Skip to main content

Halo Infinite: Release date, the return of Master Chief, and everything else you need to know

(Image credit: Microsoft Xbox)

Halo Infinite is coming folks. Now we know what Xbox Series X is called, what it looks like and a vague launch window, the arrival of Halo Infinite feels closer than ever. The sixth game in the Halo series is coming sometime next year, and it's called Halo Infinite. The game will return to the franchise's beloved roots, with Spartan John-117 (Master Chief) stepping his big ol' boots back into the role of protagonist. We don't have very many details about the game's plot (or much else, for that matter), but we've gathered everything you should know here.

And despite recent departures from top developers, 343 Industries does not want you to worry. Acording to them, Halo Infinite is still set to release for the Xbox Series X, despite losing creative director Tim Longo on August 19 and lead producer on the campaign, Mary Olson, on Ocotber 14. Olson left 343 Industries to join Midwinter Entertainment. 

But there's nothing wrong behind the scenes, guys, at least according to community manager John Junyszek. He said in a Reddit post that there is "no creative dilemma" at 343 Industries, and that Olson's departure is an industry standard standard. It's still strange that Olson left only two months after Longo, as she was the one who replaced him as creative director.  

Despite reassurances that we'll be getting Halo Infinite when Xbox Series X drops during Holiday 2020, there wasn't a whisper of news at this year's X019, or Gamescom 2019. That's certainly worrying (or at least, confusing), but The Coalition's Rod Ferguson told GamesRadar+ that "Halo has it covered as the launch title for Scarlett" when discussing the idea that Gears 5 could have been delayed for next-gen. Seems like just about everyone in the industry is banking on Halo Infinite being released in tandem with the newest Xbox.

But don't fret, there's been some good news on the Halo Infinite front. Most importantly, the incredible story behind one of the game's newest voice actors - Gyoza the pug. Read more about him below.

Adorable, snorty pug aside, he's everything else we know about Halo Infinite: 

Fast facts

  • Halo Infinite release date: 2020
  • Developer: 343 Industries
  • Publisher: Microsoft Studios
  • Format: Xbox Xbox Series X

Halo Infinite release date is 2020 and it will be on the next-gen console, Xbox Series X

Microsoft has confirmed that not only is Halo Infinite a Xbox Series X 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 has a pug voice actor making alien noises

(Image credit: Halo Official Instagram )

There's a voice actor even more important than Steve Downes, the voice of Master Chief, and his name is Gyoza. Gyoza is a pug who spent some time in 343 Industries' studio recording snarfles and sniffles and grunts. Halo's official Instagram account even posted about him, writing "Meet our favorite pug, Gyoza.The best friend of our studio's Technical Art Director, his grunts, breaths, and excitement are sure to make for some... interesting sounds in #HaloInfinite." 

While we initially reported that it was unclear what alien Gyoza could be voicing, and suggested it may be a new species, after several consecutive listens it certainly sounds like Gyoza could be portraying the Flood. The Flood are a species of incredibly virulent parasitic organisms that consume lifeforms in order grow and reproduce. Those Gyoza noises suddenly sound a lot less cute...

There was no Halo Infinite gameplay at E3 2019 or Gamescom 2019 or X019

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. There was no Halo Infinite news at this year's Gamescom. And most surprisingly, at Microsoft's big year-end celebration, X019, Halo Infinite news was nonexistent. They're really keeping us in the dark about this.

Halo Infinite is considered a spiritual reboot

According to an 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

(Image credit: Xbox / Microsoft)

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...

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."