Halo Infinite Campaign: Gameplay, open world, and story explained

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Halo Infinite Campaign: Gameplay, open world, and story explained


Source: Xbox Game Studios

As the Dec. 8 release date for Halo Infinite inches ever closer, Microsoft has continued to drop new details surrounding the game’s multiplayer. The Halo Infinite beta even provided the first hands-on opportunity, with future tests centered around Halo Infinite’s Big Team Battle mode also to come in the near future. Developer 343 Industries has even drilled down to the specifics of Halo Infinite’s Battle Pass for an insight into that full launch day experience.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Halo Infinite’s campaign. Details about the $60 single-player package have largely been absent from developer videos and blog posts, and aside from the game’s introductory cutscene and a few cinematic shots, there hasn’t been new footage since its July 2020 unveiling.

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However, even though Microsoft and 343 Industries haven’t been very forthcoming with campaign details, there’s still a ton laced in developer comments and the small amounts of footage we do have. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of everything we know so far about the Halo Infinite campaign, including its story, setting, and gameplay design.

A new journey awaits


Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite (Campaign)

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can’t wait for the full release.

Halo Infinite story: What we know so far, (mostly) spoiler-free

Halo Infinite Master Chief

Source: Xbox Game Studios

Halo Infinite’s story will follow the events of Halo 5: Guardians, which saw the AI Cortana return and use ancient Forerunner war machines called Guardians to take control of the galaxy. The long-time Halo companion believed that the “Created,” or AIs, should lead and protect the universe. Based on dates located in Halo Infinite trailers, the game will take place in 2561, three years after Cortana’s takeover.

Halo Infinite’s campaign opens near a damaged Halo installation known as Zeta Halo, the design of which was heavily inspired by the Pacific Northwest according to the February 2021 “Inside Infinite” blog post. In the introductory cutscene debuted at E3 2019, a stranded UNSC soldier known as “The Pilot” saves Master Chief from the vacuum of space.

The Chief next traverses nearby debris and discovers “The Weapon,” a Cortana-like AI that claims that the original Cortana was deleted after infiltrating Zeta Halo, and locked down for deletion on the UNSC Infinity flagship. However, Chief did not complete this task, indicating that someone or something else has attempted to delete Cortana. The subroutine that was designed to delete The Weapon after concluding her mission also failed, adding further mystery to the situation.

The Pilot claims that the UNSC “lost” a conflict prior to the opening of the game, and based on the official July 2020 gameplay debut the Banished faction has returned as an enemy faction from Halo Wars 2. We can assume that a three-way battle between the UNSC, Banished, and Created resulted in the UNSC’s defeat at Zeta Halo, with a severe amount of damage to the ringworld — ultimately leaving the Banished as the victors.

Halo Infinite

Source: Xbox Game Studios

It appears the overarching story of Halo Infinite centers around tackling Banished forces on Zeta Halo, finding a way back to Earth, while uncovering the mystery around Cortana and The Weapon. The game’s primary antagonist will be War Chief Escharum, a high-ranking Brute and right-hand man of Atriox, leader of the Banished. Players can also expect to encounter smaller antagonists, such as Jega ‘Rdomnai, a deadly Elite leader and trusted officer for Atriox.

Dialogue in the gameplay debut also implies the Banished has allied with a mysterious individual or group called the Harbinger. The Banished and the Harbinger seek to control a location on Zeta Halo dubbed the Auditorium, also an unknown locale at this time.

Halo Infinite brings an increased focus on the Master Chief, in line with previous comments from 343 Industries leadership, following the mixed reception to Halo 5: Guardians. Current footage implies that Halo Infinite will explore a new side of the hero, with a greater emphasis on nuanced body language, visible and audible displays of emotion, and meaningful dialogue.

Halo Infinite campaign: How gameplay and missions work

Halo Infinite

Source: Xbox Game Studios

While Microsoft has opted to show several cinematic trailers for Halo Infinite, actual campaign gameplay has remained relatively scarce. The biggest looming questions, including what you’ll actually be doing on Zeta Halo, can be answered by diving deeper into existing footage.

Compared to previous games, Halo Infinite also features a much more non-linear approach to the gameplay experience. The map screen seen during the campaign’s gameplay 2020 unveiling (pictured above) shows multiple different side objectives such as enemy bases, taking clear inspiration from open-world titles like Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed from Ubisoft. We’re already beginning to understand some Halo Infinite mission templates that could populate the world outside the traditional campaign.

Outposts, rescue missions, and bounty targets suggest all the usual staples of an open world.

The Halo Infinite map appears to feature various locales that unlock as the main narrative progresses. The world looks set to open up upon stepping foot on Zeta Halo, with both main missions and various side objectives, to extend your time on the ringworld.

Halo Infinite Map Screen

Source: Xbox Game Studios Halo Infinite’s map screen seen during the E3 2020 gameplay debut.

Halo Infinite appears to pull various Far Cry-esque elements, including named based akin to outposts, where players kill enemies and claim the location. The menu also references colored spires, potential Ubisoft-style towers, “marine rescue” missions, and bounty missions for targets like a Banished Elite named Okro ‘Vagaduun. These side missions will likely provide players with the opportunity to receive upgrades and gear for the fight.

In a developer Q&A video, 343 Industries also announced that each level would have several dynamic gameplay elements, including dynamic weather, a day and night cycle that alters enemy behaviors and patrol paths. This emergent system also adjusts which weapons the Banished use, based on the Chief’s own loadout.

Halo Infinite

Source: Xbox Game Studios

Like previous Halo games, Halo Infinite’s campaign will feature a sandbox-oriented focus that gives each weapon and vehicle unique advantages and disadvantages, encouraging players to routinely try out new gear and figure out the best ways to use it. In Halo Infinite, the equipment system from Halo 3 will also make a return. Items mirror those in multiplayer, including the Grappleshot to traverse locations, the Threat Sensor to see enemies through walls, and Drop Wall for added protection.

Equipment pieces will also be upgradeable via the use of “Spartan Cores,” according to a leak via @LeakyHalo on Twitter, uncovered following the first technical test. Upgrades will improve the effectiveness of equipment and, in some cases, may even expand the functionality. The leak also indicates the presence of “Power Equipment,” which could refer to items like Overshields or Active Camos. It could also refer to more powerful versions of regular equipment pieces or brand-new types of equipment entirely.

In terms of what enemies will be in Halo Infinite, everything we’ve seen so far indicates that the Banished will be the primary enemy faction encountered throughout the campaign. Since the Banished was formed by previous members of the Covenant, this means that players can expect to go up against the Grunts, Jackals, Elites, Brutes, and Hunters that made up the bulk of the Covenant ground forces in previous games. There’s also a chance that the Flood will be in Halo Infinite since it has ties to Zeta Halo in the franchise’s lore, but this remains unconfirmed at this time. Players might encounter Forerunner enemies (or allies) like Sentinels and the Prometheans as well.

Is the Halo Infinite campaign open world?

Halo Infinite

Source: Xbox Game Studios

While Halo Infinite’s various non-linear and dynamic elements sound a lot like what you’ll find in an open-world game, the developers at 343 Industries has stated that Halo Infinite isn’t “fully open world,” but rather a series of open and expansive levels connected together by the game’s narrative. In other words, think of the game like a Halo version of Metro Exodus.

Halo Infinite isn’t ‘fully open world,’ but rather a series of expansive levels tied together by the narrative.

As players traverse each level, they can expect to encounter many different sub-biomes like swamps, highlands, and war-torn “deadlands” that were devastated by previous battles. We can also expect caves, caverns, abandoned structures, shipwrecks, and other points of interest that will contain interesting collectibles like audio logs and written notes or messages. Presumably, these collectibles will provide context about what happened on Zeta Halo before the events of the game. 343 Industries has confirmed that players will be able to return to previous levels if they want to explore and look for missed collectibles.

Will there be a Halo Infinite campaign beta?

Halo Infinite

Source: Xbox Game Studios

While it seems like Halo Infinite’s beta tests will primarily focus on the game’s multiplayer experience, there’s also a decent chance that there will be a beta test for a small slice of the Halo Infinite campaign as well. 343 Industries has been adamant that the beta test flights have been very helpful for both Halo: MCC and Halo Infinite so far, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the developers want to test the campaign.

As of right now, there haven’t been any announced plans for a campaign beta test, and according to the developers, the next test will focus on Halo Infinite’s Arena and Big Team Battle multiplayer. If 343 Industries does eventually announce a campaign beta test, make sure you follow our coverage of the Halo Infinite beta schedule for details.

Will there be Halo Infinite campaign DLC?

Halo Infinite Chief Marine

Source: Xbox Game Studios

Microsoft and 343 Industries have proudly proclaimed that Halo Infinite represents “the next 10 years of Halo,” but while the developers have established plans to update the multiplayer with new content over time through three-month-long seasons and the Halo Infinite Battle Pass, no details about the campaign expansions or DLC have been shared.

Regardless, it seems incredibly likely that Halo Infinite will eventually get some form of campaign DLC, much like Halo Wars 2 did with the Flood-themed Awakening the Nightmare expansion. The Halo Waypoint app, briefly tested alongside the first Halo Infinite technical test, also referenced “campaigns,” indicative of more to come after release.

Halo’s universe is rich with great characters, and if fan-favorites like the Spartans of Blue Team or the Arbiter don’t appear in Halo Infinite’s main campaign, there’s a good chance that they’ll return in post-launch campaign DLC. These expansions may even include some unique customization items that you can use in multiplayer, though only time will tell.

Your thoughts

What do you think of everything we know about Halo Infinite’s campaign so far? Do you think Halo Infinite will end up being one of the best Xbox games available? Let us know. Halo Infinite preorders are available right now, so you can purchase access to the campaign ahead of its Dec. 8 launch (the multiplayer will be free-to-play).

A new journey awaits


Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can’t wait for the full release.

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This post was written by Brendan Lowry and was first posted to www.windowscentral.com

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