Halo Infinite (opens in new tab) isn't going full open world, but the world sure is getting a lot bigger. After years of build-up, Microsoft finally offered the first proper look at Halo Infinite during its Xbox Games Showcase, its next Halo game five years in the making. While its look and cover art deliberately reference 2001's Halo: Combat Evolved (opens in new tab), the design of this Halo ring is massive and open-ended compared to any previous Halo game, with more freeform objectives and huge environments to explore. Also, Master Chief has a grappling hook now.
A splinter group of The Covenant called The Banished are your main enemies, and the story for Infinite takes place some months after Master Chief and a group of humans lost a battle over the ring. The Brute leader of the Banished spends the last minute of the trailer getting up in your face, yelling at you. More interesting is the exploration implications of that larger ring, and how its design will differ from Halo's more typical mission structure.
"For the first time players will have the freedom to explore a Halo ring that's several times larger than our last few Halo games combined," said 343's Chris Lee.
The demo is full of familiar elements, including a warthog, new versions of classic weapons like the assault rifle and shotgun, and sticky grenades, but there are other weapons that look brand new or more significantly changed. I spotted a Brute plasma rifle, a new type of Equipment called a Drop Shield (think Halo 3's Bubble Shield, but covering less territory), and of course the grappling hook, which can be used to pull the Chief towards enemies or pull smaller objects like explosive barrels into his hand for a toss.
The explorable environment looks vast, but otherwise Infinite seems more or less like classic Halo combat against familiar enemies in this first reveal. One interesting element I picked up on is that objectives on the map list a difficulty level, which points to how freeform tackling objectives will be. We'll have more on Halo Infinite later today.