Halo Infinite is an upcoming first-person shooter game developed by 343 Industries and published by Xbox Game Studios for Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. It is planned to be released in 2021, the sixth main entry of the Halo series, and the fourteenth game overall. It continues the story of the Master Chief as the third chapter of the "Reclaimer Saga", following Halo 5: Guardians (2015).
Box art featuring Master Chief
|Publisher(s)||Xbox Game Studios|
According to Microsoft, Master Chief returns in Halo Infinite with "his greatest adventure yet to save humanity". The storyline of Halo Infinite will be "much more human", with the Master Chief playing a more central role than in Halo 5: Guardians. The E3 2018 trailer indicated that the story will be set on a Halo ring and showcased the design of Master Chief's Mark VI armor to return to the design seen in Halo 2 and Halo 3. The Banished, a violent mercenary group that splintered off of the former Covenant alien alliance, are shown to be enemies.
Halo Infinite is being developed by 343 Industries with assistance from Skybox Labs. It will utilize the new Slipspace Engine. The story entered planning stages in 2015. An announcement trailer was released on June 10, 2018. The developer said that all of the scenes in the Halo Infinite trailer were running in the engine. Halo Infinite will feature split-screen again, in response to the backlash of its removal in the previous game. It was also planned to have a beta prior to its release, described as an insider flight program.
Although initially implicated to be exclusive to the Xbox Series X, development director Frank O'Connor stated in August 2019 that Infinite was being developed for Xbox One. He said they were "building it so it plays and looks fantastic" on the platform, would have enhancements when played on Xbox Series X. In January 2020, Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty confirmed that the studio had no immediate plans for Xbox Series X exclusives at launch, preferring to phase out compatibility with older hardware over a longer period, similar to PCs. Development was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing developers to work from home.
After the Xbox Games Showcase on July 23, 2020, 343 Studio Head Chris Lee stated that a public beta is unlikely due to the impact of the ongoing pandemic, despite Microsoft stating at E3 2018 that there would be a public beta ahead of launch.
On August 11, 2020, it was announced that the game has been delayed until 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affecting development.
On May 7, 2020, as a substitute for the cancelled E3 2020, Microsoft announced it would reveal the first gameplay footage of Halo Infinite via livestream to the public on July 23, 2020, among other games from its first-party studios for Xbox. On June 24, 2020, the official Halo YouTube channel premiered a short video titled "SIGNAL DETECTED. TAG DESIGNATION: FOE", which featured an audio clip of an anonymous character who represents the Banished, a faction introduced in Halo Wars 2. It is speculated that this video is in fact a teaser for Halo Infinite and reveals that the Banished will be featured as an enemy force which the player must fight.
Following the gameplay reveal for Halo Infinite on July 23, 2020, publications and audiences expressed disappointment towards the standard of the game's graphics and performance. Eurogamer wrote that "Halo Infinite looks like the fake plastic trees version of Halo, like a video game designed with Mega Bloks in mind. It pops in all the wrong places. [...] It doesn't feel grounded. It doesn't feel like it has depth. It feels, well, surface level, smooth and uninteresting." Aaron Greenberg, general manager of Xbox marketing, responded to concerns in an interview with Inside Gaming, saying "Listen, we're in the middle of a global pandemic. It's July, we're far from [launch in] Holiday, you're seeing a work-in-progress game." He further stated that the final version of the game would be a "visual showcase." 343 Industries later outlined that the game would receive a free ray tracing update post-launch. 343 Industries narrative experience director Dan Chosich tweeted, "I want you to know your voice matters + is heard [...] I always want to live up to the legacy that Bungie pioneered. I personally care a lot about honoring that."
A screenshot of the gameplay showing one of the enemy Brutes with a deadpan expression, given the moniker "Craig" by internet commenters, became an internet meme, with 343 Industries' community director embracing it.
- Additional work by Skybox Labs and Sperasoft
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- Halo Infinite at Halo Waypoint