We don’t really know what Halo Infinite is yet, but we do know it’s the next Halo game, meaning it’s a true sequel. Wee also know it’s huge and big enough to not only need a new engine, but also another developer to get in and once again team up with 343 Industries. While Halo 5 sort of came and went, perhaps suffering from its surroundings more than itself, Halo infinite could be landing not only as the right game, but the right game at the right time. This could be, in an era where things in the shooter genre feel like they’re in the middle of an identity crisis, the perfect chance for Halo to get back on top.
A lot of this piece is going to be speculation, as since E3 2018 there hasn’t been a whole lot of insight as to what Halo Infinite is. We know it’s built on a new engine, we know it’s Master Chief-centric and a direct sequel to Halo 5, and we now know that SkyBox, a developer that was heavily involved with the Forge mode in the last game, is on board to assist 343 Industries with Halo Infinite’s development. It’s definitely collaborative and not just some bonus mode, as SkyBox will be working on things like AI, visuals, and more. This is a big game with big money behind it, and I also think it will be big in terms of scale.
It's all in the name. It’s Halo Infinite. To me that screams “open world Halo.” Since Halo 5 dropped, several things have happened in the shooter space. Right now, we’re looking at hero shooters, battle royale games, and of course wide-open, live service games. Since Halo 5, we’ve seen Overwatch, Fortnite, PUBG, and Destiny change how games are made. We’ve also seen imitators try and fail to compete, and we’re still seeing the ripples with Call of Duty and Battlefield coming to fruition as well. There’s a good chance Halo Infinite will be an attempt to mold Halo into these spaces as well, to some degree or another. I definitely would expect some sort of RPG element injection into the series, with plenty of extra exploration and side content that might be unfamiliar to the typical Halo experience.
Obviously, multiplayer will be a huge part of Halo Infinite, and I don’t doubt for a second the classic suite of modes everyone associates Halo with will be the core focus of online play. But there’s always going to be something new, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more contemporary shooter modes making some kind of appearance. Halo is already known for wacky, customizable multiplayer types, so a battle royale variant of some sort wouldn’t feel out of place. It might not be 1:1 with Fortnite, but I could see a fight to the last person standing on a giant map totally being a thing. 343 has been cagey about confirming anything, but with how configurable Halo play can be, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it tucked away in there somewhere. I could even see a mode inspired by the likes of Overwatch, with character classes and specialized loadouts being a thing.
Ultimately, Halo still needs to feel like Halo. Halo Infinite can’t be a major departure from a series that has lasted across three console generations. People have expectations, and moving away from those expectations was part of what hurt Halo 5. But I also fully expect to see changes made to part of the experience to change with the times. I also feel like the demand for Halo Infinite will be much higher, as Microsoft has been able to engineer much more hype for the Xbox One brand overall since the dark days of 2016. Regardless of what happens, people will be talking about this game for a while coming.