When hell or heyday hits, it looks like Halo Infinite will actually make its promised vacation launch window and launch alongside the Xbox Series X. After a somewhat odd game debut on the Xbox Games Showcase, 343 is trying to better explain the vision we saw.
And the more I hear about this game, the more it sounds like Bungie’s Fate. And while I wouldn’t consider it a bad thing at all, it’s certainly interesting to see.
The first aspect of this was something we learned in the debut, that 343 has not been making another complete Halo game for a long, long time (hence the “Infinity”) and that Halo Infinite will serve as a “platform” for the delivery of the Future Halo content, whether it’s new campaigns, multiplayer modes, etc.
That sounds almost identical to the strategy that Bungie has adopted for Destiny 2, giving up on Destiny 3 (which in a parallel universe could have been released this fall) and instead continues to create content for Destiny 2 for the indefinite future, using the base game as a platform We have already been in Destiny 2 for three years, and we have another three years (at least) of content and expansions scheduled for the game, as Bungie has already charted Beyond Light, The Witch Queen, and Lightfall for 2020, 2021, and 2022. While Halo has not been as specific, it is clearly a similar concept.
And then there is the game itself. At a press conference, Q&A, 343 Industries Studio Director Chris Lee spoke further about what the new open world will be like for Halo (via WCCFtech):
“The campaign in Halo Infinite is the most ambitious campaign we’ve created in a Halo game. It’s this open and expansive experience for players, and it’s several times bigger than our last two campaigns combined. I think the way to think about it is that this is Halo’s version of open gameplay and what kind of providing the player with unprecedented levels of freedom. We really wanted to capture that moment where players could feel what it would be like to be in an alien ring and unlock secrets and new equipment or improvements along the way as they play through the campaign. And I have a way of giving you more concrete examples when you look at the demo. We show and you’re in the elevator looking at that view. There’s a ton of the ring you can see there and that’s just part of the space that players will be able to explore and where the Master Chief’s story will take you throughout our campaign experience. “
“One way to think about that that we talk about sometimes is to think about taking Halo CE, tearing down the walls, and then giving players the freedom to explore. And while we have that kind of open experience, we want there to be teams and updates that you can find in the world on the go, so there are things you can get involved with on the go to do that as you traverse the world and continue the Master Chief’s story. “
So they’re comparing it to Halo CE, though everything I hear about what this sounds like is similar to Destiny’s sprawling patrol areas that contain everything from campaign missions to strikes and world events, and they’re obviously packed with secrets that you can find through exploration well. I’m not sure if the whole game is just exploring a giant zone in the ring, or if there are multiple zones, but this may be the whole “platform” thing and more zones could be added later.
The difference, of course, is that Halo is still primarily an action FPS and not an MMO or ARPG. There is talk of “gear and upgrades” that you find in the world as you play, but obviously we are not talking about “loot” in the traditional sense of Fate here. Clearly, no randomly thrown needles or battle rifles are received.
If this sounds like it’s still slagging in Halo Infinite, I’m not. In fact, I think it’s a Okay The idea of the franchise evolving beyond its mostly linear campaigns, and exploring an open world in Halo, particularly with Warthogs and new movement tools like a grappling hook, sounds like a lot of fun. And no, I wouldn’t expect Halo to be a full loot shooter like Destiny, but I think they’ve obviously been looking for Bungie a little bit for inspiration and format, both in terms of the game operating as an ongoing platform, and focusing on large, open world areas for campaigning and other potential activities. If anything, this makes me feel a little better about Infinite than I felt alone based on those first few images.
We’ll see what the end product looks like, but this feels like a significant evolution for the franchise, and hopefully that proves to be a good thing.
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