The recent Halo Infinite reveal showed a game very different from its predecessors, despite 343’s efforts to make it feel familiar. Featuring an open-world design for the first time, the campaign will pull players through levels that can be further explored later. The developers suggest it will benefit the series by allowing them to tell more stories through exploration, while also adding new content in updates. It sounds grand and exciting given the five-year wait, but Halo Infinite sounds like Destiny in several noticeable ways.
After all, 343 Industries describes Halo Infinite as ”the start of the next 10 years for Halo.” That’s a very long product life, so the developer must have big plans. We already know that graphics updates will come later on, such as RTX support, but the content updates sound like something we’ve heard before.
Following the leader
Bungie fans certainly remember the development hype behind the Destiny series. The developer described its new franchise in almost the same way. In fact, the original development plan for that live service game was meant to span 10 years as well. While Bungie wasn’t able to maintain that 10-year plan in the original Destiny, the sequel seems to be on track for six years of support. It will be interesting to see if 343 can execute on its decade-long plan, or fall short like Bungie.
Given the fact that 343 took over the rights for Halo so that Bungie could create Destiny, Infinite sounds eerily suspicious. It also takes the phrase ”following in another’s footsteps” to a whole new level, though 343 seems to feel that Infinite is still Halo.
Studio head Chris Lee described Halo Infinite as a platform to keep content together, more than anything else. ”We want Infinite to grow over time, versus going to those numbered titles and having all that segmentation that we had before.” It’s a reasonable explanation for the apparent design of the game. However, with that said, Halo Infinite sounds like it could be a live-service title as well.
The live service trend has been all the rage in the gaming industry for the past several years, so for Halo Infinite to join the ranks doesn’t seem like much of a stretch. The recent addition of “seasonal content” to MCC also points in that direction. Microsoft has shown it’s not against the concept of microtransactions in the Halo games either. Looking back at Halo 5, requisition packs were a huge source of revenue, and they supported free DLC for years. We bring this up, because microtransactions are the chief source of revenue for live-service games.
A risk worth taking
While the open-world elements and potential live-service model would be new territory for Halo, it could pay-off. The original entry in the series was famed for the awe and wonder it inspired. If Halo Infinite allows players to explore the Halo ring like never before, hardcore fans may love it.
Imagine accidentally busting into another Flood bio lab only to accidentally unleash the parasite again. That may be enough to get most fans giddy with excitement. There are plenty of stories that 343 can tell if they choose wisely. However, we still don’t know the developer’s exact plan and can only speculate. Hopefully, 343 Industries will lift the lid fully off of Infinite as we get closer to launch this holiday season.