Halo Infinite will wind up being released about a year late. 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 pushed 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 it.
What we do know is that Microsoft is only doubling down on the game, especially when it comes to its PC release. It’s shaping up to be the company’s most significant release in years. Here’s everything we know about Halo Infinite.
But first: What are your favorite games and platforms of 2021, and what future releases are you most excited about? Take our poll!
When is the Halo Infinite release date?
The game’s E3 2021 showing suggests a holiday 2021 release date. However, some rumors suggest a possible target month for November. Halo Infinite voice actor Verlon Roberts accidentally let the potential release window slip in an episode of the Fadam and Friends podcast released back 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 and two cinematic trailers. 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 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:
- Plasma Pistol
- MK50 Sidekick
- VK78 Commando
- Pulse Carbine
- CQS48 Bulldog
The game will also take place on the Zeta Halo ring, the largest environment 343 has ever built.
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 on Xbox Series X. 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.
During E3 2021, fans caught a first glimpse at Halo Infinite’s multiplayer gameplay. The two-minute trailer suggests PvP will be greatly augmented with the addition of the grappling hook, and that maps will be more based on physical environments rather than Forge-centric designs. The clip contains many classic weapons, beloved announcer callbacks and overhauled graphics compared to the initial reveal.
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."
On which platforms and consoles will Halo Infinite be available?
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.
Does Halo Infinite have crossplay?
Here’s some great news for Xbox Game Pass subscribers especially: the game features both cross-play and cross-progression. Since the game is on both Xbox Game Pass for PC and console, that means players can download it on both and carry their save data over between them. As for the cross-play, PC and Xbox owners can live in harmony by shooting each other online. Together at last!
What other features does the PC version of Halo Infinite have?
It’s not just cross-progression that makes the PC version special. As part of it’s renewed commitment to PC gaming, Microsoft is going all out for Halo Infinite. PC players can expect these features when playing.
- Ultrawide and wiper ultrawide monitor support
- Ultra graphics settings
- Triple keybinds
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.
During E3 2021, a short sequence suggested Master Chief will face his “greatest challenge yet.” The rogue AI known as Cortana has been deleted, and she’s been replaced by a similar virtual companion. Now, however, questions remain over who actually deleted her and if she’s been deleted at all. The task was supposed to be handled by Master Chief, but, because he hasn’t done so, might she still be alive? The replacement AI was supposed to be deleted once Cortana was gone, which suggests some form of the chief’s longtime friend may still exist.
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.
A previous version of this article was written by Danny Paez.
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