Two years after the impressive demonstration of Halo Infinite, the developers have finally erupted with the first gameplay video and are beginning to fully promote the advertising campaign. Considering the release in the next mountain, we decided to collect and organize in one material all the known information about the game and thereby answer the main questions that could arise from both veterans and newcomers to the Halo series. Today we'll talk more about the gameplay, multiplayer, storyline, and graphics and development issues plaguing Halo Infinite.
Graphics engine and technical features
The official gameplay presentation of Halo Infinite was shown on PC and managed to frustrate gamers with a level of graphics that, even with a strong desire, cannot be called advanced. The game looks almost worse than Halo 5, released five years ago, which raises a number of not very pleasant questions, especially considering that Infinite is announced as the main starter project for the nextgen console Xbox Series X. Obviously, the graphics are far from the most perfect level. can be explained by several factors: open, large-scale levels, targeting 60 FPS even on the outdated Xbox One and support for 4K resolution in the version for Series X.
Of course, such explanations can hardly be called satisfactory given the flagship status of the project, and after a flurry of criticism, supported by hundreds of memes, the general manager of marketing for the Xbox brand Aaron Greenberg hastened to assure the players that indeed at the first official presentation due to the coronavirus-related pandemic procrastination showed us an irrelevant build of the game. According to him, the graphics level of Halo Infinite is getting better with each new week.
In turn, a number of technical specialists, for example, the Digital Foundry team, were also unhappy with the appearance of the game and, in particular, with the lighting system. However, they noticed that the addition of ray tracing technology could significantly improve the visuals of the game. The good news is that the developers have confirmed support for Ray Tracing, the bad news is that it is hardly worth waiting for at the release, rather in one of the future updates. Also note that the graphics engine for the Slipspace Engine, according to 343 Industries software engineer Daniel Janetti, is the most advanced in the gaming industry for developing AAA games, which may indicate the ability to quickly scale the graphics level and update the picture with new technologies.
Halo Infinite on Xbox One, X and Series X consoles runs at 60 frames per second. It also claims support for 4K resolution on all consoles besides the regular Xbox One. An additional advantage of Series X is support for 120 FPS in multiplayer.
Story, Master Chief and Cortana
When creating the shooter, the developers set themselves the goal of giving players the longest storyline campaign in Halo history. At the same time, 343 industries try to please both fans of the franchise, continuing the story of their favorite heroes, and a new audience, without requiring players to know the events of previous games to immerse themselves in the plot. Of course, Master Chief, Cortana, Halo, Covenant and the Exiles will return along with other distinctive attributes of the series, but it is still unclear whether the new game will be a continuation of the "Restorer Saga", begun with Halo 4 or offer an original story.
The developers still keep the details of the plot under a veil of secrecy, but some information can be obtained from the Halo Infinite gameplay and the first two videos. The 2019 trailer introduced us to a new character - an unnamed pilot who awakens the Master Chief. The pilot is described by the developers as "the most humane character in the history of Halo" who emotionally reacts violently to the events taking place, thanks to which he will act as an antipode to the eternally stern and laconic Master Chief. In the same trailer, the pilot points out the destroyed ring to the Chief and repeats that “we have lost.”
The reasons for the tragic incident can be gleaned from the July gameplay demonstration. The beginning of the video was accompanied by the caption "167 days after we lost", which may indicate a large-scale battle between humans and the race of Exiles that occurred after the events of Halo Wars 2. In the same solar system, within the Zeta Halo ring, the storyline will unfold campaigns.
The fate of the characters of Halo Wars or Cortana, which, judging by the ending of Halo 5: Guardians, should become the main antagonist of the new game, has not been reported, but it is known that even despite the return of the Covenant, the main threat will be the warlike race of the Exiles. At the end of the video, we see that they obey the orders of the Warlord Esharum, who, together with the Harbingers, want to control a mysterious place called the Auditorium. Thus, it becomes obvious that despite the relatively fast release of Halo Infinite on PC and Xbox consoles, the game leaves plenty of room for intrigue and surprises. However, one can be sure of one thing - the Master Chief will not be deprived of attention this time, which was confirmed by the director of the franchise, Frank O'Connor.
Gameplay, Innovation and Open World
The gameplay core of the series has remained practically unchanged: exactly like 20 years ago, we have the same sandbox shooter in vast open spaces and with smart opponents. The main difference is the desire of the developers to significantly increase the size of locations, giving players more tactical scope for fighting. It should be noted that despite the rumors and the impression that may arise from watching the first Halo Infinite gameplay, the developers do not plan to implement the open world in the game in the usual sense. Judging by the desire of the developers to create a series of large levels on the Halo, in which players can return to unlock new bonuses, in terms of the structure of the world we are waiting for another analogue of metroidvania.
A closer look at the gameplay video reveals a few more interesting details. For example, the radar familiar from the previous parts of the series has returned, and on a glimpse of the map of the area that appears, you can consider a list of tasks. In this case, the Master Chief has three tasks: to destroy the enemy turrets, which, apparently, can be destroyed in any order. Also on the map, you can see several points of interest and additional activities, such as "Tower", "Rescue Soldiers" and "Conservatory". Part of the location on the map is covered by the fog of war, so it's hard to say how large-scale it will be. Also, the developers have confirmed the day and night in real time.
The artificial intelligence of opponents will undergo minor changes and acquire new techniques. So, for example, the brutes have learned to throw grants towards the player. The Master Chief also did not do without new abilities, among which we can note a force shield and a grappling hook, which allows both to be attracted to surfaces and to attract small objects, like an explosive barrel, to throw them at the enemy. Among the pleasant innovations in the Halo Infinite game, we note the zonal damage system, due to which you can knock down the armor from the body of opponents or make them lose balance by shooting in the leg. A likely, but unconfirmed innovation is the ability to customize weapons.
Multiplayer, beta, game service
As in the previous parts of the series, Halo Infinite multiplayer will be one of the most important parts of the game, but at the moment we know the very minimum of details. Confirmed customization of Spartan armor similar to the system from Halo Reach, support for 120 FPS for the Xbox Series X version and the main news - completely free multiplayer, distributed according to the Free2Play principle. Additionally, insiders have confirmed that the multiplayer mode is planned to be supported through the system of seasons and battle passes.
Halo Infinite's Battle Royale mode, if ever added to the game, shouldn't be expected at release. However, Frank O'Connor said that if desired, it can be created in the Forge mode, which will return to Infinite. Regarding microtransactions: the appearance of loot boxes should not be expected in any form, but the developers from 343 industries do not deny the opportunity to add the option to purchase cosmetics for real money.
Fans of the cooperative game were not deprived either. The entire campaign can be played in a team of 4 players. Also confirmed is the split screen for two players on the same screen. As for the beta, the developers are in no hurry to spread, but they assured that the first test of the multiplayer mode will happen on the Xbox consoles, after which the Halo Infinite beta will be held on the PC. And finally, a few words about the service concept of the game. Apparently, in the face of Infinite, we are waiting for the last separate part of Halo, as indicated by both the name of the game and the desire to support the game for 10 years, periodically releasing updates for the multiplayer and story campaign.
One of the most unpleasant news of the outgoing summer is the postponement of the release date of Halo Infinite to 2021. Considering that Infinite was announced as the flagship and launch project for Xbox Series X, due out in November 2020, the decision was made by developers and Microsoft with great difficulty. Yes, so large that the publisher even thought about releasing the game in parts. In words, it sounds like a real Early Access program, which is practiced mainly for indie games.
Fortunately, the developers have abandoned such ideas and cite the coronavirus as the culprit for the transfer. We remind them that they tried to explain the problems with the visual component of the game.
However, according to a number of insiders, the problems within 343 industries are actually much more serious. This is indicated, for example, by former IGN editor Alana Pearce, who said that at a certain stage the development of Halo Infinite had to be completely restarted, which was caused by a flurry of dissatisfaction with Halo 5: Guardians. In fact, Infinite completely rewrote the plot, which significantly delayed the estimated release date.
Additional news about the problematic development was the departure in August 2019 of the creative director of Halo Infinite Tim Longo. Two months after his departure, Mary Olson, the lead producer of the game, left the studio, and she also served as the head of the development of the story campaign. Of course, leaving people even from key positions does not automatically mean a verdict, but such a personnel reshuffle more than a year before the release of the game could cause concern among Halo fans.
For even more news on the problematic situation within 343 industries, check out the anonymous developer reviews on Glassdoor. Judging by the numerous comments from the studio staff, the development conditions for Halo Infinite can hardly be called anything other than catastrophic. Problems with the studio's own engine Slipspace Engine, characterized by unstable work, lack of intelligible communication between the executive and management departments, an abundance of contractors and incompetent management are just some of the problems. Indirectly, the words about the problems of the development of Halo Infinite were confirmed by the insider blogger and one of the developers of the Xbox Game Studio Richard Masucci. According to him, 343 industries were in crisis due to the transition from Unreal Engine 4 to Slipspace Engine,
At the official level, the rumors have not been confirmed. Halo Infinite has an official release date set for 2021 on PC and Xbox One, X and Series X consoles.
Read also material about the 10 most important games of the XXI century, which was not without one of the parts of the Halo series.
The Topic of Article: Everything You Need to Know About Halo Infinite: Problematic Development, Gameplay Improvements, Story, and Multiplayer.