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?
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 😊
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.)
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.
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.