The Flood, Halo's resident space zombie parasite species, were prominently featured in the first three Halo games and played an integral role in the plot. However, ever since we defeated them at the end of Halo 3, the Flood have been absent from the mainline Halo titles, outside of Halo 4 and Halo 2: Anniversary's Infection game modes. Many fans have wondered: will the Flood return in Halo Infinite? Or are they going to continue remaining absent from the spotlight? Here's a look at some evidence and reasoning that suggests that a Flood comeback may happen.
Zeta Halo and the Palace of Pain
The strongest piece of evidence that suggests the Flood may be in Halo Infinite is the fact that, based on numerous hints from the trailers, the game is very likely taking place on Installation 07, also known as Zeta Halo. This Halo ring has significant ties to the Flood. Firstly, it was where the Primordial, the last surviving Precursor that later merged itself with the Flood Gravemind, convinced the Forerunner AI Mendicant Bias to become a Flood ally in the Forerunner-Floor War (you can learn about this conflict and these characters here).
Secondly, prior to the encounter between the Primordial and Mendicant Bias, Zeta Halo was also home to special Flood research facilities that Master Builder Faber, leader of the Forerunners, used to try and find a cure for the Flood by purposefully infecting ancient humans and using them as test subjects. Due to the horrors of the facilities, they were collectively referred to as the "Palace of Pain" by the humans. As seen above, the Halo community has also discovered what could be one such facility in the background of official Halo Infinite artwork based on descriptions from the Forerunner Trilogy of novels, further suggesting that the Palace of Pain facilities will be in-game. If they are, it's entirely possible that the Flood forms locked within them will escape and start to spread the infection, similar to how the Flood spread during the events of Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2.
Another interesting piece of evidence to consider is that the audio provided by Gyoza the pug, a furry friend helping 343 Industries out with sound work for Halo Infinite, sounds suspiciously like the noises that various Flood forms make. The wet squelching sounds and the low grunts and breaths reminded many a Halo fan of the infamous parasite, and after Gyoza's contributions were made public on Instagram, speculation that his audio was going to be for the Flood spread like wildfire.
It's important to note that these aren't clearly Flood sounds in any way. For example, a lot of Gyoza's audio also sounds similar to the sounds made by the Covenant's Grunt species, and considering that Halo Infinite's first trailer implies we'll see wildlife in the game, Gyoza's recordings may end up being used for an entirely new type of creature. That being said, he sounds way too much like the Flood to not take it into account.
Awakening the Nightmare...or the interest?
While it isn't directly tied to Halo Infinite at all, it's worth noting that 343 Industries created an entire expansion centered around the Flood for the real-time strategy spinoff Halo Wars 2 called Awakening the Nightmare. The Flood threat was successfully contained by the end of the DLC's campaign, so we have no reason to suspect that the events of the expansion will matter in Halo Infinite. That being said, the fact that a Flood-themed expansion was even made raises a question: was Awakening the Nightmare a gauge of the Halo community's interest in the Flood returning?
If so, then I think the chances of the Flood being in Halo Infinite are fairly high. Awakening the Nightmare recieved widespread praise from critics and fans alike, and the community responded very positively to battling the Flood once again after so many years of absence from the franchise. 343 Industries absolutely took note of that sky-high reception, and even if the Flood aren't in the main campaign for Halo Infinite, I would be shocked if we didn't at least end up seeing another Flood-themed DLC.
What do you think about the Flood and the chances of them being in Halo Infinite? Do you want to see them return as an enemy, or do you feel that they should remain on the sidelines for now? Let me know.
Halo Infinite is expected to launch during the Holiday 2020 season on Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC. If you want to enjoy some Halo action now, we recommend Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
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