E3 2019: Halo Infinite — What We Know And What We Want
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It’s been almost four years since the release of Halo 5: Guardians, so it is high time that Microsoft begins to talk about and show off the next entry in the popular shooter series. Here’s what we know about the Xbox One and PC game, as well as what we’d hope to see from an E3 reveal.
What We Know So Far
Halo Infinite was officially announced a year ago at Microsoft’s E3 2018 briefing. Microsoft showcased an impressing-looking trailer not for the game itself, but rather, its brand-new engine, Slipspace. While it didn’t contain any gameplay, and we know nothing about the story, the trailer got Halo fans hyped for the long-awaited sequel to 2015’s Halo 5: Guardians.
While story details are being kept under wraps for now, Microsoft did confirm that Halo Infinite will tell a story that focuses more on Master Chief than Halo 5 did. As fans may recall, that title strayed from the franchise’s hero with a storyline that touched on another character, Agent Locke, and even had players fight as him for some parts of the campaign.
Putting more of an emphasis on Master Chief is the smart call by Microsoft, demonstrating a commitment to getting the story right this time around with Halo Infinite. Microsoft has acknowledged that Halo 5’s story was a letdown, so fans will be eager to see how the story grows and improves this time. For what it’s worth, Microsoft is telling fans to think of Halo Infinite as Halo 6 instead of some other kind of spin-off or other form of franchise extension beyond the main storyline. It is a “spiritual reboot” of the franchise, according to 343 studio boss Bonnie Ross.
Halo is best known for its multiplayer mode, but unfortunately no details are available at this stage beyond the news from years ago that it will feature local split-screen (huzzah!). Microsoft has said the new Slipspace Engine is capable of supporting numerous different modes, including battle royale (though that mode is not currently in development). You can expect Halo Infinite to bring back its classic team-based multiplayer, but with the Halo franchise generally understood to not as popular or strong as it once was, Microsoft will need to deliver something new and compelling in the multiplayer department to reignite interest in the aging series. Halo 5’s massive-scale, MOBA-style Warzone mode was a refreshing take on the Halo formula, and fans will be looking to see Halo Infinite innovate even further on the multiplayer side.
Another big thing to know about Halo Infinite is that it is coming to Xbox One (or the Xbox One family of consoles; more on that later) as well as PC. That’s notable because the Halo FPS series hasn’t been on PC since 2004’s Halo 2. Halo: The Master Chief Collection is coming this year to PC, so PC players are getting a double-dose of Halo goodness after all the years.
It is also worth noting that Halo Infinite isn’t being developed by 343 Industries alone. The studio has recruited SkyBox labs to help; the Vancouver-based studio also worked on Halo 5: Forge for Windows 10 and did the work on Halo 5’s Xbox One X enhancements.
What’s Confirmed For E3?
Bonnie Ross, the head of Halo developer 343 Industries, has said game director Chris Lee will appear at E3 2019 to talk about Halo Infinite, or at least its new Slipspace Engine. That is all that is confirmed at this stage, however.
What We Hope To See At E3
Last year’s trailer for the Slipspace Engine was an exciting first look at what Halo Infinite could be, but Microsoft has yet to share any details on what the game actually is or what it looks like. It is time, at E3 2019, for Microsoft to release new details and gameplay footage for Halo Infinite. What’s the story going to be? What will multiplayer offer? How will the team expand on Forge? What is the big new hook to get people excited to return to the aging sci-fi series? We are hoping Microsoft answers these questions and more, even if the company is only willing to talk at a high level.
There is also the matter of the rumored next-generation Xbox and what Halo’s place is on it. The latest rumor is that Halo Infinite will be a launch title for the new Xbox in 2020, while also supporting the current model as well as a cross-generation title. No Halo game since Halo 1 has released as a launch title for a new Xbox, so it would be a big deal, and it makes sense for Microsoft to release Halo Infinite as a launch title for the next Xbox to help sales start strong.
According to Microsoft insider Brad Sams, careers will be made or lost based on the success of Halo Infinite given Microsoft’s reported half-billion dollar investment in the game and its engine. Microsoft’s commitment to expanding upon and improving Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been impressive, and the game is in a great state today, but it’s time for Halo Infinite details.