After keeping quiet about Halo Infinite’s campaign for over a year now, 343 Industries shared more details about the same in a campaign overview video yesterday, roughly two months before launch. This is the first time we’ve seen gameplay from the campaign since the rather disastrous demo last year during Xbox Games Showcase, and just as the flight tests showed earlier this year, significant progress has been made in improving the visuals in Halo Infinite.
Check out the Halo Infinite Campaign Overview below:
The almost 7-minute preview showed how Halo is adapting to a more open-world approach to its campaign, a first for the franchise. This includes a more open approach to missions, weapon and vehicle stations scattered across Zeta Halo, enemies with health bars (mostly bosses), new enemy types and more.
The new overview also teased the story of Master Chief’s new adventure, the core of which boils down to finding Cortana after the events of Halo 5: Guardians. 343 also revealed the new AI, first shown during Xbox-Bethesda showcase, is called ‘The Weapon’. Similar to the original games, Chief will encounter Marines who can join in your fight on land and in vehicles like the Warthog. The video also shows a new upgrade system which can be used in real time to enhance Chief’s weapons, along with many collectibles spread out throughout Zeta Halo. The video shows many of the previous locations and missions (including Craig!) from last year’s demo, but now in an improved state.
All of this looks great, although there is cause for concern regarding the new ‘open-ended’ approach that 343 is taking with the new game. The campaign overview shows Just Cause-like missions where Chief can take over enemy camps and destroy their resources, “piece by piece”. A lot of it harkens back to Halo: Combat Evolved, which while being linear provided a lot of spaces for exploration in its campaign. 343 Industries has time and again stated that Halo Infinite is being built to be enjoyed by old fans as well as new players, and an open world design may be the way to do it.
“Players now have more freedom than before to take down the Banished any way they choose,” says the narrator in the overview as Chief takes down a Banished facility. This certainly points to 343 letting go of the linear mission design that has been present in past Halo games. It’s natural then that many fans have drawn comparisons to other well known open world games like Far Cry or Just Cause, and it remains to be seen whether Infinite’s story campaign can live to the franchise’s legacy.
A new video by YouTuber ElAnalistaDeBits compares the new overview with last year’s campaign demo, showing impressive improvements to visual fidelity of the game:
A lot of the new improvements to visuals can be attributed to the change in performance priority of the last-gen Xbox One consoles. As we learned during Halo Infinite’s multiplayer test flights, the game runs at 30fps on the base Xbox One consoles, leaving the 60fps and 120fps options for the new Xbox Series X|S consoles and PC. At the very least Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is shaping up to be bigger than Call of Duty: Vanguard and Battlefield 2042 this year, and Microsoft’s strategy with Xbox Game Pass for its first party releases may be starting to pay off starting this quarter.
Halo Infinite releases on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox Game Pass consoles on December 8, 2021.