343 Industries’ Halo Infinite is officially a thing thanks to the reveal of campaign gameplay at the Xbox Games Showcase. IGN also spoke to studio head Chris Lee and associate creative director Paul Crocker beforehand on on what to expect. As the gameplay video showcased, there’s a lot of new things happening on this Halo ring, like a more open world.
It’s very much in the spirit of previous Halo titles though. As Lee states, “I would think about it more like kind of delivering on that promise we’ve had from the past. There’s a lot of open gameplay in those previous games, but they’re always in these linear levels. This time players will have the freedom to explore the ring. But we are telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end that we want to carry the player through as you go.”
That being said, the core focus is on Master Chief’s story. “What you saw in the demo that we showed, you have this map. There’s this huge open section of the ring. As you get to that point in the game, this is several hours into the campaign, then you have the ability to traverse that whole area and explore where you want to go on the ring. That’s what we mean by open and explore the different places that you can go to. There’s definitely a sense of freedom that you haven’t had before [in Halo]. You will get to choose your path there. But we do also want to tell that story, so while you’re doing that we want to keep the story moving forward versus like a nonlinear story or something like that.”
Other aspects of the open world include animals (which you can’t pet but can definitely be shot) and a day/night cycle that will “capture that immersion for players that you’re on this Forerunner ring.” Some areas on the map were also noted in the early-going but don’t worry if you miss them. Crocker said that, “You may or may not be able to achieve all of the goals you have at the very beginning of the game in all of our spaces, but you can always go back and explore and find more stuff to do. There’s nothing stopping you from doing that.”
In terms of upgrades, Master Chief will find different equipment items throughout the world like the grappling hook and drop shield to augment his lethality. “We do have a light upgrade system for Chief as he explores this ring. He’ll be able to upgrade equipment items. The grapple and the drop shield that we showed are kind of in that concept of a spiritual reboot that harken back to the equipment system in Halo 3. Those are two new equipment items that Chief will be able to find and use as you play through the game.”
Of course, you can also expect new weapons. These include the Ravager, a three-round burst weapon with increased melee damage via the blade at the end; the Mangler which fires highly damaging kinetic shots; the CQS48 bulldog, an evolution of the shotgun with a drum magazine; the VK78 Commando rifle which can fire in full auto; and the Pulse Carbine. Master Chief’s loadout isn’t fixed so you’ll likely be switching between all these weapons throughout your journey.
Halo Infinite is out this holiday season for Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC. It will serve as the developer’s main platform for the next ten years with new story experiences and tech improvements added on top (including a post launch ray-tracing update). Stay tuned for more details in the meantime.