Even though E3 2021 is technically over, Xbox held a second “showcase” of their own anyway. Along with more details on games like Hellblade 2 and Age of Empires 4, 343 Industries dove more into Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer.
We already knew the game would be free-to-play from the Xbox-Bethesda Showcase, and there were plenty of details in the short gameplay trailer. But in a separate deep-dive featured on the official Halo YouTube channel, the developers dug into more details that weren’t covered in either of the official livestreams.
The entirety of Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer will revolve around something called the Spartan Academy. The Academy (headed up by Commander Laurette, a new character in the series) will function as the starting area for new players, and will also be the place where players can versus AI bots on any Halo Infinite map. Along with bot matches, the Halo Infinite academy will have a rudimentary tutorial. There’ll be weapon drills for players to get more comfortable with new weapons, too.
The Academy will also teach players about valuable Halo lingo, and 343 Industries showed off a brief shot of the bot menu and what players would be able to customise.
A key focus for the broader multiplayer design was “fair and balanced starts”, with players developing their playstyle and scouring the map to grab the items, powerups and position they needed to establish themselves. Equipment plays a core choice in moment-to-moment gameplay: do you grab something like active camoflauge, or do you beeline towards the grappling hook for the verticality and surprise factor?
Players can activate those inventory items at any point — but die, and those unused items will fall to the ground for your enemies to loot.
There’s a lot of throwbacks to old Halo games: weapon pods will fall down from the sky, for instance, just like they did out of Halo 2. Players will also be able to customise their personal AI, and there’s several different choices for armour, weapon and vehicle customisations. 10 different things can be customised on a character, including the coating of their weapon, armour, shoulder pad, helmet and helmet gear. You can also set customisations through the Halo Infinite website or app.
The developers added that all customisations would be purely cosmetic, with new components and looks that people could unlock directly through gameplay. Any items made available through the paid-for Battle Pass can only be earned through gameplay, and 343 Industries stressed that those items wouldn’t be sold separately online.
On the crossplay front, the developers explained that Halo Infinite would be free-to-play on both PC and console (as opposed to just one platform). Progression will carry over between platforms, too, provided you’re using the same account on both platforms.
A separate post this week on the Halo website also outlined some of the maps that would be provided at launch, including Behemoth, Recharge, Live Fire, the urban-themed Bazaar, and Fragmentation.
We’ll get more details on Halo Infinite throughout the year. It’s targeting a holiday 2021 release, along with some closed betas before then. As more information is announced, we’ll keep you posted.