The Halo franchise made an appearance at Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2018 press briefing Sunday with a mix of good and bad news for fans. Halo Infinite was announced with a gorgeous new game engine, as Halo Waypoint shared, but the wait will likely be at least two years.
Developer 343 Industries announced it is moving to a new game engine called the Slipspace Engine in order to meet the goals it set out following fans’ disappointment with Halo 5. There are noticeable changes to the art style from the previous two games, which the studio explains.
“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. The new Master Chief helmet directly showcases our new art style,” the studio wrote.
Another change is 343 Industries stating Halo Infinite will “focus on the Master Chief and continue his saga after the events of Halo 5.” Time spent away from the Chief and a heavy amount of time spent with Agent Locke without the promised showdown between the two characters was a huge letdown for many.
Cooperative play was not mentioned as part of the Halo Initiative but is likely one of the design goals for 343 Industries. The studio faced severe backlash when the long-running feature was pulled from Halo 5 midway through development. The developer acknowledged the criticism and said it would be included in future games.
Unfortunately, a new game engine likely means a long wait for Halo Infinite to hit the Xbox One. The earliest fans should expect it should be 2020, as even 343 Industries acknowledges it has a “long way to go until we ship the game.” Gears of War 5 will fill the big exclusive shooter release on the console in 2019.
Interesting Tidbits from Trailer
The Halo Infinite trailer does have several interesting nods dedicated members of the community quickly picked up on. It can’t be confirmed since this is just an engine demo, but the large size of the environments suggests something more akin to an open-world game than the linear Halo titles of the past.
Meanwhile, Twitter user Masterz1337 zoomed and enhanced through the video to catch a date that appears to read “1.27.2560.” This would move Halo Infinite approximately two years after the end of Halo 5, which means players would notice the full impact of Cortana’s control of the galaxy through the Forerunner Guardians.
The move to two years in the future under the control of Cortana could explain the throwback look for Master Chief’s helmet and UNSC equipment. A Master Chief and UNSC on the run would likely have to lean on older, non-Forerunner technology to fight back.
Expect more speculation and parsing through every frame of Halo Infinite until 343 Industries is ready to throw back the curtains on the game.