After a long wait of over a year, Micrososft developer 343 Industries has finally deemed the Halo Infinite campaign is finally ready for it’s second closeup.
Apparently, the team couldn’t wait a second longer to share the fruits of its hard work with fans as the official “Campaign Overview” was announced only last night by Microsoft and released on YouTube at 9 AM this morning, but thankfully, early risers were rewarded with a generously informative and visually stunning 60fps trailer that more than made up for the last-minute warning. At long last, Halo fans have been given their first glimpse at what 343i proudly refers to as “the new era of Halo”.
The trailer re-establishes what we already knew from last year’s Halo Infinite reveals; humanity has been “defeated” by the Banished, a Brute-dominated, splinter off-shoot of the Covenant led by a Brute named Atriox, and that the faction is hunting down the last remnants of the UNSC that remains on Zeta Halo, the ringworld on which Halo Infinite is set. Joined by a new human ally referred to in Microsoft’s marketing simply as “The Pilot” and a new AI referred to as “The Weapon” (who happens to bear more than a striking resemblance to his former companion, Cortana), Master Chief must somehow locate Cortana and unite the two AI constructs so that “The Weapon” can secure and lock the rogue Cortana down. Naturally, Master Chief’s mission will ultimately steer him into a direct crash course with Atriox, who is hell bent on sealing his dominance of Zeta Halo by facing Master Chief in a one-on-one battle to the death (if his forces do not kill the Spartan first).
Halo fans need only view the trailer themselves to see that many of the concerns from the campaign’s first full gameplay reveal back in July of 2020 have largely been addressed, as an assortment of stunning, in-engine vistas sporting atmospheric lighting and highly detailed environments, characters and weapons are all shown off. New gameplay elements, such as the ability to call-in a selection of UNSC vehicles from designated command checkpoints, and the freedom to take on missions both on and off the critical path across the game’s “open-ringworld” map presents exciting opportunities for players to indulge in Halo’s unique brand of emergent, sandbox combat. A new upgrade system not completely dissimilar to that of the game’s multiplayer suite will allow players to use found (earned?) Spartan Cores to upgrade certain skills, such as a dodge-boost ability, even further suggesting that players will be able to make their journey with Master Chief their very own unique, personalized experience.
The trailer also managed to inject some welcome new life into the world and lore of Halo by introducing a number of never before seen Banished foes, including a winged race of scavenger creatures called Skimmers, a dual-plasma blade-wielding, “sadistic Spartan Killer” from the Elite race named Jega ‘Rdomnai, and an all new Forerunner threat that make Atriox’s calls to combat seem like a mere distraction in the face of a much larger crisis.
The real star of the trailer, however, is undoubtedly Master Chief’s new grapple gun, which apparently has no shortage of uses in gameplay. Master Chief is seen using the indispensable tool to hijack Banshees in mid-air, pull weapons across the battlefield towards him in a shootout, gain altitude over a group of foes in order to rain bullets down upon them with his battle rifle, or pull himself towards enemies to deliver an elbow to the face or plant an inescapable sticky grenade on their armour. While not a new concept to gaming in the least, the addition of such a versatile weapon into Halo’s tried and true gameplay mechanics, along with the robust, challenging and reactive AI and game physics that the franchise is known for rising to meet them, the potential for exciting and emergent gameplay seems…ahem….“infinite”.
Sadly, we still have about a month and a half to wait before we can finally experience the finished game for ourselves, but much like the recent technical previews have shown us on the multiplayer side, Halo Infinite is looking like it is in very capable hands.