After missing the Xbox Series X/S launch last year, Halo Infinite appeared at today’s Xbox E3 2021 showcase with some new multiplayer gameplay footage. While no release date has been set, the game is still scheduled for a holiday 2021 debut.
As was previously announced, Halo Infinite multiplayer will be a separate, free-to-play experience launching alongside the campaign. According to the footage below, the main game’s grappling hook will also make an appearance in multiplayer, providing players with new movement options as well as the ability to snag explosive barrels out of the air and toss them back at opponents.
“When it comes to gameplay, our goal is to deliver a multiplayer experience that honours classic Halo combat while also offering new players the support needed to jump in and have a great time,” said Joseph Staten, head of creative for Halo Infinite. “To that end, we’re introducing the Spartan Academy and Spartan Commander Laurette who will help players familiarise themselves with maps, weapons, and equipment. We’re also introducing bot matches so players new and old can warm up before they hit the battlefield. We’ve got more in store for bots and Academy content over time that we look forward to rolling out as the game evolves.”
What’s up with Halo Infinite?
Halo Infinite was originally announced at E3 2018, promising a greater focus on series protagonist Master Chief compared to 2015’s Halo 5: Guardians. A year later, Microsoft revealed that Halo Infinite would launch alongside the Xbox Series X (known at the time as Project Scarlett) during the 2020 holiday season as a “spiritual reboot” of the long-running franchise. Halo Infinite was eventually delayed in August 2020 to a vague 2021 release, sandwiched by a pair of high-profile departures in creative director Tim Longo and 343 Industries studio head Chris Lee.
In that time, Halo Infinite has had just one extended gameplay demo. The pre-delay showing last summer provided a brief look at the game’s expansive environments and echoed elements of Halo’s past but also spawned memes for its underwhelming visuals. One enemy, a rough-looking Brute dubbed Craig by the denizens of the internet, has since been embraced by fans and developers alike, with Xbox head Phil Spencer referring to him as the “new official Xbox mascot” shortly after the demonstration. Still, it was clear that Halo Infinite was very much a work in progress, and it came as no surprise when the game was delayed a month later amid the covid-19 pandemic.
“The decision to shift our release is the result of multiple factors that have contributed to development challenges, including the ongoing covid-related impacts affecting us all this year,” then-studio head Chris Lee wrote at the time. “I want to acknowledge the hard work from our team at 343 Industries, who have remained committed to making a great game and finding solutions to development challenges. However, it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday.”
Halo Infinite is set to launch on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC, with cross-play and cross-platform save progression between all three platforms.