Halo Infinite gets a Teaser...sort of.
Microsoft’s E3 conference this Sunday was notable for including a number of upcoming exclusives, something the XBox has been sorely lacking as of late. Announcements were made for anticipated titles such as Gears of Wars 5, Devil May Cry 5, Just Cause 4 (insert joke about sequels here) as well as Cyberpunk 2077 which generated considerable amounts of hype. The question on my mind though was if we were finally going to get some news regarding Halo 6. Since the release of Halo 5 back in 2015, it’s been pretty much radio silence on the development of the sci-fi shooter’s sequel. The games have traditionally released on a 3 year development cycle, but when 2018 rolled around and we still hadn’t heard a peep from developer 343 Industries, it seemed that they were either working on something big or not working at all. With Microsoft’s focus on exclusives this year it was almost a certainty that there was going to be something pertaining to the next entry in the series that single-handedly put XBox on the map back in 2001. Well, it didn’t take long to get our answer when the first teaser for Halo Infinite premiered at the very start of the presentation.
The trailer itself shared very little (well nothing actually) in regards to plot or gameplay; in fact it wasn’t clear that it was even a Halo game until about two thirds of the way through when we finally get to see Master Chief's iconic helmet. Most of the teaser featured scenes of beautifully rendered natural landscapes, herds of animals, strange cave carvings and abandoned military equipment. However, we were given an answer as to why 343 has been keeping us in the dark for so long when the end of the trailer revealed that Halo Infinite would be powered by the brand new Slipspace Engine. With that information it seems that the video we saw was meant to be more of a tech demo for the new engine rather than a teaser for the upcoming game, which explains the rhinos I guess. A blog post by Chris Lee of 343 Industries went into slightly more detail about the engine stating that a team had been working on the project for years and that “the team’s vision for the game was ambitious – so much so that we knew we had to build new tech to fully realize our goals for Halo Infinite.” In addition to brand new tech, the post also stated that the art design for the game would be receiving a major overhaul explaining the rather different looking armor sported by the Chief.
Speaking of the Chief, it was also confirmed that the game will exclusively follow his story and continue after the events of Halo 5. A principal complaint about Halo 5 was the relative scarcity with which the player actually played as the Master Chief, with the story constantly jumping perspectives between him and the secondary protagonist Spartan Locke. This time around we hopefully can stick with just the Chief’s POV at least for the single player campaign. I truly hope 343 devotes the time and resources towards delivering a compelling single player experience and brings the series back to its roots, especially after the admittedly lackluster campaigns of 4 and 5. Perhaps the most exciting revelation regarding the game, for me at least, was the confirmation that it will be released for both XBox One and Windows 10. This means Infinite would be the first main-series Halo game to receive a PC release since Halo 2 in 2004. Additionally, it opens up the possibility that the game will also feature cross-platform multiplayer, something Microsoft has been eagerly pushing as of late.
As far as a release date goes, nothing concrete has been given just yet and it looks like the game is still in the very early stages of development. If I had to guess we can probably expect a release sometime in late 2019 at the earliest but that’s all just speculation at this point. From what we do know it looks like Halo Infinite could be the single biggest entry in the franchise so far. Requiring the development of an entirely new engine could mean that 343 has some seriously awesome ideas in store and hopefully they’ve taken some of the criticism they’ve received in the past to heart. Halo has always been one of my single favorite game series and I owe much of my love of gaming to the hours upon hours I put into it as a kid. For the first time in far too long I’m genuinely excited to see where we go from here and look forward to more updates from 343.