Microsoft has given us a peek into Halo Infinite during their Xbox Series X games showcase today. Tooting as the poster boy for the Xbox is once again Master Chief, who thankfully seems to be the main character this time around. 343 Industries have been hyping up the game to the Halo community for the past few weeks on their social media channels and the community had been drooling for a lick of information.
During our first look at the game today, we started to see why 343 Industries is calling this a “spiritual reboot” of the franchise. The 8 minutes of gameplay we received today included an open-world environment — that was reminiscent of Halo: Combat Evolved, the return of the Banished, and a grappling hook. This is an entirely new direction for the game that was long based on linear sequences and direct delivery of the story.
Unlike other Halo’s it seems there is a vast number of gun choices to choose from. 343 stated, “This new equipment, along with various new weapons, opens up more freedom and flexibility for players to showcase their own playstyles.” I imagine they are doing this to allow for new players to get into the game quicker but also to give a new feeling to the franchise. A feeling that has long been the same.
Personally, the lack of blood, plastic-looking graphics, and movement that seems to be similar to Bungie’s Destiny have me worried about the direction the franchise is going. I was ready for the move away from the linear storytelling sequence, so an open-world seems like a suitable replacement. Although, I wasn’t anticipating there would be a removal of the grimy feeling that the original Halos produced. It almost feels like 343 got a call from Microsoft and were told they are a family-friendly game studio now.
While the showcase didn’t have any information or gameplay about the multiplayer features in Halo Infinite, 343’s newest waypoint noted, “We will be back soon with more news, including our first details on multiplayer.” Seeing the new features in a multiplayer setting will be vital in figuring out if the game’s creators are listening to the appeals of its past community, or trying to appeal to the next generation.
We still have much to learn about Infinite and the problems listed above won’t stop it from being a true Halo title, just a different one. Even though I have gripes about the game from an 8-minute teaser doesn’t mean the excitement of a brand new Halo experience isn’t present. It’s clear that 343 wants a new starting point for the franchise and this is exactly that. I think others should maintain an optimistic view and see where this new experience take us.