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Normally this time of year is packed with new games announcements from E3. The event has, like much else, been postponed – but Microsoft replaced it with an hour-long live stream where it announced some of the launch titles for its new console, the Xbox Series X, as well as giving further details on some previously teased games.
A new version of fantasy favourite Fable was confirmed, along with Studio Ghibli-inspired Everwild, Warhammer Darktide, and the inevitable Forza Motorsport release. But the biggest interest surrounded Halo Infinite, the sixth game in the sci-fi shooter series, due for release later this year on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X. Here’s everything we know about the game so far.
It’s a ‘spiritual reboot’
Developer 343 Industries has tried to recapture the feeling of wonder and mystery players experienced when they played the first game. They wanted to create something “familiar but different” for people who have played previous versions of the game.
It’s the biggest Halo game ever
Halo Infinite’s campaign mode – which takes place on a manmade ring floating in space – is several times larger than the last two campaign modes combined. “We wanted to build an amazing ring for the players to explore and bring back all those memories from when they first played Halo all those years ago,” says Paul Crocker, the game’s associate creative director.
There’s a grappling gun
For the first time, players will be equipped with a grappling hook – which they can use to move around the expanded maps in new ways, but also as a weapon in close combat. There’s also a return of power-ups including a dropshield, which can deflect grenades and be used as cover in close combat. In the demo, Master Chief uses the grappling gun to steal a march on his opponents and attack from behind. “You have a lot of options,” says Jerry Hook, head of design – you can use the hook to pull down items from the environment onto enemies, for instance.
The AI is smarter than ever
The early Halo games stood out because enemies were smarter than in your average shooter – they’d hide behind cover and switch strategies to try and take you out. There will be more developments in Halo Infinite – they may switch weapons, or use items in the environment against you. The game also sees the return of the beloved ‘grunt toss’, where enemies will throw their fellow fighters at you.
There’s a mix of old and new enemies
The launch trailer focussed on The Banished, who previously appeared in the Halo Wars spin-off. But there were also allusions to someone or something called the Harbinger – the developers were coy on the details, but it may be a hint of a future long-term foe to carry the series over the next few years. The story itself forms the final part of a loose trilogy which began when 343 Industries took over the series from Bungie from Halo 4 – but it’s the start of a ten year plan with new stories and add-ons planned.
It’s coming to both current and next-gen consoles
The full version of the game will be available across all Microsoft platforms – Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC, and the game will also be available for Xbox Game Pass subscribers for free.
There will be split-screen multiplayer
The developers confirmed that there will be split screen multiplayer and co-op campaign modes.
Amit Katwala is WIRED’s culture editor. He tweets from @amitkatwala
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