Halo Infinite – A Long Awaited Release

To say that Halo Infinite is a long-awaited release would be a tremendous understatement. The direct sequel to Halo 5: Guardians and the third installment in the reclaimer saga, is the first full release for the franchise since 2015. Sure, there have been attempts at virtual reality and arcade games in the interim, but nothing like what loyal fans of the franchise came to expect. After six years, the wait is over. This article will offer an in-depth Halo Infinite preview, complete with everything we know about the upcoming release so far.

Halo Infinite
Image credit: GameSpot

Halo Infinite Preview

Fans are excited for this new installment, and for good reason. One of the most acclaimed series of all time has had six years to develop a new installment, a lag time typically reserved only for the likes of Rockstar Games and their Grand Theft Auto franchise. With such a long wait, expectations are high for the new release, with some fans hoping for a change in the series’ direction after nearly two decades of Halo. In our Halo Infinite preview below we’ll take a look at the development process, as well as what we know about the setting and gameplay thus far.

Development

Development on Halo Infinite (originally titled Halo 6) began all the way back in 2015 following the release of its predecessor. Halo 5: Guardians was released to mostly positive reviews, but criticism of its campaign came into sharper focus following the game’s release. Keeping in mind the original development of Halo Infinite took place around this time, it is possible some of these criticisms were factored into the early stages of developing the new game.

As with the previous installments, Microsoft and 343 Industries are leading the development, although collaborating studios like The Coalition (Gears of War) are also involved1. Heading towards a release in the last quarter of 2021, the developers are now finally in the last stages of production, with a planned beta in late July to test the AI that will be used in the game.

Gameplay

Halo Infinite‘s details have been kept fairly secure and private by the developers throughout the process, but we have been given multiple trailers and teasers up to this point. A campaign premier video has offered some insight into gameplay and weapon choice, and the new multiplayer videos are also offering up some new facts for anxious gamers. Here’s a preview of what we know so far for Halo Infinite:

Campaign

Relatively little has been released about the campaign, worrying some long-term fans of the series that are eager for a return to strong single-player dynamics after the relative lackluster experience offered by its predecessor. The delays in release date and some well-documented complaints with the visuals only propelling more rumors. Infinite‘s E3 presence was also decidedly focused on multiplayer, leaving many wondering if the campaign portion of the game was struggling or a secondary focus.

What we do know is that the game’s campaign will focus on the Banished, a faction replacing the Covenant as a primary antagonist for players. While this opens up opportunities for new storytelling avenues and weapons, so little has been revealed thus far that the new campaign still doesn’t have the full confidence of the fanbase just yet.

While we’re on the topic of weapons, fans of the series know that the Halo arsenal is ever-changing. Gone is the supercharged pistol from Halo: Combat Evolved, and the dual-wielding weaponry introduced in Halo 2 disappeared in later installments. Based on the releases from the developers so far, here are the weapons we can confirm are in the new installment:

  • Plasma Grenade
  • Frag Grenade
  • Spike Grenade
  • Energy Sword
  • Gravity Hammer
  • Plasma Pistol
  • Needler
  • Sniper Rifle
  • Rocket Launcher
  • Assault Rifle
  • Battle Rifle
  • Hydra

Now of course we’ve seen other, yet-unidentified weapons in some gameplay videos, and there are sure to be much more than the above, but these are the returning favorites we know of based on what the developers have been provided thus far.

Multiplayer

No Halo Infinite preview would be complete without discussing the multiplayer elements. Much more will be known following extensive beta testing at the end of the month, but gameplay previews and other releases have given us a general idea of where Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer is heading.

One of the major aspects of the new launch’s multiplayer is the return of equipment. Halo 3 players will recall Bubble Shields, Power Drains and Gravity Lifts among other pieces of equipment available in multiplayer. Infinite appears to be re-introducing this concept with items like a Drop Wall, Threat Sensor and others that will add an extra dimension to the multiplayer experience that has been missing now for several installments.

Arena mode will be back featuring the classic 4v4 format that’s exceeding familiar to returning players. While other franchises such as Battlefield seek ever-larger lobbies and combat, Halo Infinite appears content to continue in a format that its excelled at for decades. This series was once a flagship installment of professional gaming due to a well-honed balance in its 4v4 competitions, and we expect to see more of the same in that regard. If this installment truly winds up being the last as the developers suggested, look for them to do everything they can to go out on top.

Of course, other components that have been a critical part of the series will remain that way – vehicles, for example, will return in their various forms and undoubtedly play a big role in combat, particularly in the (returning!) Big Team Battle format.

The developers have also put an added focus on multiplayer customization at the forefront of their releases, giving players more options and (likely) continuous releases throughout the “seasons” to allow for even more upgrades and changes as the game’s audience plays on.

Conclusions

Whether you’ve been a fan since the series’ inception or are completely new to the Halo world, Halo Infinite is bound to be a major game on your wish list this year. Given the time it’s been in development, paired with desire for the game to go out on top, gamers are sure to get an immersive experience out of this last installment. Expect more releases as we get nearer and nearer to the release date. Maybe now would be a good time to start dusting off those old editions to get ready for the new release.

video credit: XBOX

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