Halo Infinite's latest developer update might've focussed on how the spiritual reboot is eschewing Halo 5's sensibilities for a nostalgic return to Halo's roots. But 343's oft-maligned previous entry still snuck its way in, thanks to an easily missed audio log buried in the blog post.
The log, inconspicuously placed within a paragraph on Infinite's throwback sensibilities, appears to directly follow-on from the ending of Halo 5—an ending that (spoiler alert) saw your man John Masterchief reunited with Dr Halsey after Cortana becomes a galactic-scale supervillain.
There aren't any mind-blowing plot reveals here, but the log does affirm that Infinite won't be a completely clean break from its controversial predecessor.
Halo 5 is something of a sore spot for long-term fans of the series, and one 343 seems willing to break away from. Despite coming to Windows 10 in limited form in 2016, Halo 5 won't be joining the rest of the series on PC, either as a standalone or as part of the Master Chief Collection. From the get-go, Infinite has been positioned as a clean break from 343's previous entries.
Our first visible antagonist, the Banished, was pulled from the RTS spin-off Halo Wars 2, while the game's environmental design is a conscious throwback to the first game's vibrant pine forests. Where Halo 4 and 5's landscapes were cluttered and overdesigned, Infinite is focussing on "legacy" and "simplicity" to hit Combat Evolved's distinct notes.
"We want players to feel a nostalgic familiarity with these designs, like meeting up with an old friend, as they experience all that Halo Infinite has to offer," campaign art lead Justin Dinges explained in last week's blog post.
This isn't the first time 343 has snuck in references to their older games, mind. The developer has been up-front in stating that the Cortana plot will continue through Infinite, too, with Dinges teasing that "players will not only experience the immediate story of Chief's reawakening to confront the Banished and Cortana but if they look around, they may find glimpses of the future as well."
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more secret audio logs, then.