Microsoft officially unveiled a whole lot of info about Halo Infinite at its E3 presentation yesterday. As previously announced, the multiplayer mode will be entirely free-to-play at launch, and it will also feature one kickass grappling hook. Today, in a 12-minute mini-doc, 343 Industries pulled the curtain back a bit more, showing off how Halo Infinite’s multiplayer will deviate from prior series entries — and how it’ll stay the same.
What competitive modes will be available?
Arena will return, but 343 didn’t share details about which specific modes will be on the playlist. It seems like a no-brainer that Slayer, the core Halo gametype, will make a comeback, both in free-for-all and team-based modes. The multiplayer reveal trailer showed a round of Capture the Flag, so you can bet that’s in the game. Via Twitter, 343 boss Bonnie Ross confirmed that Big Team Battle will return, and that matches will feature teams of twelve. Beyond that, 343 has remained tight-lipped about the specific offerings and whether or not fan favourites like Oddball, King of the Hill, or Rocket Race (please give us Rocket Race) will be available.
Is Firefight back?
343 hasn’t officially confirmed whether or not Firefight — the popular Halo mode in which you face off against progressively challenging waves of enemies — will return. But staffers from 343 mentioned the term in today’s stream. In fact, the stream opened with 343’s Andrew Witts describing “the feeling of being in Firefight.”(Halo 5 didn’t add it until after launch.)
What about Forge?
“What I’m genuinely excited about is taking the game out of our hands and putting it into the community’s hands,” 343’s Joseph Staten said in today’s video. “Whether it’s seeing what people make in Forge or the content they’re able to make in Theatre.”
I take that as, “Yes.”
What maps will be available?
Yesterday’s reveal trailer showed a map that looked nearly identical to Valhalla, the asymmetric canyon map that debuted in Halo 3 (and played a huge role in web series Red vs. Blue before it stopped being funny). Beyond that, 343 says more info about maps will be shown off in a Halo Waypoint blog planned for Wednesday.
How will equipment work?
In yesterday’s reveal, you may have spotted one demo player using a grappling hook to swing across the map, or to grab an explosive barrel and toss it into a Warthog. Officially called the Grappleshot, it’s just one of many new pieces of equipment in Halo, including the Repulsor (which reflects projectiles) and the Drop Wall (which…drops a wall in front of you).
Equipment works much like it did in Halo 3: You pick it up on the map as you would a weapon. When you die, you drop it, at which point an opponent can pick it up. Same goes for limited-use items.
There are bots, right?
Yes, for the first time in series history, Halo Infinite will feature bots. (Don’t split hairs. Firefight doesn’t count. You know I’m talking about Spartans here.) You’ll find these bots in a separate mode called “Academy,” where you can customise scenarios, further test weapons in a firing range, and engage in other tutorials. You and all of your friends may know the explicit difference between a Banshee and a Wraith, but what about the folks who’ve never played a Halo before? There’s six games of history to catch up on here. And with Infinite’s multiplayer going free-to-play, it’s easy to see how a separate mode like this could be helpful in getting newcomers up to speed.
Is the announcer back?
Obviously. It’s not a Halo game without some baritone-voiced announcer shaking the earth with a “Double kill” every time you nail a double kill. But it’s not the only voice you’ll hear. Players will have their own personal AI, who will provide updates of each game. For instance, if you pick up the flag in a game of CTF, it’ll tell you to haul arse (though presumably in nicer terms). They show up as digital entities projected from chips akin to the one Cortana lives — or, well, lived — on, and you can customise their appearance and voice.
What else can I customise?
343’s Ryan Paradis said there are “millions of customisation combinations” for Spartans, including weapons, vehicles, and armour. For the first time in series history, Infinite will offer prosthetics as a customisation option.
Are there loot boxes?
What about a battle pass?
Yup. And you’ll be able pick up battle passes from old seasons; they won’t expire. 343 notes that customisation is purely cosmetic, too.
OK, enough of this. I wanna play. Is there a beta?
Technically, no, at least not yet. Later this summer, 343 will kick off “technical previews,” but there’s no word on exactly what that entails yet. You can punch in your info on Halo Waypoint for a chance at access.
Still no word on a release date, huh?
Beyond the eternally vague “Holiday 2021,” nope. When Infinite eventually comes out, it’ll land on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming, and be part of the Xbox Game Pass library.