PREVIEW: Halo Infinite (Gameplay Premiere)

A shot from the gameplay premiere.
Credit: 343 Industries & Microsoft.

Halo Infinite’s gameplay was finally revealed with an 8 minute demo released last week.

Last week we received an official gameplay demo of Halo’s next instalment, titled Halo Infinite. The demo was eight minutes long and consisted of what we can assume is either the beginning of the game’s main campaign or a section from it. The demo followed a playable section as ‘Master Chief’, the protagonist of the Halo universe for the majority of its releases. The last Halo instalment was a whole five years ago, that instalment being Halo 5: Guardians. Being the large brand that it is, it’s a big deal that Halo is finally releasing its next game.

The original studio who created and worked on the Halo franchise was Bungie. Bungie has since moved on to other titles such as Destiny, after the studio parted ways with Microsoft in 2007. As a result of Bungie’s split, 343 Industries was assigned with the development of new Halo games. Bungie leaving Microsoft and Halo was a big moment for a lot of fans and one that caused a lot of controversy as it was handed over to 343. The controversy came about due to changes 343 made to Halo, which came in the form of alternate story direction and the introduction of new characters.

Why does Halo Infinite need to succeed?

Since 343 have become the developers of Halo, they have produced two main franchise games, Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. 343 also remastered a collection of old Halo games and released it as Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The Master Chief Collection combines Halo: Combat Evolved all the way to Halo 4. It released initially to the XBOX console and then again over five years later to PC and the Microsoft Windows Store. The decision to move Halo to PC was potentially the best move 343 or Microsoft have decided to do since Bungie left the franchise. This was a welcomed move as prior, due to Microsoft’s ownership of Halo; it was only playable on the Microsoft owned XBOX consoles.

Both Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians are good Halo games as well as first person shooters. However, they weren’t exactly like the old Halo’s were. When 343 took over they made some changes to art style and adjusted in general how the Halo games looked, something that many long term fans did not agree with. There were also many alterations to gameplay, movement and monetisation. For all these reasons, Infinite needs to succeed.

From the gameplay, does Infinite look like a step in the right direction for Halo?

With Halo Infinite the art style looks far closer to the original Halo look. The story and primary enemy type are Brutes. This is an interesting decision as typically the Elites are the primary enemy. With this said, Brutes have been seen to be the main enemy types in previous Halo instalments such as Halo 3: ODST, a well-loved and unique Halo game. So, there’s no harm in switching things up. There were new features displayed in the gameplay, such as the grappling hook, which seems to serve the purpose of providing smoother platforming and movement.

There also appears to be newly designed weapons and grenade types. In the gameplay segment we see a grenade act as a temporary deployable wall. The graphics are nothing impressive, but we are viewing a demo here. Graphics presented aren’t expected to be finished until the game’s full release. Personally, I think graphical drops don’t overly matter as long as the gameplay and content is solid. Functionality and enjoyment over visible dust particles and intricately detailed grass, but that’s just me. The whole look of the game reminded me of a kind of Titanfall and Doom mashup, but with the primary iconic Halo features.

From what we’ve seen, what’s the conclusion?

I have high hopes for Infinite, especially with the amount of time it has taken to release a sixth main story Halo game. Something I find particularly comforting is the fact that 343 have clearly listened to the feedback of their community. They have made changes and adjustments, whilst also innovating in ways Halo hasn’t seen before. The first step to making a game successful is getting a fan base who trusts you as a company. The next? To retain that trust. That trust was lost for a while, this may be the chance to redeem it. Halo Infinite is set to release in the 2020 Holiday and suffice to say, many are excited.

You can watch the Halo Infinite demo, HERE.

All images used are shots taken from the Halo Infinite gameplay premiere on YouTube and are all credited to both 343 Industries and Microsoft.

Adam Zak Hawley

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