We may have “finished the fight” back in 2007, but Halo, the first-person shooter series everybody and their brother owned a copy of, is coming back for another round.
After the first Halo trilogy, Halo 4 dropped in 2012. In 2015, Halo 5: Guardians debuted with the promise of additional sequels appearing down the line. When a teaser trailer for the next Halo title finally dropped last June, everyone collectively agreed it was Halo 6—the continuation of Master Chief’s labyrinthine story and sequel to the (admittedly bizarre) events of Halo 5. Much rejoicing occurred. That wasn’t entirely the case, as we now know; Halo ditched the numbering convention for the latest entry and simply called it Halo Infinite.
343 Industries, which develops Halo, was uncharacteristically quiet about Halo Infinite until recently, when studio head Bonnie Ross told IGN that the new game is actually a “spiritual reboot.” She didn’t elaborate on what exactly she meant by that, other than to say it would respect the franchise’s “legacy.” But she did explain what caused the lengthy lag between sequels: the creation of the Slipspace Engine, which makes it easier for creatives to build within the notoriously complex Halo engine. “We want to have a team that can do their best creative work within our engine,” Ross explained. “So it really was taking the time off and, as we announced the Slipspace Engine last year, it is all to make sure we’re building the platform for the future of Halo.”
Ross also revealed that we will get additional information on Halo Infinite in June during the biggest gaming trade show of the year, E3 2019. PlayStation pulled out of the show, so Halo‘s publisher Microsoft has plenty of leeway to take the spotlight and give players more of what they’re asking for: any shred of detail about Halo Infinite beyond that painfully short teaser trailer.
Now that we’re caught up on the newest details about Halo Infinite, let’s recap what we know about the game so far—which, frustratingly, is not very much.
It’s Halo 6, for all intents and purposes.
Halo Infinite is the next official entry in the Halo series and an “entirely new chapter” in the saga, Aaron Greenberg, general manager of marketing at Xbox, said last year. In his exact words, it is “the next Halo game,” and it will indeed continue the story of John-119 and his compatriots sometime after Halo 5 ended. So there you have it. Mystery solved.
Master Chief is the protagonist.
Though we have virtually zero details about when or where the story will pick up, we do know Master Chief will indeed be the protagonist, and Halo Infinite will focus on his journey more than the last game did. With 343 Industries making changes to the Halo series and taking players in “new and unexpected directions,” it might be a vision of Chief we’re unfamiliar with, but it’ll be Chief nevertheless. The end of Halo 5 (spoiler alert!) built up Cortana, suffering from an all-encompassing case of rampancy, as the series’ next villain, and after Chief’s weird encounter with her, we need some more time with the man himself, to be honest.
Aside from that, we’re not sure what direction Chief is going to go in, but he’ll definitely have a new, updated look, according to 343 Industries’ studio head Chris Lee.
There probably won’t be a battle royale mode, but there will be multiplayer.
As 343 Industries lead writer Jeff Easterling said, “The only BR we’re interested in is the Battle Rifle.” Knowing Easterling’s position on the genre, we probably won’t see a Fortnite-lite mode, but given games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Battlefield V‘s recent pivots to similar options, the developer could change its tune ahead of Halo Infinite‘s big debut. In that vein, Ross had a more open-ended response, noting that a battle royale mode would need to be “right for Halo.” So it’s always a possibility.
One thing you can be sure of is that there will indeed be multiplayer, customizable Spartan soldiers and local, four-player, split-screen battles, so you can channel that nostalgic LAN party feeling you had when gunning down noobs in college.
There’s no release date yet.
Despite Microsoft and 343 Industries’ apparent readiness to show the game off at E3 2019, we don’t have anything resembling a release window. The team is really taking time to let the pot simmer, so to speak. Halo titles have traditionally debuted in the fall, and if Halo Infinite follows this pattern, we could see a September, October, or November launch this year. At least, we hope.
There will be a beta test period.
With 343 Industries looking to develop Halo Infinite with community feedback in mind, it wants to get it into the hands of players early for a beta period. Rather than a traditional beta, however, it will debut parts of the game in stages for the community to stress test ahead of its release. 343 Industries will then reflect on feedback offered by its most hardcore players to tweak settings, apply balancing patches, and otherwise improve the game overall. It’s likely this testing period will begin on Xbox One, but there’s no set date for when we might be able to give it a spin.
Halo Infinite could adopt a “games as a service” model.
Looking around at the current gaming climate, GaaS seems very much like something players are responding to, so we could see shades of it with a modern Halo title. “The world has changed,” Greenberg said when Halo Infinite was first revealed. “We look at Fallout, Sea of Thieves—you know, gamers want to be able to have access to stuff earlier. It’s becoming more of a service-based industry and digital-first business, and so because of that we’re definitely thinking about Halo that way.”
But again, like most things related to Halo Infinite, we’re still in the dark.