Halo Infinite seems to be a revolutionary installment to the Halo franchise, adding new features to nearly every aspect of gameplay. These changes will adjust new and old elements of the franchise while completely removing others. While some fans may find these changes jarring, developer 343 Industries’ updates look to have the franchise’s best intentions at heart. These innovations seek to balance long-standing exploits within Halo while improving on established mechanics and systems.
Halo Infinite is releasing on December 8, 2021. It will not include Forge or co-op campaign at launch due to delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Halo Infinite already suffered massive delays during development, and 343 Industries likely wanted to launch during 2021’s holiday season. There is little information about Halo Infinite’s campaign, despite its upcoming release. Halo Infinite is the last chapter of the Forerunner Saga and will be a gateway to new adventures in the Halo series. 343 Industries has no plans to release another standalone title for a decade, suggesting that it will build future experiences into Halo Infinite for the foreseeable future.
New mechanics coming to Halo Infinite include updates to weapons, multiplayer, and its main campaign. Halo Infinite’s experience will be unique but maintains familiarity with the franchise’s previous installments. Familiar vehicles like the Warthog, Banshee, and Scorpion will appear in Halo Infinite’s campaign and multiplayer, accompanied by weapons like the Needler, Battle Rifle, and Rocket Launcher. In addition, assassinations will still be a mechanic in multiplayer, alongside game modes like Big Team Slayer, an Arena mode, and more. Halo Infinite’s public betas also showcased the return of bot enemies, which appeared in Halo ODST. 343 Industries will likely reveal more information about Halo Infinite in the coming months, but several new mechanics are already confirmed.
Halo Infinite is adding five new weapons to its arsenal, which will be available in multiplayer and found throughout the campaign’s world. The Banished will serve as the primary antagonists on the ring installation and have two unique weapons in their arsenal. The Ravager is a Banished-style, three-round burst energy weapon that runs primarily on plasma fuel. The plasma reflects the Covenant-styled weaponry that the Banished had access to before their exile. The Banished also possess the Mangler, which fires large, kinetic projectiles with a slower fire rate than the UNSC pistol. Despite its slower speed, the Mangler deals massive damage and could come in handy with close-quarters combat.
However, Infinite’s Banished are not the only faction with new weapons, as the UNSC has updated their arsenal to equip players for the game’s latest threats. The CQS48 Bulldog is a riot shotgun that will replace the beloved classic shotgun. Additionally, gameplay trailers for Halo Infinite revealed a more erratic fire pattern that restricts its range to close-quarters combat. UNSC forces have also created the VK78 Commando, a new type of rifle that contains a full auto fire mode and excels at mid to long-range combat.
The Covenant will also be in Halo Infinite’s world, though the reason for their presence is unknown. In addition to classic Covenant weaponry such as the Needler and Plasma Rifle, Covenant soldiers will now have the Pulse Carbine. This weapon bears a striking resemblance to the classic Covenant Carbine but will feature five-round burst energy projectiles for mid-range combat. Early gameplay of the Pulse Carbine has shown its slow travel time emphasizes the importance of leading shots in battle. Players can test each weapon in multiplayer’s firing range, where the match announcer and player’s customized AI will commentate.
The most significant change to Halo Infinite’s campaign will be its open world. Unlike other Halo titles that restricted exploration by level and area, Master Chief will be able to explore the Installation with little restriction. Players will often rendezvous with a character known only as Echo216’s Pilot. This pilot will find Master Chief adrift in space and serve as a companion. Halo Infinite’s world will feature the Banished, an enemy from Halo Wars 2, alongside other Covenant enemies scattered across the landscape. To compensate for the increased area, 343 Industries has implemented more vehicles for easy travel. Early gameplay footage of Halo Infinite suggests that players will also partake in side quests, thanks to additional markers that appear on the mini-map.
Halo Infinite’s multiplayer will be a unique entry to the series in many ways. Multiplayer will be free-to-play and stand apart from Halo Infinite‘s main campaign. 343 Industries will instead gain revenue from multiplayer through Halo Infinite’s Battle Pass. The Battle Pass’ cosmetics are earned through challenges, not through experience gained during multiplayer matches. In addition, 343 has confirmed multiplayer will not feature a loot box mechanic, and players will not have to purchase cosmetics with real money. Halo Infinite’s first multiplayer season will be the Heroes of Reach, which will feature the armor sets of Noble 6.
In addition to Halo Infinite’s new multiplayer distribution, players will have access to new abilities never before seen in the Halo franchise. Abilities like grappling lines, sonar darts, and deflector shields will revolutionize Halo gameplay in multiplayer and single-player. Grappling lines will assist players in mobility but also allow them to hijack vehicles and retrieve weapons. Sonar darts will provide intel across the battlefield and grant x-ray vision. Deflector shields can bounce projectiles like rockets and grenades away from the player. Joining these abilities is an updated, forward-facing drop shield that allows players to create their own cover. Halo Infinite’s multiplayer will also feature customized AI to serve as personal announcers.
Halo Infinite’s most significant multiplayer change is its updated motion sensor and sprint mechanics. Several Halo titles struggled to find a balance with sprint, but Infinite may have fixed this problem. All Spartans will be able to sprint, but sprinting will reveal them on the motion sensor. While running, Spartans will also be able to slide. The ability to slide will likely allow sprinting players to escape ambushes when turning corners or traveling through open areas. It’s unknown how this new mechanic will affect gameplay, but it seems to have balanced out Halo’s sprinting for now.
While Halo Infinite has introduced many new mechanics, weapons, and systems into the Halo franchise, early single and multiplayer experiences remain faithful to the series’ spirit. Hopefully, 343 Industries will remove less popular changes to the franchise in later updates, but Halo’s evolution is essential for its survival. Many first-person shooters compete with Halo, and new mechanics will keep the legendary series from falling to irrelevancy. Halo Infinite‘s campaign and multiplayer release on December 8, 2021, for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.