News

Infinite Inquiries

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In the past two weeks we've unveiled Halo Infinite, launched Halo 3 on PC as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, helped raise money for a good cause, released tons of Halo gear, and so much more. Since this is a pretty hefty Community Update, let's jump right in!

HALO INFINITE

As promised in our last Community Update, our first look at Halo Infinite's campaign arrived last week in the form of a gameplay demo. During those precious 8 minutes that kicked off the Xbox Games Showcase, we were thrown into Halo Infinite's campaign, given a look at the relationship between Master Chief & the Pilot, got a taste of the scale of our campaign experience, witnessed our first gameplay and combat loops, and were introduced to the menacing War Chief Escharum. If you happened to miss any of it, be sure to check out the full gameplay demo in the embedded video above or list of videos below!

Catch Up Here

Answers to your questions

Shortly after the demo aired, I took to Twitter, scoured reddit, and checked our Forums for common questions that were popping up around the community. There are a lot of questions, and they'll all get answered in time, but I wanted to start by tackling a few that were frequently asked, ones that we should clarify, and some that we've already answered but should resurface. Let's dive in!

QUESTIONS ABOUT GRAPHICS AND VISUALS

First, we want to acknowledge that yes, we’ve heard the feedback coming from parts of the community regarding the visuals in the Halo Infinite campaign demo. While we see and hear far more positive than negative, we do want to share a bit more context. From our perspective, there are two key areas being debated around the community – overall art style and visual fidelity.

Based on our learnings from Halo 4, Halo 5, and Halo Wars 2 – along with strong community feedback – we decided to shift back towards the legacy aesthetics that defined the original trilogy. With Halo Infinite, we’re returning to a more ‘classic’ art style which was a key message going back to the very first reveal that garnered enthusiastic and positive responses. This translates to a more vibrant palette, “cleaner” models and objects with less “noise”, though it doesn’t mean less detail. While we appreciate this may not be everyone’s personal preference, we stand by this decision and are happy to see it resonating with so many fans around the world.

The second theme being discussed involves visual fidelity. Negative feedback in this area includes comments around characters and objects appearing flat, simplistic and plastic-like, lighting feeling dull and flat, and object pop-in. We’ve read your comments, we’ve seen the homemade examples of retouched content, and yes we’ve heard the Digital Foundry assessments. In many ways we are in agreement here – we do have work to do to address some of these areas and raise the level of fidelity and overall presentation for the final game. The build used to run the campaign demo was work-in-progress from several weeks ago with a variety of graphical elements and game systems still being finished and polished. While some of the feedback was expected and speaks to areas already in progress, other aspects of the feedback have brought new opportunities and considerations to light that the team is taking very seriously and working to assess. We don’t have firm answers or outcomes to share yet but the team is working as quickly as possible on plans to address some of the feedback around detail, clarity, and overall fidelity. The team is committed and focused on making sure we have a beautiful world for players to explore when we launch.

What about a Multiplayer Beta / Flighting?

The Xbox Games Showcase was only meant to focus on Halo Infinite’s campaign. However, I can’t blame you all for being curious about the multiplayer experience. As Chris Lee mentioned in his blog which accompanied the demo last week, our original plans for large-scale flighting aren’t where we originally intended in large part due to the challenges of working from home during the COVID-19. At this time we’re honestly not sure what is going to be possible in terms of flighting but we still hope to have an opportunity for broader public hands-on before release. And, as we’ve previously stated, we’ll be relying on flighting and continued feedback and community partnership well beyond launch as we grow and evolve the game together.

What happened to Cortana, the Created, Blue Team, Fireteam Osiris, Lasky, UNSC Infinity, Halsey, Arbiter & Atriox? What is Harbinger?

Last week, we showed a mission that takes place several hours into campaign. During the conclusion of that small slice, we introduced War Chief Escharum, who defeated the UNSC forces at the ring and is eager for his next challenge. To see what lead up to that moment and what comes after, you’ll need to play Halo Infinite’s campaign. As many of you know, I’m super opposed to spoilers and loading up all the answers in a trailer/demo would just be poor form. Rest assured, many of your questions will be answered in time just by playing the game.

How do you pronounce Escharum?

Eh-sure-uhm

Who are the voice actors playing “The Pilot” and “Escharum?” They sound familiar…..

We’re thrilled and lucky to welcome two incredible actors to the Halo family – Nicolas Roye as the Pilot and Darin De Paul as Banished War Chief Escharum.

Will we get a chance to play that Campaign demo?

Yes. When the game comes out you’ll be able to play this space and take out the Banished Anti-Aircraft turrets ­čśŐ

Are there kill barriers or “return to battlefield” zones in campaign?

Since we want to allow players to explore and get creative with their engagements, we’ve tried to reduce these as much as possible in Halo Infinite. There will always be some exceptions, but usually if you can see it, you should be able to go there.

What about Splitscreen and Co-op?

Campaign will support 2 player splitscreen and online 4 player co-op. Yes, you can play on your couch with a friend.

Is there a Battle Rifle in Halo Infinite? I didn’t see one in the campaign demo.

Yes, if you check out the Campaign Gameplay Trailer, watch closely and you’ll catch a glimpse of a BR75. We’ll share more details later!

The new MK50 Sidekick and CQS48 Bulldog look cool - will there be other pistols or shotguns in the game?

We’re excited to build on Halo’s legacy sandbox while also introducing new components to further evolve and expand gameplay experiences. The MK50 “Sidekick” and CQS48 “Bulldog” are brand new weapons that bring something different for players to sink their teeth into. The “Sidekick” is a true sidearm pistol that is lightning fast to draw and fire – truly exceling as a reliable backup when your primary weapon is depleted and a Brute is bearing down on you. Compared to previous titles, this weapon is closest to Halo 2's version of the Magnum. The “Bulldog” is a pump-action shotgun that is punchy and decently accurate, trading slightly lower damage (12 gauge vs. 8 gauge) for a much higher rate of fire. Players will be better equipped to dispatch multiple targets quickly and the “Bulldog” provides more playstyle opportunities for shotgun aficionados. There are additional variants of each of these, but the classic Magnum and Tactical Shotgun aren’t currently featured in Halo Infinite.

As we look beyond launch, we have robust plans to continue evolving the game which will include further additions to Halo Infinite’s sandbox. We understand some players won’t be thrilled over the prospects of different pistols and shotguns but we encourage you to keep an open mind and we look forward to everyone getting hands-on perspective with these new weapons when the time comes.

How will the new grapple hook work in multiplayer?

Equipment items like the Grappleshot function differently in multiplayer and will be available as items that can be picked up on the map.

We’ve heard “4K 60fps,” is that the best you can do? Even on PC?

To clarify, up to 4k 60fps is our target for our expansive campaign experience on Xbox Series X. As PC players expect, there will be plenty of settings that you can tweak to create the experience you want and we’ll have even more details on that in the coming months.

Speaking of PC, is it true Halo Infinite will be coming to Steam?

Yes, Halo Infinite will be available on PC via Xbox Gamepass for PC (Beta), the Microsoft Store, and Steam in addition to Xbox Series X and the entire Xbox One family of consoles.

Will difficulty settings such as Easy, Normal, Heroic, and Legendary still exist in this expansive campaign? 

Yes. Just like previous Halos, you will be able to choose your preferred difficulty in the menu before beginning your adventure.

Who created the music in the campaign demo?

We are excited to welcome three new composers to the Halo family who are all contributing to an amazing soundtrack for Halo Infinite. Much of what was heard in the demo comes from Gareth Coker – check out the interview from earlier this week and listen to an official track, "Set a Fire in Your Heart."

What about Multiplayer, Forge, Theater, Ranking System, Esports, and everything else?

Last week we wanted to focus solely on campaign. We’ll touch on all the other aspects of our game in the coming months (though we have already confirmed the return of a new and improved Forge and some very exciting plans for the next era of Halo esports in our "What's Next for HCS" blog and our Esports Engine partnership announce.)

How’s Craig?

We’ve all laughed very hard at the nonstop stream of Craig memes the community is cranking out. Craig is thick-skinned and seems to be taking it in stride though all of this fame and attention seems to be going to his head.

I had an extremely specific question. What about that?

Trust me, we’ll get to it eventually. We can’t answer every question about a video game in an 8 minute campaign demo. Hold tight, we'll get through this. Together.

And let's not forget the long-running list of other "#confirmed" aspects of Halo Infinite:

  • In Universe Timing: It follows the Master Chief's story some time after Halo 5: Guardians' conclusion
  • Pro Team: We've assembled an internal Pro Team for Halo Infinite
  • Splitscreen: Yes, splitscreen will be a thing! (See above for details about Campaign)
  • LAN: Halo Infinite will support LAN
  • Back in Black: Black undersuits will be in the game
  • Microtransactions: Halo Infinite will not include real-money loot boxes
  • Player Customization: If you liked the level of armor customization options in Halo: Reach, you will be pleased
  • SR 152: Players who hit SR 152 in Halo 5: Guardians will receive a token of appreciation in Halo Infinite
  • Forge: Our famous editing tool will be in Halo Infinite and will have Undo & Redo buttons, which is a first for Forge.

Soundtrack

During last week's demo, we were able to get an early listen to some of Halo Infinite's soundtrack. To go along with this, we interviewed one of our three composers, Gareth Coker, here on Waypoint and released one of his songs that was used during the demo. Gareth, who is most recently known for his work on the Ori franchise, spoke about how he's been respecting Halo’s musical history while also pushing boundaries to take it forward. If you're a fan of Halo's soundtracks, you'll want to give this a read!

Lastly, I wanted to share a short and sweet video from Logan Dodson, who's also known for editing Halo montages under the name Snipetality, that shows a few reactions to last week's demo. It's pretty awesome.

HALO: THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION

HALO 3 ON PC

Halo 3 joined Halo: The Master Chief Collection for PC two weeks ago on Xbox Game Pass for PC (Beta)Microsoft Store, and Steam. We're extremely proud of this update, not just because it's Halo 3, but also because it provided an opportunity to update tons of MCC features across the game on both Xbox & PC. To learn more about the recent additions and improvements, check out the section below!

UNIVERSAL UPDATES

I know I also covered these in the last Community Update but I figured it'd be worthwhile to go over them again, especially for any eyes that may be looking for more Halo goodness after the Halo Infinite demo.

  • Forge: Halo: Reach, Halo 2: Anniversary, and Halo 3's Forge have been added to MCC on PC. Additionally, Halo 3's Forge has been updated (on both platforms) to include tons of new features like phased physics, coordinate snap, rotation, rotation snap, and increased budget, and brand-new pieces.
  • Audio Fixes: As outlined in our in-depth explanation in last month's MCC Development Update, Halo: Reach and Halo 3 also received many audio fixes across the board. Boost up the volume and give it a listen!
  • Halo 3 Customization: Updated customization is now available for Halo 3. This includes being able to select specific armor pieces separately, as opposed to the full set system we had before, as well as displaying your emblem on your shoulder and armor detail colors in-game.
  • Halo: CE Customization: For the first time ever, Halo: CE has officially supported customization options including Weapon Skins, Vehicle Skins, and Visors. A player's custom Weapon Skins and Vehicle Skins are applied whenever they are in control of them. These skins will stay applied, even after dropping the weapon or exiting the vehicle, up until a new player gains control of them. 

    While we're excited about these additions, we're aware that some players may prefer to keep that original CE feel. To support those players, we've provided the option to toggle skins on or off in their settings.

  • Season 2 & Challenges: Season 2 has launched and contains over 100 new customization items, which can now be unlocked via Campaign, Firefight, and Multiplayer gameplay and challenges. Based on community feedback, we've also made it so that players can choose the order in which they can unlock season items in any given tier. You still need to unlock all items in your first tier before accessing the next one, but the order is now up to you. Additionally, using the Challenge system allows players to see their progress and immediately get rewarded when they complete the criteria during in-game events.

HALO 3: ODST Flighting

We have begun flighting Halo 3: ODST in our early rings and if all goes well, we will eventually get it to public flighting in August. We'll have more information to share tomorrow in Postum's July MCC Development Update blog. That said, if you want a chance to be considered for Halo 3: ODST flighting, make sure you're registered for the Halo Insider program!

PLAYLIST UPDATES

Our latest playlist updates and events for MCC, including a new Acrophobia skull, Alliance nameplate, and Triple XP, have been sweet. In fact, we made a change to the Acrophobia skull so that it would unlock for all players just by logging in to MCC. If you want to get the Alliance nameplate, you'll need to sign in to MCC before ODST's launch. You can read up on those changes here!

This week, we've rotated in Team Duals, made some adjustments to Challenges, and more. If you ever want to see the most recent playlist updates in MCC, be sure to check out the links below!

HALO ESPORTS

MCC PRO SERIES

After over two months of competition, the MCC Pro Series, our online series for pro players and amateurs, wrapped up its Halo 2: Anniversary tournaments. During the fourth and final Pro tournament, Sentinels secured the win to remain undefeated throughout the entire series. If you'd like to catch the rebroadcast of that last show, here's a link to the full VOD and to the Finals against Inconceivable.

For those of you hoping to continue competing, we hear you. We're looking at bringing the MCC Pro Series to Halo 3 next, but we will follow up once we have more details to share. Until then, keep an eye on @HCS for the latest Halo esports news. 

HCS GRASSROOTS

BTB PLAYDATE

Tomorrow, many HCS Grassroots creators will be squading up in MCC to play Halo 3 BTB on PC and handing out exclusive Beach Life nameplates along the way. Much like our Community Playdates, all you have to do is find them in matchmaking and the nameplate is yours. The Big Team Battle action kicks off tomorrow at 2pm PT and will be viewable on all of the creators' streams:

HCS Grassroots Cup

Next Sunday, August 9, the GTHalo crew is hosting the #HCS Grassroots Cup. This Halo 5 4v4 tournament will be played by tournament organizers, 343 staff (including yours truly), and content creators from the competitive Halo community. The teams will be randomly drawn on Friday, August 7, with the full tournament happening two days later on Sunday, August 9 at 10am PT on twitch.tv/GTHalo!

SWAT NATION

In two weeks, on August 15, SWAT Nation is hosting another 2v2 SWAT tournament, this time it's titled, "Bears Don't SWAT v2." Registration is completely free on their event page and closes on August 13 at 5pm PT, so don't wait to jump on it. And, as always, you can catch the fast-paced no-shield tournament being broadcast live on twitch.tv/SWATNationLive!

HALO 5: GUARDIANS

On Juneteenth, June 19, we kicked off a month-long fundraising initiative to help support the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund. After only four weeks, the Halo community collectively raised over $600,000 for the cause. It's always amazing to see what we can accomplish when we come together and stand up for what's right. Thank you.

Now, in addition to the Arena & Warzone XP Boost Packs that are now live, here's what you can expect in Halo 5 for the next month!

UPCOMING CALENDAR

JULY

  • July 30: Roaming King rotates in for CE Anniversary
  • July 30: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

AUGUST

  • August 6: Mythic Arena will be added to Ranked for the month
  • August 6: Solo / Duo Queue Team Arena rotates in for Solo Queue Team Arena
  • August 6: Grifball rotates in for Roaming King
  • August 13: Action Sack rotates in for Grifball
  • August 13: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
  • August 20: H2 BR Slayer rotates in for Action Sack
  • August 27: Castle Wars rotates in for H2 BR Slayer
  • August 27: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

HALO GEAR

In my last Community Update, I mentioned how nice it is to see Halo gear popping up all over the place as we get ready for Halo Infinite. Well, after our campaign reveal on Thursday, we were able to announce and launch even more awesome Halo products. This even includes a new line of Halo Infinite apparel – sported by community members Lady Echidna, Snakebite, & Vetoed in the photo below – that launched the day after our demo over on gear.xbox.com/Halo!

Halo x Razer

We're excited to be partnering up with Razer to create some Halo Infinite hardware. Keep an eye on @HaloGear & @Razer for the latest.

Art of Halo Infinite

The Art of Halo Infinite gives you a beautiful glimpse behind-the-scenes of Halo Infinite by showing you what our talented concept artists envisioned for certain aspects of the game. Our studio's skilled artists help the team visualize what characters, areas, vehicles, and more should look like before the team starts to build them in engine. When you start to think of each piece of art in this book as inspiration for an entire studio, you realize the responsibility of these individuals and the craftsmanship of these images.

If you are excited about that aspect of concept art, have been enjoying our return to a more classic art style, or just love this cover by Sparth, you can pre-order a copy for yourself today at aka.ms/ArtOfHaloInfinite.

Nerf

In case you missed the announcement back during New York Toy Fair, we're partnering up with Nerf to bring Halo to the living room arena. Our first blaster to come online, the Nerf MA40 Assault Rifle, is now available for pre-order at aka.ms/HaloNerfAR!

MEGA CONSTRUX

In the Halo Gear section of the last update, we touched on a few of the Mega Construx sets that were available at the time. Since then, there have been even more amazing additions, including some incredible Target exclusives like the Energy Sword and Master Chief helmet builds below.

If you purchase any gear from us or partners that has a code to activate for Halo Infinite, please be sure to hold on to it until halowaypoint.com/redeem comes online. You can read more about code redemption information here!

Lastly, thanks to our Mega Construx friends in Montreal, I have an extra ComicCon exclusive set to give away. All you have to do is reply telling me which variant of Master Chief's armor is your favorite over on Twitter. Good luck!

 

  • Community Spotlightsnickerdoodle's most recent #HaloSpotlight showcased a whole new level of SFM & Blender art, creative toy photography, spectacular screenshots, mongoose montages, and so much more. If you're excited after our demo and want to see more Halo-goodness, snickerdoodle and your fellow fans have you covered!
  • Employee Spotlight: Ani Shastry is one of the many talented people that helped bring the Halo Infinite demo to life. In this Employee Spotlight you can read up on how his love for stars, science fiction, and pixels led him to work on his favorite game franchise – Halo. Head on over the 343industries.com to read the full article!

ART

With Halo 3: ODST flighting coming up next month, I wanted to start sharing some concept art of our beloved saxophone-filled game. There are a few pieces that I've found in our archives, so I should have plenty to share as the ODST conversations play out in future Community Updates. To get us started though, here's one piece that shows human forces on the streets of New Mombasa. I know it isn't as "noir" as the rest of ODST, but I've always enjoyed this one and don't worry – the more moody pieces are coming.

As always, you can save this art by clicking on the links (or the art itself) below!

Thanks for joining us for another Community Update, we've had an absolute blast over the past few weeks with Halo 3 landing on PC and debuting Halo Infinite. We hope you've been enjoying the Halo hype as much as we have. It's truly special to be a part of, and I can't wait for us to share more in the months ahead.

Until next time,

- UNY

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