Remember the Halo Infinite graphics controversy? Well, even if 343 Industries has embraced Craig the Brute into its heart, it seems the team is still trying its hardest to fix that front. As shown in this month’s latest Halo Waypoint update, Halo Infinite has gotten a major makeover compared to the July 2020 demo. Although to note, the screenshot seems to be captured on the PC version. Xbox Series X — and especially Xbox One — versions might look a tad different when the game launches this fall.
Besides showing off the new visual polish, 343 developers also talked about some details regarding where Master Chief’s new adventure is taking place: the Zeta Halo. Read on below for the summary of the blog post.
A Spiritual Reboot and a New World
Halo Infinite is the sixth entry in Halo mainline titles. However, 343 wants to introduce new players and welcome back old players with classic, iconic Halo imagery. The design team is trying to achieve that by taking enemy visual designs, such as Jackal and Grunts, closer to their Halo 3 appearances and fill the early parts of the game with lush forests similar to the open Halo levels in Halo: CE. Even the new Grappleshot is made with “super-charging” familiar clamber or melee mechanics in mind.
As a brand new traversal and offensive tool, the grappling hook forced the team to rethink how they design the level. When Master Chief is no longer bound by walls, cliffs, and small gaps, it both opens up areas that were supposed to be inaccessible in previous games and also breaks the standard “single path design mindset”; evolving map explorations, looking for audio logs, and combat situations into something much more exciting. World Design Lead John Mulkey added that in addition to carrying two different weapons and having the Grappleshot, you can also take with you three different pieces of equipment that let you mix up interesting combo potential in a firefight (or even when exploring the map).
The Grappleshot is super fun in the traversal options it provides, but it also allows for pulling weapons to you, pulling an explosive Fusion Coil to you that you can then throw to take out a Shade Turret, or grapple to… and launch yourself into an enemy to land a powerful melee attack. Beyond the undeniable fun of the Grappleshot, you can carry around another three pieces of equipment with their own unique roles and utility that you can quickly swap between at any time. The combinatoric play you can create in this way opens an astounding number of play options and I cannot wait to see the YouTube videos people share showing off moves we never even imagined when developing them.”
Talking about exploration, Halo Infinite graphics design team is attempting visual story-telling with Zeta Halo. Memories of past battles scar the surface, how the violent occupation of the Banished forces shaped the environments, and evidence of bigger events can be seen in the fractured chunks of the Ring floating in the sky.
Doing the primary narrative missions lets you experience the immediate story of Chief’s reawakening to confront the Banished and Cortana. But if you see an odd-looking tower in the distance, a smoke signal, or hearing a mysterious hum nearby, you better check them out. There are entire stories left to be discovered and 343 promises that you may find “glimpses of the future” as well. In a way, this makes Zeta Halo as much a “character” in Halo Infinite as Master Chief, the Pilot, or the Brute leader Escharum. The game will also feature a dynamic day and night system that will definitely change the visual tones and moods within areas of Zeta Halo.
And lastly, co-op is not intertwined with the story anymore unlike in Halo 5, where your friends take control of Blue or Osiris Team members. Nevertheless, the map and gameplay mechanics all have been made to accommodate a cooperative experience as well. This means playing together with a companion allows you to approach different scenarios with different playstyles.
I love the agency we are creating that really doubles down on that premise of delivering on the promise of Halo: CE. Enemy strongholds can be approached from any direction and there are so many options available for how you take on the challenges at hand. Do I blaze through the front gate in a Warthog full of Marines and just light the place up with zero subtlety? Do I scout the perimeter and discover a subterranean entrance that allows me to enter through one of the interior structures? Do I Grappleshot to a sniper tower, take out the inhabitant and begin picking off enemies from my raised vantage point? …there are so many options available that allows everyone to approach the game the way they want and have their own unique experiences. I am excited to hear stories of all the different ways players have taken on missions in the game once we are released.”
And that’s all for the February Halo Infinite update. Share with us what you thought of these new graphics upgrades and stay tuned for more Halo Infinite, Halo: MCC, and Xbox games news and updates in the future.