Halo Infinite’s first big multiplayer technical preview started this weekend and the main star are the bots. For the first time in the history of the series, there are online multiplayer bots. I wondered how much of a fight they would put up against teams of human players. Now, after being chased, beaten and tricked by these bots I’m happy to report they are all arseholes.
It didn’t start out this way. When the technical preview launched, the bots were pushovers. I even had written down some notes to write up a blog about how easy the bots were and how I felt bad that they kept getting stomped on by human teams.
But then, 343 Industries flipped some levers and increased the skill level of bots. Things have now changed. The bots are holding their own and impressing me in most matches.
Well done, Spartans! You collectively slayed over 1.2M Bots during the first day of the #HaloInfinite technical preview. Congratulations to our top slayers of the day!— Halo (@Halo) July 30, 2021
Ready yourselves: ODST difficulty bots and a new map, Recharge, are now available for testing. pic.twitter.com/MaFd2Ieguq
For example, at one point I had a bot chase after me after I killed a different bot and in the process took a lot of damage. It followed me down a corridor and used its Needler to catch me as I ran around a turn, trying to break line of sight with it. In a match with humans, I’d not think much about this moment. It happens. But against bots, this moment stood out. It felt like I was playing against a person, not a bot. I’ve seen and read other moments of bots ambushing players, waiting around corners, targeting players with power weapons and using tools like the grapple hook effectively.
I’m not sure how much of this behaviour is real and how much of it is players, like myself, giving these bots more credit than they deserve. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m often fighting and dying to bots and feeling the same way I felt when playing against real human players. That’s impressive.
I expected 343 wouldn’t just toss some crappy bots into Halo Infinite and call it day. But I never expected how good they would be. And the bots will get better, as 343 will introduce even more advanced robot players soon. Considering most matches I played against bots recently ended with us winning, but not by huge margins, I’m curious to see if the next level of bots could turn the tables. Might we see bots winning most matches by the end of this first beta? It’s possible.
I, for one, welcome our new bot overlords. They seem neat. I hope they don’t kill me too much. Please.