Halo: Infinite is a title long-awaited by many fans of the Xbox platform. The upcoming sequel is set to feature a premium single-player campaign, which will bring Master Chief back into the spotlight, alongside the usual staple multiplayer that will be available free on Xbox Series X. The game will still, however, hit the last-gen Xbox One and PC via the Windows Store.
The first gameplay of Halo: Infinite was showcased earlier in the year at a special Xbox showcase event in July. The gameplay shown was met by widespread controversy with most agreeing that while the new gameplay mechanics themselves appeared to be solid, the graphics were far below the expected standard for a next-generation title.
The Xbox exclusive was lined up to be one of the biggest selling points of the Xbox Series X on release, however, development issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic had pushed the game from its late 2020 release with no new release date announced, until now.
In a blog post , Halo: Infinite developer — 343 Industries — have confirmed the Xbox and PC exclusive is now set to arrive in Fall 2021. Additionally, the team went on to comment on the controversy surrounding the title since the relatively unremarkable graphics shown during a demo in July.
Senior concept artist and art director, Nicolas Bouvier, commented on this in a Q&A segment saying:
The primary goal for the Campaign demo in July was showing Halo Infinite gameplay for the first time. While that aspect generally landed as we wanted, the reality is that the art and visuals weren’t at the bar we hold for Halo — even in a work-in-progress state.
Throughout the post, 343 shared an assortment of new images from the game — including characters, weapons, and maps — giving a better look at how the graphics have improved over time. The images included two screenshots from a new multiplayer map that will be available in the free-to-play multiplayer.
In a second look at the new map, Master Chief is seen running into combat on a map that clearly contains multiple layers within a AXYS compound.
While discussing the graphical improvements to weapons specifically, several new weapons are shown, including the S7 Sniper.
The game will also featuring a massive minigun weapon, known as the M41 SPNKR, it's important to note all these screenshots are work in progress and may change by release.
The team went on to showcase several looks at some armor customization options which will be included on release, beginning with the Scorpion Punch.
The new Splinter Desert armor is another totally new armor option. Each of these images also seem to highlight a different weapon; however, it's impossible to identify their exact model at this time.
Finally, the Watchdogs armor coating is a perfect example of the game's gorgeous graphics with its shiny black, silver and red aesthetic.
An additional screenshot gave an even better look at the armor and again highlights how far the visuals have come.
Additionally, 343 included new concept art from the upcoming sequel's campaign storyline.
WHAT THIS MEANS
Xbox fans have finally gotten their wish with a brand-new release window for the highly-anticipated sequel, which has been years in the making at this point. The initial delay of the title was met with widespread disappointment as Xbox failed to release any significant exclusive launch titles. While many will be happy to finally see an official date, plenty will still be disappointed to see how far away this launch is with very few major Xbox exclusives set to arrive before then. Many have pointed out the irony of Master Chief being featured on the back of Xbox Series X box despite the title character not yet arriving in a next-gen game.
Switching Halo's multiplayer in a free-to-play model is a game-changing move for the franchise, allowing it to compete with many of the other huge free titles available on the marketplace like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone. Halo: Infinite will make for one of the few traditional multiplayer experiences available for free as most titles which opt for the model tend to be battle royale modes — something 343 have recently insisted won't be featured in Halo Infinite .
The graphical upgrades here are something which was drastically needed within the game after a lackluster showcase earlier in the year, and these graphics are truly amazing. However, it's important to remember that these images are for marketing purposes and likely won't be an exact representation of what is seen in the title on release.
Halo: Infinite is set for release in Fall 2021 on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC.