Xbox July 2020 Event
Halo Infinite :What to expect!
343 industries have confirmed there will be gameplay reveal for the Xbox Series X key launch title Halo Infinite shown for the first time at the July Xbox Games Showcase on July 23rd. The Showcase which begins at 4pm GMT will be Microsoft’s first showing since they raised the curtain showing off 3rd party content from the likes of Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed: Valhalla. This showcase seems entirely focused on it’s 1st party offerings from the Xbox Games studios that include the likes of 343 industries, Team Ninja, Obsidian, The Coalition, Rare and many more.
It seems unlikely that Microsoft will mention either the Xbox Series S or even the price of Xbox Series X at this point perhaps waiting for Sony to go first or simply to keep the message on the gaming front and area Microsoft have really struggled with for almost 10 years. Key to Microsoft’s games first approach is Halo Infinite the follow up to 2015’s largely well received Halo Guardians.
The 19 year wait
Not since Halo Combat Evolved launched on the original Xbox back in November 2001 has Microsoft had a Halo game at launch. Halo Infinite has been in development for more than 5 years and has been rumoured to have the largest development and marketing budget in video game history. The importance of Halo and it’s success to Microsoft can’t be understated. The release of Halo the Master Chief Collection on PC has been an enormous undertaking brining Halo CE, Halo 2 and now Halo 3 to PC with a host of new PC features.
What to expect
Microsoft needs Halo to come out strong and i believe they will be showing campaign and multiplayer gameplay during the Xbox July Showcase and perhaps announce the availability of the Multiplayer Beta they have previously promised.
From what 343 have shown off I believe we will be seeing a prolonged campaign sequence that will focus heavily on the more open world nature of Halo Infinite. The trailer shown at last years E3 with the stranded Marines and the Warthog reminded me immediately of the level ‘Halo’ from Combat evolved which upon waking up from the dropship crash saw a vast open world laid out at your feet. Rounding up the scattered marines before assaulting the Cartographer and stickling it to the Covies.
Flying around the Alien installation for the first time was without question my most memorable moment in gaming and one that still evokes a huge amount of sentiment. The opening chapters were full of awe and wonder at this mysterious, alien landscape full of spectacular scenery and peril at every turn.
Visually it was arguably the most striking video game in years, bucking the trend for grey and dark games of the time. Replacing them with lush green valleys, blue rivers and a sky box that was just incredible. Bungie absolutely nailed the art style of Halo Combat Evolved and it’s many inhabitants were as unique as they were deadly. The Combat Evolved Art Style was largely dropped for Halo 2 which went for a gritty tone of muted colours during the levels on earth especially. This trend was carried into Halo 3 apart from a few levels, Halo 4 and Halo 5 Guardians. The latter entries seemed focused on corridor shooting and room to room combat a million miles away from Combat Evolved and it’s sweeping vistas and outdoor arse kicking.
Fast Forward to E3 2018 and Microsoft dropped an absolute bomb. For Halo fans like me who longed for a return to the original art style and wide open vistas the Announcement trailer was simple perfection. Hinting at an open world full of mystery and opportunities begging to be explored. As the launch trailer was studied it became clear that we were looking at installation 07 Zeta Halo. From the colour pallet to the, music and the Warthog bouncing around the stunning vistas it was the perfect showcase for Halo Infinite and rightfully wiped away all of the negativity the series had been fairly or unfairly weighed down by. Gone were the endless corridors and grey dull levels, we had Halo back and it was glorious.
2 years on from E3
So here we are 2 years on and next to nothing has been revealed since the E3 trailer. We know the story will be focused on the Chief this time and not split between 2 or more playable characters. The stage is set and the world is watching to see what’s next for Halo but what do we need to see, both the die hard fans like me and those that have become disillusioned with the franchise? I believe the answer is a deceptively one, we need to see Halo Infinite in action. There will be uproar if all we get after such a long wait is a CGI trailer representing gameplay. We deserve to see a large chunk of gameplay being played out in front of us, in real time no CGI nonsense. I want to get a sense of scale and awe like in Halo CE. This i believe is what we need the most, a sense of amazement at this alien world laid out in front of the player begging to be explored.