8.26.2019 8:14 PM


'Halo Infinite': Release Date, Story and What's Next After Creative Director's Departure

Master Chief is back in a "spiritual reboot" of the storied sci-fi shooter franchise.


Nearly half a decade after Halo 5: Guardians blew collective minds of the storied franchise’s fans, Microsoft is on the cusp of releasing the sci-fi shooter’s next epic chapter: Halo Infinite. Microsoft subsidiary 343 Industries will head the game’s development, and have claimed it will be unlike any previous Halo game. Studio head Bonnie Ross told IGN the title will be a “spiritual reboot,” centered around the gunslinging super-soldier, Master Chief.

Halo Infinite will be the eleventh Halo game from 343, after the developer acquired complete control of the franchise following Bungie’s split from Microsoft in 2007. The minds behind Infinite hope to see it revitalize the iconic series, which some fans say has been watered down in recent years. It will also kick off a new era of console gaming, launching on Xbox One, PC and the upcoming next-gen Xbox Scarlett.

There’s a lot riding on this release. Recent announcements that creative director Tim Longo left 343 mid-development, and that the game would include microtransactions have put its future into question. Will 343 be able to stick the landing on its most important release to date? Here’s everything we know about Halo: Infinite.

The next-generation Xbox console will take the next chapter of the 'Halo' series to new heights.YouTube.com/Xbox

When IsHalo Infinite’s Release Date?

Microsoft has yet to confirm an exact release date for Halo Infinite, but during E3 2019 it announced the game will arrive during the holiday season of 2020.

Gamers should expect a release no earlier than September 2020, a few months ahead of the year-end shopping boost. Shortly before Black Friday is a safe bet, as consoles and games are always sought-after holiday gifts, even if discounts are unlikely shortly after launch.

What Consoles Will Halo Infinite Be Available On?

Halo Infinite will be the debut game for Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox Scarlett console, expected to ship in late 2020. If that timeline is met, Halo Infinite will release 19 years after the original Halo: Combat Evolved debuted alongside the first Xbox in 2001. Expect the game to release the same day on Xbox One, Scarlett and PC.


What Will Halo Infinite Be About?

While Halo 5: Guardians was split between Master Chief and Spartan Locke’s storylines, Halo Infinite will seemingly focus exclusively on Master Chief.

Microsoft hasn’t revealed any gameplay footage, only two trailers seen at E3 2018 and 2019. Hawk-eyed Halo fans on Reddit noticed the “Discover Hope” trailer from E3 2019 takes place more three in-universe years after the events of Halo 5, some time after 2561. In that same thread, fans also noted a screenshot from the 2018 trailer showed the date as 5/27/2560. That suggests the 2019 trailer took place at least 16 in-game months after the 2018 trailer.

Combined, the two E3 trailers paint a bleak picture of humanity locked in a heated battle that it eventually lost. A marine who finds Master Chief in stasis tells him, “We lost. We lost everything. There’s nothing left for us here,” before jumping into action. These clues suggest the game could kick off after the ashes have settled following a massive fight, finding Master Chief tasked with redeeming humanity.

What Could Tim Longo’s Departure Mean for Halo Infinite?

Tim Longo was creative director for Halo 5 and worked in the same capacity on Halo Infinite until he left 343 in mid-August, according to his LinkedIn. He had worked with the company for more than six years. Microsoft said Longo left on good terms, noting that after some leadership restructuring, Halo Infinite was still on schedule.

Here are snippets of the statement they gave Kotaku:

Our Executive Producer, Mary Olson will now take charge of the Campaign team on Halo Infinite as the Lead Producer, utilizing her many years of experience at 343 to help craft a great campaign for fans.

Additionally, Tim Longo has recently departed our team and we are truly thankful for his many contributions to our games, our studio and the Halo universe. We wish Tim nothing but the best in his future endeavors.

The overall creative vision and production of the game remains led by Chris Lee, Studio Head of Halo Infinite.

How Will Halo Infinite Microtransactions Work?

Halo Infinite will have a microtransaction system, like many modern titles that use the games-as-a-service model.

Gamespot discovered a job listing for an Online Experience Design Director in September 2018 alluding to the presence of microtransactions in the game. Word spread, prompting fans to voice their discontent on Twitter.

Following the blowback, Lee explained on Twitter that the game’s microtransactions won’t involve “real-money loot boxes” in any form. It’s likely Infinite will feature a skin market allowing players to could trick out Master Chief for a few bucks.

Halo Infinite will hit shelves in late 2020.

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