Here's our first look at Halo Infinite's open world campaign in over a year

I've been bullish about how good Halo Infinite feels to play in technical tests. Hell, I even likened it to Titanfall 3 after spending a weekend grappling around its brilliant big team battles. But the absence of any campaign footage since 2019 has been troubling—an absence that 343 Industries thankfully remedied with a fresh new gameplay trailer this afternoon. 

Where our first glimpse of Halo Infinite's campaign gave us a straight run through a single mission, today's overview provided a, well, overview of how this open-ended Halo will play out. To that end we do, in fact, see plenty of open-world trappings, with Chief approaching Banished (a new, hot Covenant that comes with a bright red makeover) bases and blowing them the hell up with rocket launches, grenades and thrown explosive barrels.

As someone who's adored their time with the multiplayer fights, it's exciting to see that same sandbox applied to traditional Halo baddies like Jackals and Hunters. But there are some less traditional Halo elements, including bosses with full-on health bars, and vehicle stations that let you literally pluck Wasps and Warthogs from the sky.

A full Warthog drives through a night fight

Never before has a Halo let you wear jeans in a Warthog. (Image credit: 343 Industries)

A peek at the world map also shows us collectables and side missions (like the aforementioned outpost assault), while there are also upgrade trees to add more charges to equipment like grappling hooks and repulsors. It also appears you'll have a "Spartan-killing" Elite stalking you throughout the campaign—and for as much as Infinite wants to move beyond 343's previous games, the studio couldn't resist bringing back some ancient Forerunner-adjacent aliens.

It's that last part, plus the game's narrative centring on a new, terribly naïve AI named "The Weapon" (effectively a younger, less confident Cortana) that has me a little concerned about the direction Infinite's campaign may be taking. 

But while it's very easy to make Far Cry Halo comparisons with this more open format, it does still look like there's plenty of space to muck around and pull of daft stunts with Infinite's ridiculous toolset. It's just a shame you won't be able to roll through Zeta Halo with a friend when Halo Infinite launches on December 8.

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.