Halo Infinite has experienced a fair amount of developmental delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, outsourcing to external developers and receiving a mixed fan reaction from the gameplay shown at the Xbox Games Showcase 2020. 343 Industries had to make the tough decision to postpone the newest Halo after the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox Series X/S in order to ensure that the game will perform to the liking of the fanbase.
On March 11, 343 Industries decided to show some transparency behind the process of making Halo Infinite by taking questions from fans about what they can expect from the newest installment in Xbox’s biggest game series. The group of developers started off by talking about the day/night cycle and weather patterns on the ring. Although there won’t be thunderstorms and snowstorms in the launch version of the game, players will be able to experience audio and visual cues relating to wind and altitude change. At nighttime, you will better be able to spot patrol vehicles with beaming searchlights and glowing shields of Jackals in the distance. You might even be able to spot some Grunts sleeping on the job.
Ambient wildlife was confirmed for Halo Infinite, but you don’t have to worry about any of them being hostile towards you. The creatures solely act as a way to bring the immense ring to life while the struggle between the UNSC and Banished rages on. Since the Banished will be the only representation of the Covenant in Halo Infinite, you will not be given the option to play as an Elite in the game, as was available in previous franchise entries. It is also possible that you won’t be able to play as other supersoldiers like in Halo 5: Guardians as Halo Infinite intends to center around Master Chief and tell a “much more human” story.
The lead sandbox designer of the game, Quinn Delhoyo, broke the news that as of now there won’t be an option to dual-wield weapons in Halo Infinite. The iconic feature is being cast aside in order for 343 Industries to put more focus into the sandbox elements of the game. Fans had questions about the open-world sandbox aspects of the game to which Gameplay Director Troy Mashburn responded by saying that, “We were inspired very early on by missions like Silent Cartographer from Halo: Combat Evolved. This mission, one of the things that stuck with me is how open it was, how much player freedom, player choice you had to decide where you wanted to go, when to engage. You can go inside, you can go outside. You’re driving your Warthog, you’re with marines. When we talk about the spiritual reboot of the franchise, we wanted to capture this essence of this feeling of player choice.”
Long story short: you won’t be hunting, forging, and building, but you will have the ability to approach mission objectives with all of the tools at your disposal. The main story of Halo Infinite maintains a linear thread, but you will have the opportunity to explore new locations and sub-biomes as you progress through the campaign. An interesting feature of Halo Infinite’s sandbox environment is that you will be able to knock enemies off of the ring.
“I can tell you just recently I was playing and I happened to be driving in a Scorpion tank,” Mashburn said. “I came around the corner and I was face to face with a Wraith. Just out of pure luck, pure coincidence, I managed to push the Wraith over the edge and just watched it slowly tilt back and fall into the abyss, which was amazing, unexpected and it was just such a cool moment that happened just by luck, that I managed to come around a different way to catch them off guard.”
Considering that Halo Infinite isn’t coming out until later this year, 343 Industries still has time to expand on the features they shared during the Q&A and possibly add some others. It’s not out of the question to add dual-wielding and playable Elites in the near future. We can only keep our fingers crossed.
Halo Infinite is expected to release on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC in late 2021.