CGMagazine was given the opportunity to see some live gameplay from Halo Infinite’s campaign, played by four key team members from 343i Behind the Game: the Associate Creative Director, Paul Crocker, the Character Director, Steve Dyck, the Campaign Art Lead, Justin Dinges and the Halo Franchise & Narrative Writer, Jeff Easterling. They were able to show us three missions that take place at the beginning of the story mode.
They showed three missions, “Warship Gbraakon”, “Foundation”, and “Outpost Tremonius.” These missions really show off where Master Chief begins his journey in Halo Infinite, emphasizing a quick tutorial on how to play and how to use one of the newly added pieces of equipment, the Grappleshot. It is a grappling hook that players can use to grapple on to walls, enemies, weapons and even explosive fusion coils. It also works really well to stagger Jackals rather than trying to shoot their shooting hands or feet in previous games. The Grappleshot does not really have a charge limit but has been said to be upgradeable with pickup items called “Spartan Cores.”
Spartan Cores will be found throughout the campaign mode in various places across the maps, which can be used to upgrade Master Chief’s equipment like the Grappleshot and the Energy Health Shield. Some other things that players will see in the story mode are that the new and classic weapons are back, such as a harpoon-like gun, Skewer, a revolver-like pistol, Mangler, the Plasma Pistol and more. Most of these weapons can be seen in the open, free-to-play multiplayer beta now.
With great weapons, come new, great voice lines! The new enemies in Halo Infinite, the Banished, contain the many recognizable races of the Covenant like Grunts, Jackals, Elites, and Brutes. One of the brutes yelled as they were getting blasted by Master Chief, “We’re losing! Why are we losing?” The Chief’s main antagonists in this game are the war chief of the Banished, Atriox, and one of Atriox’s lieutenants, Escharum.
Easterling describes the story of the game is set to be “mysterious” as a way of delivering a great experience for returning fans, but also diversifying the experience for new gamers. Crocker mentions that both type of players will “see the story unravel at the same level.” The team mentioned that there will be things like logs and dialogue that happens like hints at who the Banished really are and what happened with fan-favourite AI, Cortana. The level of curiosity is based on the player and how much they want to find out more by either going back to play the other games or by adding to a veteran player’s knowledge of what they have already seen from other games.
The 343i team members wanted to also ensure that since there is cross-platform playability this does not mean there is a gameplay difference, just a graphics difference depending on the generation of the console and also the PC specifications.
“The new enemies in Halo Infinite, the Banished, contain the many recognizable races of the Covenant…”
The last of the three missions (Outpost Tremonius) brings the most exciting new elements to Halo Infinite and the game series as a whole because it introduces the open world aspects of this map. Don’t worry, getting to this point of the game was said to only take about an hour, so it does not come as a shock so late in the story.
Dyck relates the open world concept and other characteristics of the game as “kind of like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, where players are given equipment and can use it and upgrade it to how they like it. ‘If I like this equipment, I will invest more Spartan Cores in this one’” and so on. Essentially, the open world gives players the option to invest in upgrades for the Chief, or just carry on with the storyline.
There will be Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) that have been taken over from the Banished that can be recaptured and also made as hubs to spawn in vehicles, weapons and Marines to help players out across the map. At these FOBs, players can expect to face mini-bosses or, as the 343i team calls them, High Value Targets (HVTs). These Banished officers work similarly to Uruk captains and war chiefs in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor in that these officers are unique, so some have special items they use, like jetpacks or a certain big weapon. Taking down HVTs appears to offer players XP (they call it Valor) and drops that will help them upgrade the Chief.
Overall, I truly felt the shock-and-awe with every moment that was shown in Halo Infinite’s campaign, I cannot wait to find out more about the story and more about whom the Banished are. I think it is going to be interesting to play the game with the open world elements. I am usually one to get lost in RPG side quests and trying to find ways to upgrade my characters, so I may be tackling those FOBs a lot when I get there. I thought Grappleshot was a little weird when it was first announced, but it makes a lot of sense to the gameplay with what it can do.
Many are calling this game the “spiritual reboot” for the series, to which I would agree in the sense that it feels like players are in for a mystery of learning the game just like when players had to learn about the world and the gameplay back in 2001 in Halo: Combat Evolved. The combat in Halo Infinite has definitely evolved since then.