As one of the biggest and most recognizable gaming franchises around, expectations from a new Halo game are always going to be sky high. It’s fair to say that the series has routinely fallen short of those expectations ever since Bungie handed over the reins to 343 Industries, and that’s exactly why there’s so much riding on Halo Infinite. Promising the definitive and biggest experience in Halo history and being touted as a spiritual reboot, Halo Infinite needs to be a much-needed win for the series. Its release is soon approaching, and by this point, we know plenty about both how its campaign and its multiplayer are going to work (and we’re likely going to learn even more in the coming weeks). Here, we’ll be taking a look at some key details you should know about the game.
The one area that 343 Industries’ Halo games have consistently struggled with is the story, but with 343 Industries promising that Halo Infinite’s narrative will avoid needless complications and focus on the Master Chief, the hope is that it’s going to tell a good, compelling story. It is set about three years after the events of Halo 5: Guardians, and is set on the mysterious Zeta Halo, one of the ringworlds of the Halo Array that also has a very rich history of its own. Shortly before the beginning of Halo Infinite, the UNSC loses a big battle against the Banished, a splinter group of former Covenant forces that first featured as an antagonist in Halo Wars 2. Now, the Halo Ring is under the control of the Banished, who’re led by War Chief Escharum. With the help of allies such as a human pilot (whose name hasn’t yet been revealed) and a new AI known as The Weapon, Master Chief will have to fight back against the Banished and figure out what the hell is going on with Cortana at the same time.
Master Chief is, of course, going to be front and center in Halo Infinite, and it goes without saying that Cortana and the Created are going to have a big role to play in the story as well. Beyond them, plenty of other interesting characters have been revealed so far as well. There’s the aforementioned Pilot, of course, who can bring something a more human element to the story, which isn’t something that we see too often from side characters in Halo. The Weapon is also an interesting introduction- an AI that is clearly based off of Cortana in more ways than one, but is much more naive and childlike. Her dynamic with Master Chief should be interesting to see. Meanwhile, War Chief Escharum is promising to be a menacing villain, while he’s also aligned himself with a mysterious new character called the Harbinger, who has her own vendetta against the Chief. Finally, there’s Jega ‘Rdomnai, a deadly Elite and a faithful Banished soldier who’s dead set on hunting down Master Chief.
With Halo Infinite, 343 Industries is promising the biggest Halo campaign to date, with what’s best described as a semi-open world approach. It’s not completely open world, and you’ll still be progressing through the story and from area to area in a linear and guided fashion. But there are what will essentially serve as open world sections, where players will be able to freely explore a large open map, take on side missions, hunt down collectibles, engage in optional activities, and have the freedom to explore.
Speaking of side missions, what exactly can you expect to find in Halo Infinite’s map where optional activities are concerned? Mostly it’s the sort of stuff you’d expect to see in an open world-esque experience, but with the promise of leveraging the framework of Halo’s iconic gunplay and sandbox elements. From clearing enemy strongholds and outposts to rescuing captured Marines to taking out special enemies to taking out Banished installations and bases, it looks like there’s going to be plenty of side content to dive into in Halo Infinite’s campaign.
DYNAMIC GAMEPLAY ELEMENTS
What makes Halo Infinite’s open world a particularly exciting prospect is the fact that it isn’t just going to be a static and wide open space. According to what 343 Industries has said, the world itself is going to have several dynamic elements at play, including a day and night cycle, dynamic weather patterns, and more. Interestingly enough, based on factors such as your loadout of weapons, the AI in the open world will also change and adapt to situations on the fly, so you might find yourself facing a foe with a more dangerous arsenal if you have impressive firepower of your own as well.
SPARTAN CORES AND COLLECTIBLES
Halo Infinite’s open world is also have plenty of reasons for players to want to explore. For starters, there are Spartan Cores, which is what you’ll use to upgrade Master Chief’s toolset. You’ll have access to equipment such as Thrusters, a Drop Wall, the Grappleshot, Threat Sensor, and Shield Core, all of which you’ll be able to upgrade in various ways by spending Spartan Cores. Meanwhile, as a shot of the map screen from the recent campaign overview trailer shows, there are going to be a number of different kinds of collectibles to hunt down in each area of Zeta Halo. We know Skulls are returning as one kind of collectible, but what the rest will be and what impact they will have on gameplay (if any) remains to be seen.
VEHICLES AND FOBs
Vehicles are and always have been a crucial part of the Halo experience, and with its semi-open world approach, it follows that that’s going to be double try in Halo Infinite as well. Multiple vehicles have been confirmed for the game already, and interestingly enough, players are going to be able to summon drops of vehicles at certain points in the map as well. These spots, incidentally, are Forward Operating Bases (or FOBs). You’ll have to clear these bases of Banished forces first and take them back for the UNSC, but once you capture one FOB, it will boost the Marines fighting by your side, allow you to customize your weapon loadout, act as fast travel points, and allow you to summon vehicles, among several other benefits.
Of course, dealing with different kinds of enemies, each with their unique strengths and behaviours, has always been where Halo is at its best, especially when you’re in the middle of a hectic firefight. Enemy variety is crucial for that, and Halo Infinite seems to be headed in the right direction here. Classics such as Grunts, Jackals, Elites, Brutes, and Hunters are going to be returning, while you can also expect some new variants, such as the small flying creatures known as Skimmers. Meanwhile, it also looks like Halo Infinite’s going to have fights against bosses and mini-bosses, like as a final fight in the process of capturing a Banished keep, for instance. In fact, if the recent campaign overview trailer is anything to go by, some of these enemies will even show health bars and names during fights.
Like most multiplayer games out there, Halo Infinite is going to adopt a battle pass system, though there are plenty of interesting points to note here. The most crucial one, of course, is the fact that battle passes in Halo Infinite will not expire, which means that even once a new Battle Pass has released, you’ll still be able to go back and complete the challenges of all of your older Battle Passes. Meanwhile, interestingly enough, progression in Halo Infinite will also take a different approach. You will no longer get XP for every match you play, and instead, progression will hinge on finishing daily challenges. 343 Industries has given assures that there’s going to be a healthy selection of challenges for players to tackle each due, and though those intent on grinding them out might possibly go through every single one, that’s still highly unlikely to happen.
Again, last most multiplayer games out there, Halo Infinite is going to adopt a seasonal post-launch model- so what exactly will that mean? Will, every three months, Halo Infinite’s multiplayer component will get a bunch of new content. This will include new events, features, systems, Battle Passes, and content. Of course, 343 Industries is also promising a strong narrative element for the multiplayer component, which means that the game will tell a continuous, ongoing story that will progress with each of its seasons. And yes, each season will also get a new Battle Pass.
Halo has very much made PC a core focus of its audience now, and Halo Infinite is promising a robust set of tools, settings, and features on the platform. You can, of course, expect greater control over and better results for both resolution and performance. There is also going to be a wide range of options for controls, graphics, audio, accessibility, and more, along with support for ultrawide resolution, and various graphical settings for things such as v-sync, screen shake, FoV, geometry quality, texture filtering, ambient occlusion, and much more.
The one exclusion in Halo Infinite’s PC version that some people might be a little disappointed about is ray-tracing. 343 Industries has confirmed that ray-tracing won’t be featured in the game at launch, though the developer is working closely with AMD and does plan on adding the feature in at some point after launch. Whether we can also expect ray-tracing in the Xbox Series X/S version remains to be seen, though it seems like a pretty safe bet.
So exactly what kind of a rig are you going to need if you do intend on playing Halo Infinite on PC? Well, on minimum requirements, you’ll need either an FX-8370 or an i5-4440, along with either an RX 570 or a GTX 1050 Ti, and 8 GB of RAM. Meanwhile, on recommended settings, you’ll need either a Ryzen 7 3700X or an i7-9700k, along with either an RX 5700 XT or an RTX 2070, and 16 GB of RAM. Storage requirements are 50 GB across the board.
CO-OP AND FORGE
Campaign co-op and Forge mode have both been crucial parts of the Halo experience, so to learn a while back that nether of those would be in Halo Infinite at launch was a huge, huge bummer for a lot of people. That said, 343 Industries has said that it won’t be long before both return to Halo. Campaign co-op will be added in season 2, three month after the game’s launch, while Forge will arrive with season 3, which will be another three months later.