeta Halo so maybe Roland will fuse with that.