Halo Infinite received a trailer at E3 2018, which sparked much excitement in the Xbox gaming community:
This came along with a blog post on the Halo Waypoint site, which details the thoughts and feelings about the new game from the viewpoint of 343 Industries. So far, many exciting plans seem to be in the works: the vaunted Slipspace Engine being one of the main attractions.
But will Halo: Infinite bring back the community?
It’s no secret that after Bungie left Halo and 343 Industries began on game 4, many fans started to leave. At first, this trend could’ve been mainly attributed to a change of office; when the game’s developer changes, someone’s gonna leave. However, as time went on and Halo 5 came out, it’s become clear that something else is lacking.
First, we’ll analyze what might be wrong, and then move on to whether or not Infinite will solve the problem.
Why Did the Fans Leave?
Ironically, humanity’s distaste for change never changes. In a well-established series like Halo, there was no way the change wouldn’t throw off a good number of people. To be fair to those who left, Halo couldn’t possibly remain the same, and there was certainly a marked difference with the new administration.
It started with Halo 4, which followed the Master Chief after he and Cortana were lost in space. Right of the bat, Cortana wakes the Chief after a run-in with scanner over the planet Requiem, leading eventually to battle against a surviving Forerunner warrior called the Didact (the Ur-Didact, that is, but that’s another issue altogether).
While this may sound exciting, notice that the story avoids Halo’s familiar storyline. While a lost, radical branch of the Covenant were featured along with the UNSC Infinity, humanity’s battle against the Great Journey and the Flood are in the past, while rising Forerunner threats take precedence. Since the story of Halo 1-3 created much of the draw for original fans, this alteration often didn’t live up to nostalgia.
Also, Cortana “died.” Sorta.
Then came Halo 5. 343 Industries attempted to bring back some of the old Halo. Most importantly they reintroduced our boi, the Arbiter, in the midst of a battle against surviving Covenant rebels on Sanghelios.
[Very Late Spoilers Ahead] However, 343 also made a few controversial changes. Master Chief isn’t the sole focus in 5, after the addition of team Osiris, lead by Captain Locke.
Finally – and this is the biggie – the story revolves around Chief trying to find Cortana, which leads to the realization that she has essentially become an Artificial Intelligence warlord and plans to subjugate the universe… for its own good, of course.
Needless to say, a lot of fans disliked seeing Cortana’s story continue in this fashion. The best theory currently goes something like: in Halo 5, we’re just seeing a fragment of her personality that was torn off by rampancy and then given power by the Domain, a Forerunner artifact.
Only time will tell if this reaches a satisfying conclusion.
The Game Mechanics
Halo 5 plays much quicker than others in the series, with the addition of boost, unlimited sprint, and quicker shield depletion. Although the new pace may be more fast, fun, and furious, some have noted that Halo’s multiplayer strays dangerously close to becoming a Call of Duty.
Also, Halo 5 completely dropped Halo’s tradition of split screen for a boost to “graphic quality.” 343 already apologized for the decision and plans to bring it back for Infinite. Which brings us to:
Why Fans Will Probably Come Back
First, as we’ve mentioned, many gamers will likely return for the reintroduction of split-screen multiplayer. If you’re like us, many great memories were built off of playing Halo with friends, back when you didn’t need multiple Xboxes. Despite being such a simple change, we believe this decision will speak volumes to the Halo community.
Also, if you’ve seen the new trailer, you may have noticed that 343’s Slipspace engine really does look fantastic. Specifically, the blog post discusses the plans to use the engine’s powerful abilities to bring a modern edge to some of the most popular Halo graphics from across all eras. Take, for example, the crisp yet classic armor for Master Chief:
Last but not least, Halo: Infinite promises to engage with the new storyline in ways we haven’t seen before. Fans will remember the original Halo 5 trailers, which seemed to feature a battle between Blue team and team Osiris:
Since this never really occurred in Halo 5, we assume there was some turmoil on the back end of story development. In contrast, 343 seems far more put together on Infinite at this point. If they hold together through testing and release, its likely fans will begin to accept Halo’s new direction.
(Speculation Corner: Infinite may take place on the Halo ring once inhabited by The Primordial. This might spell a re-emergence of the Flood… but who knows?)
When it comes down to it, any number of factors can drive a game community away: story, gameplay, mechanics, developer, the economy, etc. However, it seems like 343 Industries truly took community feedback to heart and plans on tightening down their plot, answering gamer’s prayers for improvements, and preparing to welcome a new generation of Halo fans. In fact, the relative failure of Halo 5 – still a fun to play despite apparent issues – may have weakened nostalgic expectations, leaving Infinite less restricted as it creates the bright future of Halo.