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Everything we know about Halo Infinite in 2021: release date, trailer, more

343 Industries has finally revealed a new release date.

Halo Infinite will wind up being released about a year after originally intended. The game was supposed to drop on November 10, 2020 — the same day Microsoft released the Xbox Series X and S. But developer 343 Industries decided to push back the title’s launch to 2021 following a gameplay reveal in July 2020 that was poorly received by fans.

Gamers were underwhelmed by Halo Infinite’s graphics that were severely lacking compared to other next-generation shooters that have recently debuted, like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. To top it off, there have been several managerial shakeups at the Microsoft-owned game studio that cast a shadow of doubt around the franchise’s comeback.

There’s a lot riding on the upcoming release, but there are still a plethora of unknowns around its release. Here’s everything we know about Halo Infinite.

Master Chief's revival has been pushed back to 2021.343 Industries

When is the Halo Infinite release date?

343 Industries announced in December 2020 that Halo Infinite will be released in fall 2021, one year after its originally scheduled release date. In the same breathe, Halo writer Joseph Staten reiterated the team's devoted effort to address the criticisms that gamers had with its gameplay reveal.

"That’s when the game is coming out," he wrote. "And from now until then, every one of us at 343 Industries and our great partner teams will be building, testing, and polishing an experience we hope all of you love."

While there’s still no exact date, some rumors place the game in November. Halo Infinite voice actor Verlon Roberts accidentally let the potential release window slip in an episode of the Fadam and Friends podcast released in March 2021.

Is there a Halo Infinite trailer?

Yes, there are several trailers for the game at this point, including a mysterious story teaser. To date, there are two cinematic trailers that have been released. The first debuted at E3 2018 when the game was first announced by Microsoft. The second was released during E3 2019 to give fans a bit more context around its plot and it revealed its holiday 2020 release date window.

What will Halo Infinite's gameplay be like?

Microsoft showed the world eight minutes of Halo Infinite gameplay during its July 23 Xbox Game Studio showcase. The snippet of game footage teased all-new tools, the return of classic weapons, and the most expansive Halo game of all-time. Watch the clip below:

The biggest takeaway was that Master Chief now has a grappling hook attachment on his power armor, giving him all-new movement and traversal options as well as offensive and defensive capabilities in the middle of a firefight.

Microsoft also updated the running list of weapons that will be available in Halo Infinite. All of the following guns will be available in-game upon release:

  • MA3/5
  • Plasma Pistol
  • MK50 Sidekick
  • VK78 Commando
  • Ravager
  • Pulse Carbine
  • Mangler
  • CQS48 Bulldog

What will the Halo Infinite multiplayer be like?

The Halo franchise redefined what it was like to play first-person shooters online and Microsoft is making an unprecedented move for the franchise.

The company announced that Halo Infinite's multiplayer will be free-to-play and it will support 120 frames-per-second. This means Halo Infinite's single-player campaign will be completely optional, much like how Activision made Call of Duty: Warzone free-to-play earlier in 2020.

Halo Infinite could also have another thing in common with Warzone come launch day.

How is 343 addressing the Halo Infinite graphics controversy?

Many fans thought the graphics that were showcased during the Halo Infinite clip looked dated compared to some of the AAA titles, like The Last of Us Part II. This sparked a social media outcry and led 343 Industries to explain their choice of game aesthetic. This negative fan reaction also likely had a lot to do with the dev team's decision to delay the game on August 11.

343 Industries provided an update on the graphical changes it is in the processing of making to Halo Infinite in the same post it revealed the game's new release window:

"Much of the feedback we heard from the community aligned with our own views and work we were already committed to doing around things like indirect lighting, material response, foliage and tree rendering, clouds, level-of-detail transitions, and character fidelity. Still, the feedback was humbling, and it also pushed us to look at additional opportunities for improvement."

So the final version of the game could look totally different.

Does Halo Infinite have a battle royale mode?

In August 2020, the Japanese Xbox Store accidentally revealed that Halo Infinite will have a battle royale multiplayer mode. The leak was verified by multiple users on Reddit but has since been removed.

The game mode drew mixed reactions from long-time fans who didn't like to see their favorite franchise copy FPS trends. While other gamers thought a battle royale set in Halo Infinite's new sandbox world could be incredibly fun to explore and fight through with friends.

That claim has since been disputed. Leaker Klobrille claims that the rumored battle royale mode is a myth and that the game will actually feature a Big Team Battle 2.0 mode instead. That would be a more traditional Halo mode with a focus on vehicles.

Does Halo Infinite have microtransactions?

Halo Infinite will have a microtransaction system, like many modern titles that use the games-as-a-service model. Lee revealed in a September 2018 tweet that the game won't include any "real-money loot boxes" like Electronic Arts' sport game franchises. Then, Halo Community Manager John Junyszek has shed more light on Halo Infinite's microtransaction system in an October 2020 blog post.

The title will include a shop for "coatings," which players can buy or earn to customize Master Chief, weapons, and vehicles. Junyszek assured fans these cosmetics won't only be available for players with deep pockets.

"There will be all kinds customization items (including coatings) that can be earned in-game and earned as special rewards," he said. "Will there be purchases? Sure. Is that the only way? Absolutely not."

What consoles will Halo Infinite be available on?

Halo Infinite will launch on Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and Windows 10. To sweeten the deal for Xbox users, Microsoft has confirmed that Halo Infinite will be available on Xbox Game Pass on the day it’s released.

"In addition to games from across four generations of consoles, our leading game subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, will continue to have our first-party games, like Halo Infinite, included at their launch," wrote Xbox chief Phil Spencer in a February 2020 release. It’s still unclear if that means the game will also be playable on the Game Pass’s PC library, or if it will be exclusively for Xbox One players.

Will Xbox One users need to repurchase Halo Infinite for the Series X?

If you purchase Halo Infinite for the Xbox One, you will be able to play it on the Xbox Series X at no additional cost thanks to the console’s “Smart Delivery” feature. This lets gamers purchase certain games once on old hardware but still have access to fully optimized versions of them on the improved Series X hardware.

Spencer promised gamers that all exclusive Xbox Game Studios titles will receive this treatment. That means players will no longer need to buy remastered versions of iconic Xbox Games for $60 if they want to play them with better graphics.

What is the Halo Infinite story?

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 than three in-universe years after the events of Halo 5, sometime 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.

Atriox will seemingly be the main antagonist in 'Halo Infinite.'343 Industries

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 remain led by Chris Lee. 343 also partnered with Canadian development studio SkyBox Labs in August 2018. Both companies worked together on Halo 5: Forged for Windows 10 and the Xbox One X enhancements from Halo 5: Guardians.

Halo Infinite will be released sometime in fall 2021.

A previous version of this article was written by Danny Paez.

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