Remember Halo Infinite? It seems like only yesterday everyone was jonesing for the grand return of Microsoft's flagship FPS, and initially at least Halo Infinite seemed to do the job. It felt and looked great, the surprise launch of multiplayer didn't hurt, and then… well, it seems to have somewhat faded into the background.
Infinite has struggled to maintain momentum and, with hindsight, that may be because it's been launched in such a piecemeal fashion. Halo 3 probably represents the pinnacle of this series, and part of why was that it launched as such a complete and comprehensive package. Everything was in there.
With Infinite we're still waiting on campaign co-op and, much more importantly, Forge mode. If anything can give Infinite's competitive and community scene a kick in the pants it's Forge, Halo's bespoke level and mode creation suite.
Forge finally arrives as part of the game's winter update, which is scheduled for November 8, alongside campaign co-op for up to four players. The latter comes with a mission replay option so groups can hop around completed sections as they wish.
Forge apparently boasts "thousands of new objects" alongside various additions and improvements: here's 343's official deep dive into the featureset. Definitely the most interesting element of this is the scripting and how players will be able to incorporate bots (as well as pistols that fire rockets), but the most important thing now is just to get it in peoples' hands.
The winter update also brings a new free battle pass, two maps constructed in Forge by 343, and some new modes including a CTF variant. I like Infinite well enough but it's a struggle to go back to: the initial wave of enthusiasm has long since peaked and the nostalgia's worn off. It feels overly familiar now and not in a good way.
What gave the older Halo games the long tail for me was never grinding the campaign on nightmare or playing endless double team (though I did plenty of that) but the daft side that Forge allows to sing: Halo karts, grifball, the meat-grinder mode where one spartan with a minigun faced an army of swords, and the endless array of good and bad maps to bounce around in. For a game called Halo Infinite, it's beyond time it started delivering those possibilities.