There is no questioning that the development of Halo Infinite has been rocky. The flagship first-person shooter went from being highly anticipated to disappointing on the big stage. This inevitably led to some reconsiderations, and a delay was announced. Developer 343 Industries is definitely trying to create something that will satisfy fans. Suffice to say, that is not an easy task. However, if they are able to evoke the feelings of nostalgia, of the roots of the Halo franchise, they might just succeed. That is how the team is describing the game now. Halo Infinite is essentially a spiritual reboot for the series, and the team shared more in the latest Inside Infinite update.
What this ultimately means can be interpreted differently by everyone. For 343 Industries, it is about implementing new ideas while staying true to how the classics played. Even with the new experiences and opportunities in the modern game, sandbox lead Troy Mashburn still wants to keep the essence of the original games.
A key example of that challenging task is the Grappleshot. It adds a new maneuverability option, but also enhances familiar mechanics like clamber and melee. Even if the obstacles in Halo Infinite are larger, getting over them needs to feel familiar.
With movement and combat at the heart of the franchise, it is clear that Halo Infinite needs to get this spiritual reboot sorted out.
Seeing is believing
It is the same when it comes to visuals. For Campaign Art Lead Justin Dinges, the objective is to lean into recognizable Halo imagery that will appeal to both newcomers and veterans alike.
In order to do that, the art team established two key themes. Legacy and simplicity guide the team in creating designs that strike a balance between the old and new. Whether that truly shines through in the finished product remains to be seen. However, this is represented quite well in the previews we have seen of the game thus far.
Master Chief starts Halo Infinite in a Pacific Northwest biome on a new Halo ring, which Dinges referred to as a deliberate ode to the past. The way that Jackals and Grunts look are also more reminiscent of their appearances in previous games. At the end of the day, 343 wants you to feel nostalgic familiarity.
On that front, there is certainly some success already. Instead of relying on photorealism, the Infinite visual style relies on artistic representation to marry what fans love about the classic games with concepts that make it feel updated.
While there isn’t any new footage, we did get a bunch of high-resolution screenshots that show off the game beautifully. The time-of-day lighting system is working its magic. That should not come as a surprise. After all, Dinges did mention that it is possibly the biggest graphical feature added to the engine thus far.
Depending on when you come across places in the world, time and lighting will dictate the vibe. You’ll definitely want to check the images out. As they say, seeing is believing.
The Halo Infinite “spiritual reboot” was originally slated to release in November of 2020. Now with the delays, we will have to wait until fall of this year before we can start our adventures. With 343 Industries working hard to make a great game, there is still hope to finish the fight once more. If you feel otherwise, there is always the dependable Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
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