Halo 6 is officially Halo Infinite, and it's coming to PC. Despite ditching the number, Halo Infinite is the next step in Master Chief's story and the conclusion of 343's new trilogy. It's been confirmed for both Windows 10 and Xbox as Halo: The Master Chief Collection continues to roll out on PC in 2020. Microsoft followed up our first brief look at Halo Infinite at E3 2018 with a longer trailer the following year and a gameplay reveal in the summer of 2020.
Thanks to the gameplay reveal, we've gotten a much better look at the next Halo game. We've been introduced to the main enemies, The Banished, seen some new gadgets and weapons for Master Chief, and caught a look at the bigger, more open world coming in Halo Infinite.
Here are all the details we've collected about Halo Infinite, concerning the release date, a likely beta, multiplayer, and more.
What is the Halo Infinite release date?
Halo Infinite will release around the winter holidays in 2020, though we don't have an exact date pinpointed yet.
Microsoft confirmed at their E3 2019 press conference that Halo Infinite would be a launch title for the Xbox Series X, presumably with the PC version of Infinite launching simultaneously.
Halo Infinite: Fast facts
- Forge mode: It's back!
- Is there a Halo ring: You bet your ass
- Micro-transactions: Maybe, but no "loot boxes."
- Battle royale mode: Nope, 343 Industries has said it isn't planning one.
Check out 8 minutes of Halo Infinite gameplay
We got our first look at Halo Infinite in action in a gameplay reveal during Microsoft's Xbox Games showcase for July 2020. There's quite a bit to catch here, from the Banished brute faction, to the new grappling hook, to the more open-world looking objective map for Infinite. 343 have said this section takes place about four hours into Infinite's campaign.
Halo infinite has a more open world
As seen in the gameplay reveal, Halo Infinite will have a more open world than past Halo games. The section we got a look at was several hours into the game, at which point it sounds like Master Chief can tackle various objectives, though 343 says there's still definitely a linear story to follow.
"What you saw in the demo that we showed, you have this map. There's this huge open section of the ring. As you get to that point in the game, this is several hours into the campaign, then you have the ability to traverse that whole area and explore where you want to go on the ring," studio head Chris Lee told IGN.
"That's what we mean by open and explore the different places that you can go to. There's definitely a sense of freedom that you haven't had before [in Halo]. You will get to choose your path there. But we do also want to tell that story, so while you're doing that we want to keep the story moving forward versus like a nonlinear story or something like that."
"You'll be pulled to some of these locations as well, which you could say is story-based. It's also what the franchise is about. We really are trying to make sure there are things for Chief to do that reinforce the heroism and the hope he brings to humanity and those are pretty strong draws around the world," added associate creative director Paul Crocker.
343 is also bringing the Ring to life a bit more with a day/night cycle and wildlife running around the open areas.
Halo Infinite multiplayer will be free-to-play
Halo is for everyone. We can confirm #HaloInfinite multiplayer will be free-to-play and will support 120FPS on Xbox Series X. More details will be shared later! pic.twitter.com/9bIrppFiONJuly 31, 2020
That's huge news. With more and more of the most popular multiplayer games going free-to-play (or cheap to get started), making Halo Infinite's multiplayer free from the get-go is a very savvy move from Microsoft. Of course, any member of the increasingly great Game Pass service will get the full game anyway.
Considering that Halo's campaigns are still a huge draw among fans, it's smart to frame its multiplayer as an advertisement for the full game.
Will Master Chief be the star of Halo Infinite?
Another yes. We don't know much about the story, but yes, Master Chief is the protagonist. Halo Infinite is set after the events of Halo 5 and is the next chapter in the big green soldier's saga.
Mr. Chief's got a new(ish) look, too, drawing on the history of the series—the helmet, in particular, feels like an update of his armor in the original Halo.
"Halo Infinite will feature Sparth’s (Art Director, Nicolas Bouvier) new art style that draws significant inspiration from the most iconic and historic parts of the Halo franchise and your feedback, all while modernizing and taking advantage of the full power of the Xbox One family," Studio boss Chris Lee wrote in a blog post. "The new Master Chief helmet directly showcases our new art style."
The end of Halo 5 seemingly sets up a rampant Cortana as the villain of this next game, and years ago 343 talked about Halo 4 as the start of a new "Reclaimer trilogy" that will presumably cover Halo Infinite. The story of Halo Wars 2 will also have some impact on the events of Halo Infinite, though it's unknown if there will be any real character crossover between the two. Halo 5's legendary ending also gives away that another Halo ring installation will come into play, next time around.
The Banished are back as Halo Infinite's enemies
Our first hint at The Banished came in a transmission video published by 343 Industries includes an audio message from the rebellious faction of Brute mercenaries from Halo Wars 2. Here's the transcript from their message:
“The hour approaches. Our forces occupy the ring. Within hours it will be under our control. Humanity will burn—their brazen defiance will be all but a memory. No more Prophets, no more lies. We stand together, brothers to the end. We are his will. We are his legacy. We are The Banished.”
So why did 343 choose The Banished? “Because they’re super cool and everyone likes them,” developer Paul Crocker joked with IGN. More seriously, he said “to have something that’s an evolution of the Covenant so you get some of the familiar, but something that’s different [too], and it comes together to feel fresh.”
The first gameplay reveal also introduced who a Banished leader named War Chief Escharum, the leader of The Banished on this Halo ring who appears to be the main antagonist. 343 told IGN that Escharum “is connected to The Banished in a fundamental way,” and calls this Halo ring his lats stand.
“This is my last fight, a true test of legends,” Escharum says at the end of the gameplay reveal. “Our story will outlive us both. Set a fire in your heart, Spartan. Bare your fangs. Fight hard. Die well.”
What about Cortana though? Twitter user Xepyal noticed something from the E3 2019 trailer: a series of red flashes in Master Chief's visor that, when spliced together, form a QR code. The code led them to this audio clip. At the end of the clip, we hear Cortana say "This...this is part of me. I don't know why, I don't know how, but it is me." Rogue Cortana may yet play into the plot, though that may be a reveal 343 are looking to save for launch.
Halo Infinite is the platform for the next 10 years of Halo
"We want Infinite to grow over time, versus going to those numbered titles and having all that segmentation that we had before," Halo Infinite studio head Chris Lee said in an interview with IGN. "It’s really about creating Halo Infinite as the start of the next ten years for Halo and then building that as we go with our fans and community."
Lee called Infinite a "platform for the future," but we aren't quite sure yet what that means. Apparently 343's intention isn't to create a live service game, though how it plans to substitute new standalone releases with Halo Infinite isn't clear yet. One way or another, they say that there won't be a sequel to Halo Infinite, meaning no Halo 7.
Is that a grappling hook?
Sure is. Who doesn't enjoy a good grapple? The Chief will have access to various upgrades found while exploring. The grapple shot is one possible upgrade, used for grappling towards enemies or pulling them to the Chief, climbing to elevated areas, or pulling some items into your hands. The drop shield is another upgrade that got shown off during the gameplay reveal.
What new weapons are in Halo Infinite?
Courtesy of IGN, here is a list of new weapons you'll be able to find and fire in Halo Infinite:
Ravager: A Banished three-round burst energy weapon that runs on plasma fuel.
Mangler: A Banished pistol with giant kinetic projectiles that fires more slowly than the UNSC pistol but deals more damage.
CQS48 Bulldog: New UNSC riot shotgun that replaces the classic shotgun.
VK78 Commando: This UNSC rifle can go full auto and is good for mid-long range.
Pulse Carbine: A familiar but not quite identical version of the classic Covenant carbine weapon.
Here's Halo Infinite's Discover Hope trailer from E3 2019
We finally got a lengthy trailer for Halo Infinite, but it's not quite what we expected. Rather than starting with Master Chief, it starts with a UNSC soldier seemingly derelict in space in a Pelican. And the Chief does eventually show up, but, well, we won't spoil how. Check it out in the trailer above.
Sadly there's no gameplay, but there's still plenty to scrutinize, including some loaded Cortana voiceover and a fractured Halo ring.
What about Halo Infinite multiplayer?
Obviously Halo Infinite will feature multiplayer, but specifics remain sparse. There will be local four-player splitscreen multiplayer (presumably on Xbox), a recent stream confirmed, as well as Spartan customization based on Halo Reach.
What it won't have, 343 insists, is a battle royale mode.
"I'll tell you right now, the only 'BR' we're really interested in is 'Battle Rifle'," 343 Industries lead writer Jeff Easterling said in response to a question about the mode's possible inclusion. "The original 'BR.' So, calm yourself." But who knows what could happen. Fortnite's pretty influential.
More recently 343 studio head Bonnie Ross gave a broader answer: "Whatever we do needs to be the right thing for Halo. Whether or not you call it a battle royale or how we're thinking about things going forward, the team thinks about, 'This needs to be right for Halo.'" So that's not a definite no—it seems like Infinite won't be blindly following the trend, but could eventually put its own spin on a last-man-standing mode.
A report by Brad Sams claimed that a battle royale mode was in the works for Infinite, but it didn't take long for Halo director Frank O'Connor to shoot that notion down.
"I haven't watched the video so if I am misinterpreting the headline as 'Halo Infinite is launching with/as a Halo battle royale mode' that is still not the case."
Will Forge mode return in Halo Infinite?
Forge is back in Halo Infinite. This time, Forge is being mainly developed by co-developer Skybox Labs, the studio behind Halo 5's PC map making tool Halo 5: Forge. Skybox also handled the Xbox One X enhancements for Halo 5, so it's clear they know their way around a Master Chief.
With every new iteration of Forge, its capabilities grow enormously. From what we can tell, Halo Infinite will be no exception. With regards to a rumored battle royale mode, director Frank O'Connor said it's not included in Infinite, but "you can probably make your own battle royale mode in Forge even right now."
Will Halo Infinite have microtransactions?
Halo Infinite might have microtransactions, but it won't have loot boxes. A job listing for an online experience design director included, in the list of responsibilities, overseeing design and implementation of things like microtransactions. It's not clear what for Halo's microtransactions will take, but 343's Chris Lee confirmed it wouldn't include loot boxes.
Is a Halo Infinite beta coming?
343 Industries said that it intends to develop Halo Infinite alongside its community. Instead of just releasing a beta for a couple of weeks, the studio is planning a flighting program, releasing different parts of the game for the community to test. "We want to have a relationship, and build that over time," said the developer. You can see a previous example of this approach with 343's work on fixing the Master Chief Collection on Xbox throughout 2018.
Halo Infinite's testing period will primarily take place on Xbox, at least at first, as it's the platform 343 Industries is most familiar with. 343 insists that despite this, they're treating the PC version like a first-class citizen. There's no date for when this will begin.
Halo Infinite remains on-track during the Coronavirus pandemic
In a blog post, 343 told fans that, as of right now, Halo Infinite remains on schedule as the studio transitions to work from home.
"We're removing all the obstacles in our path and tracking well, but need to be mindful of our current limitations and understand that the coronavirus situation may get worse before it gets better. Rest assured that every single one of us is doing everything in our power to continue developing and delivering quality Halo experiences while we adjust to this new way of life," the post reads.
Still, no release date should be considered final during uncertain times. Release schedules could change as the world reacts to the outbreak.
343 talks Halo's legacy in January 2020 video
This January video called "We Are 343 Industries" is a pretty high-level look at Halo with short interview clips from various team members. There's not a lot of new direct facts to pull here, but 343 restates a lot of its values when it comes to developing Halo for the future.
"Forging new roads while respecting a legacy," is the common theme as the team talks about their history playing Halo and the studio's hopes for the future.
Head of design, Jerry Hook says that 343 wants to make sure "Halo doesn't just become an amalgamation of what the market is currently doing," and that "what makes Halo unique remains unique for our players, our community, and for the industry."
It's mostly just conceptual things that we've heard before (developing Halo "with the community," 343's new engine, etc) but hey, it's an update!