This week, 343 Industries has released another #Ask343 question and answer video. Featuring lead sandbox designer Quinn Delhoyo, lead world designer John Mulkey, gameplay director Troy Mashburn, and campaign art lead Justin Dinges, this month’s Halo Infinite update discusses the details regarding the day-and-night cycle, Zeta Halo environments where the game is taking place, Elites and the Banished, as well as a short discussion about the weapon system. You can watch the much longer 44-minute #Ask343 video or simply read on below for the summary.
Halo Infinite Day-Night Cycle and Environmental Interactions
The previous #Ask343 video teased us with the addition of a day-and-night cycle for Halo Infinite and this time Mulkey gets into it a bit more. He said that during the nighttime, you will find Grunts sleeping in bases, Phantoms patroling with searchlights, and some interesting visuals like fusion coils or Jackal shields glowing from the distance. It will also be integrated into the in-engine cutscene; whatever time of day and weapons you’re currently using will show up in cutscenes.
The lush Zeta Halo environments are teeming with various wildlife. These include porg-like space gophers and alien birds in particular. However, you don’t have to worry about rampaging creatures like the Gutas in Halo: Reach. There is no hostile wildlife since the team wants to put emphasis on Master Chief’s conflict against the Banished. Instead, you will engage against random Banished patrols outside of established fortifications while looking for audio logs or traveling to the next mission objectives.
Mashburn also reinforces what 343 Industries has been saying regarding Halo Infinite‘s map design: it’s not going to be a “fully open” open-world game filled with menial side-activities. But rather, it’s going to be an “open” combat sandbox.
We were inspired very early on from missions like Silent Cartographer from Halo: Combat Evolved. And in this mission, one of the things that really stuck with me is how open it was, how much player freedom, player choice you had to decide where you want to go, when to engage, you can go inside, you can go outside, you’re driving on your Warthog, you’re with Marines. […] we wanted to capture the essence of this feeling.”
The map will be really open and wide, where you’ll even be able to knock things off of the Ring into space if you managed to get to the edge of Zeta Halo!
Playable Elites and Designing The Banished
Some of you might be wondering whether Elites will be playable again like in Halo 2 and 3. Well, wonder no more — and weep, if you’re an Arbiter fan. Unfortunately, Delhoyo explicitly stated that the Sangheili won’t be playable either in co-op or multiplayer modes; at least for now.
[…] The reason is, you know, this is a Master Chief — and a Spartan story, especially in multiplayer. We want to make sure that we focus on how Spartans battles against each other and that it feels fair, and it’s competitive, it’s balanced. And you know, we love Elites but never say never.”
Talking about an alien race, the Halo Infinite team also talked about how they’re integrating that new faction into the game. Considering the Banished design is already established in Halo Wars 2, the Halo Infinite team just needs to incorporate those elements into their own settings. Such as putting heavy metal plating, red war paints, and brutish spikes all over classic (and new) vehicles and weapons. The art team found it a pretty neat contrast from the more clean environments of Forerunner architectures on Zeta Halo. And speaking of visual design, thanks to feedbacks and delay, they can work on major visual improvements compared to the July demo build.
Weapon Systems in Halo Infinite
Currently, dual-wielding is not supported. Delhoyo stated they instead prefer to focus more on the basics and equipment for the weapon sandbox. Mashburn added that the team was trying out a weapon upgrading system, but it doesn’t end up mashing well with the “classic Halo gameplay” and decided to abandon it. Nevertheless, some sort of weapon progression is still available in Halo Infinite, namely unlocking equipment or finding weapon variants by going through the story and exploring the Zeta Halo. Hopefully, the unique weapon’s ammo won’t be as scarce as in Gears 5.
In multiplayer, normally you can only hold one piece of equipment and have to switch it out when you find a new one. But Delhoyo stated that in custom games, you might be able to tweak that particular setting to add more gameplay variations.
And that’s all for now. What do you about Halo Infinite‘s development so far? Drop by in the comments and stay tuned for more Halo and Xbox games news.