Microsoft’s 343 Industries has provided an update on the delayed Halo Infinite, describing it as a “spiritual reboot” of the popular video game series. More important, it has shared some new screenshots and artwork from the in-development game, and they’re a marked improvement over the last, disappointing public preview.
“We have focused on two key themes, ‘Legacy’ and ‘Simplicity,’ when it comes to the visual experience we are building,” Halo Infinite campaign art lead Justin Dinges says. “We really want players to feel like they are experiencing a game that they remember fondly (Halo: Combat Evolved), but with modernized graphics of course. [And] we wanted to ensure that we steer away from overly noisy designs and details which is a key takeaway for the team coming off Halo 5. With Halo Infinite, we wanted to take this new adventure back to its roots and create a visually pleasing experience that doesn’t overwhelm with unnecessary complexity where readability and clear artistic composition prevail.”
That sounds wonderful, of course, but the handful of new screenshots that Microsoft provided really drives home what 343 is trying to evoke with this new game.
As for the “spiritual reboot” bit, 343 says that the new game will feature “iconic Halo imagery” and will trigger the same awe and wonder that the original title did 20 years ago.
“We have specifically chosen to begin Chief’s journey in Halo Infinite within the Pacific Northwest forest biome on a new Halo ring, a deliberate ode to the past,” Dinges says. “We have [also] taken the visual design of the Jackals and Grunts back closer to their appearance in Halo 3 and previous titles. We want players to feel a nostalgic familiarity with these designs, like meeting up with an old friend, as they experience all that Halo Infinite has to offer.”
343 is also adding new elements to the game as well, of course. The new Grappleshot is a good example, and while it is unique to Halo Infinite, it will feel familiar to long-time Halo fans and will work as expected. And a new time-of-day dynamic lighting feature can really change the look and feel of environments based on when you’re visiting.
Finally, Halo Infinite will offer what 343 says is “some of the most open-ended play experiences in the history of Halo.” It’s still a sandbox title with clear objectives, but the ways in which you achieve those things is up to the player (or, in co-op mode, players). “There is no right way to use a particular item or feature,” Halo Infinite gameplay director Troy Mashburn says. “I can’t wait to see co-op players doing crazy stuff and combos we didn’t even think of.”
Halo Infinite is still on track for a fall 2021 release after being delayed well past its original November 2020 launch schedule, Microsoft says.