Halo Infinite is still set to release for the Xbox Project Scarlett during the 2020 holiday season, but recent updates in the 343 universe have got people concerned they won't make that date.
The August 19 news that Tim Longo, Halo Infinite's creative director, has left 343 with just a year until launch. Microsoft has attempted to clear the air by reporting that the studio head, Chris Lee, is the captain of the Halo Infinite ship, but we're all a bit concerned. Can 343 follow through on the promise to ship Halo out with Xbox Project Scarlett in a little over a year? Here's hoping.
Thusfar, there's been no Halo Infinite news or footage at Gamescom 2019.
According to 343 Industries, Halo Infinite is a spiritual reboot but still takes place after the last one. The new trailer shows Master Chief being rescued from space, over a broken, shattered Halo ring. "We lost" he's told after asking for a status report. And then he jumps out of the ship because that's what Master Chiefs do.
Take a look:
- Halo Infinite release date: 2020
- Developer: 343 Industries
- Publisher: Microsoft Studios
- Format: Xbox Project Scarlett
There was no Halo Infinite gameplay at E3 2019 (or Gamescom 2019, yet)
This is probably the only disappointment after the new trailer, platform confirmation and release date: despite strong rumors there would be Halo Infinite gameplay at E3 2019, there was none. Just the trailer.
And thus far, there has been no Halo Infinite news at this year's Gamescom.
Halo Infinite release date is 2020 and it's next gen on Xbox Project Scarlett
Microsoft has confirmed that not only is Halo Infinite a Xbox Project Scarlett launch title, but that both it and the console will be out 'Holiday 2020'. It's clearer than ever that the game is a showcase for the next-gen 'Slipspace' engine, which is probably why we're not seeing any actual gameplay just yet - you don't show off the future until you're absolutely ready.
Halo Infinite is being deemed a spiritual reboot
According to a recent interview with IGN, 343 Industries' head Bonnie Ross has confirmed that Halo Infinite is going to be a "spiritual reboot" for the entire Halo franchise. That's a seriously big statement.
"We're kind of calling it a 'spiritual reboot'," said Ross. "That's kind of how we talk about it." She added that the team has had "great learning moments" with Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Halo 4's multiplayer, and the REQ packs / free maps in Halo 5's multiplayer.
"There has been a lot of introspective time to really reflect on what [we have] done as 343," said Ross. "Where have we made mistakes? Where have we hit it right? What does Halo mean to all of us? That [Halo Infinite reveal] trailer we did is what Halo means to the studio."
"Maybe it took us two games to get there, and I think we've done good things and bad things, but what does Halo mean to us? It is about hope, and wonder, and heroism, and humanity, and community, and bringing a community together. That's what that trailer is, and that's what we want to do."
The Halo Infinite story will focus on Master Chief
Halo 5 split players' time between Master Chief and Spartan Locke. It was a narrative shift that, frankly, not many were keen on. So for Halo Infinite, developer 343 Industries is refocusing on the saga's main, green-armored protagonist.
"The team also heard feedback loud and clear on the amount of time spent playing as the Master Chief in Halo 5. In Halo Infinite, the game will focus on the Master Chief and continue his saga after the events of Halo 5," studio head Chris Lee wrote in a blog post.
And did you notice that Chief seems to be back to wearing his old armor? That's a deliberate change too, and meant to show that the art style for Infinite will be different from Halo 4 and 5. As Lee writes, it "draws significant inspiration from the most iconic and historic parts of the Halo franchise and your feedback, all while modernizing and taking advantage of the full power of the Xbox One family. The new Master Chief helmet directly showcases our new art style."
Interestingly, in a recent Social Stream from 343 Industries, Justin Robey (who recently became the game's Director of Player Voice, a role solely created to feedback player comments and criticisms to the development team) said that the team is trying to create the Halo Infinite story in a way that's "approachable" for new players, but deep enough for veteran fans. The ultimate thin line.
"Halo is one of those franchises where we have a lot of players who are probably going to come back when we release Halo Infinite," he said. "And we want to make sure as it gets in there that people aren't lost, which is one of the things that people complain about with Halo 5."
"[People said], 'Ahh there's so many elements, and I don't really know what's going on.' Making sure there is enough meat and awesome for the fans and at the same time it's approachable for people who are coming back in [for Halo Infinite]."
The Halo Infinite box art might tease some story and gameplay elements
There's a new glowing blue element to Master Chief's helmet that we've not yet seen before, and the Halo Infinite box art is definitely intriguing. The E3 2019 trailer showed Master Chief inserting a chip he'd had clenched in his hand while being all frozen in space. It didn't light up, and flashed a message that read 'AI not detected'. That was already a little tease that Cortana is about somewhere, and now we're thinking that she's right at home within Master Chief's helmet.
The box art also features several blue beams of light that seem to look like mission markers, but with so many visible could this be a hint of an open world-style structure for Halo Infinite? We certainly hope so. Even seeing Master Chief poised by the open rear door of a Pelican seems to reinforce that, perhaps using the vehicle to drop into different areas for missions. Studio Head Chris Lee has mentioned that the pilot in the trailer is a new character for the universe, and a significant one too. Perhaps its he that's ferrying you around in this world?
Halo Infinite will have microtransactions
A job listing posted this summer for a "Live Design Lead" at Microsoft shows the company is looking to hire someone who will come up with ways to keep fans engaged with Halo Infinite for an extended period of time after its release. The description asks for someone who can work on social media engagement and in-game progression, and also includes this line: "Design and deliver a AAA player investment experience that focuses on our fans and their desire to express their passion for our franchise (including but not limited to microtransactions)."
However, Halo community director Brian Jarrard has previously answered fans' worries by saying not to "worry over a job description" and that it "doesn't mean it'll result in something bad". But that was over a year ago...
I know there’s very little real info to go on thus far, but I wouldn’t worry over a job description. All pretty standard stuff in the industry, doesn’t mean it’ll result in something bad.September 21, 2018
The Halo Infinite reveal trailer isn't actually the game
Halo Infinite was announced as part of the Xbox E3 2018 press conference - in fact, it was the first game Microsoft showed on-stage. But there really wasn't too much solid details on just what we were looking at, other than it was being powered by a new engine, dubbed "Slipspace". In fact, in a blog post, 343 studio head Chris Lee clarified that what we saw was not Halo Infinite, but merely a tech demo for Slipspace.
"We still have a long way to go until we ship the game, so things will certainly evolve between now and the release of Halo Infinite, though the engine demo is a clear indication of the direction we are heading with our next game and a great snapshot of where our tech is right now," Lee wrote.
In other words: this announcement was more of a 'it's coming' than anything concrete.
Halo Infinite battle royale won't be a thing at launch, but you might be able to make your own
Despite rumours of a Halo Infinite battle royale mode floating around the internet, 343 Industries' own Frank O'Connor has said that there are no plans for the game to launch with a battle royale mode. However, he has suggested that players are more than welcome to create their own version of Halo + Fortnite in the franchise's Forge mode.
"We will not talk about the launch content of Halo Infinite until we're ready. I haven't watched the video so if I am misinterpreting the headline as 'Halo Infinite is launching with/as a Halo Battle Royale mode' that is still not the case," O'Connor said in response to a Brad Sams video posted in a Resetera thread. "You can probably make your own Battle Royale mode in Forge even right now though."
"The launch modes for MP are not 100% defined and are subject to change till quite late in the process - but Battle Rifle will still be there." O'Connor said. "But are we interested in big social modes with loads of organic shenanigans? Yes. Specifically a blimp full of survivors heading to an island after a (metaphorical) lecture from Beat Takeshi? No."