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Halo Infinite release date: The Master Chief returns to Xbox in late 2020

Thomas Barley Tom Bruce Nathan Spendelow Pete Clark
21 Jun 2019
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Halo Infinite will be launching alongside Microsoft's next console, Project Scarlett

We have finally learned that Halo Infinite will be releasing late next year, in "Holiday 2020". The release date was revealed during the Xbox press conference at E3 2019, where it was also announced that the game will be a launch title for the next Xbox console, currently called Project Scarlett.

We also got to see a new, extended trailer for the game, teasing what’s to come. While it didn’t show any gameplay, it’s always exciting to see the Master Chief again. With Halo Infinite just over a year away now, expect to start seeing more gameplay and trailers in the coming months. 

Halo Infinite will also launch on the Xbox One, according to 343 Industries boss Frank O'Connor. The Halo developer took to Twitter to derail rumours that the new Halo would be exclusive to Project Scarlett, responding in no uncertain terms and generally putting our minds at ease. 

I'd draw your attention to the phrase "appropriately spec'd PCs." Not only is the new Halo due to launch on the Xbox One, but Frank O'Connor has also revealed that Infinite will be the first in the series to also launch on PC.

While it's good to know that Halo Infinite will be launching on multiple platforms, it’s still early days for this Xbox exclusive and details about it remain scarce. If you still want to know more about the Master Chief's next adventure, however, then there's no need to worry. Here’s everything we know so far about 343 Industries’ plan for Halo Infinite.

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Halo Infinite release date: Everything we know so far

Halo Infinite release date: When is it coming out?

Here's the one question we can definitely answer. Well, sort of. While we do know that Halo Infinite will be releasing in Holiday 2020 and will coincide with the release of the next Xbox console, Project Scarlett, there’s still one problem: we don’t know when Project Scarlett is launching.

That doesn’t mean we can’t make an educated guess, however. The original Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One each launched in November of their respective years. Knowing this, it wouldn't surprise us to see Project Scarlett - and therefore Halo Infinite - release in November 2020.

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Halo Infinite release date: What platforms will it release on?

With the recent murmurings from the Microsoft camp morphing into fully-fledged rumours of not one, not two, but THREE new Xbox consoles potentially hitting shelves in the next couple of years, it makes sense that Halo Infinite would be primarily a next-gen title.

Microsoft is working hard on what seems to be two branches of new console technology: on the one hand, there's the next big powerful console, which we now know is called Project Scarlett and is no doubt packed with top-spec hardware; on the other hand, there's the 'xCloud' project, which might well start a trend toward streaming games over Wi-Fi. 

I can say with certainty that, when Halo Infinite arrives in 2020, it will run like a dream on the Xbox One X. There are already some great games optimised for the Xbox One X, and Microsoft will be targeting the Xbox One X as the current and most relevant showcase of its flagship shooter series, promising silky-smooth 4K gameplay to boot.

Hopefully, it will also run on the Xbox One S with no problems and, thanks to Microsoft’s new Play Anywhere initiative, we know it's coming to PC as well. Even Xbox head Phil Spencer said he doesn’t see any reason why it wouldn’t arrive on PC, which is great to hear despite the fact that both Halo 4 and Halo 5 haven’t yet made their way onto Windows 10.

Halo Infinite release date: What will it be about?

Putting an official end to rife speculation, 343 Industries man Jeff Easterling has confirmed during a Mixer stream (via GameSpot) that Halo: Infinite is most definitely a straight sequel to Halo 5: Guardians.

"It is Halo 6," he said. "Don't think of it as a weird prequel kind of thing. it's the next chapter in the story."

It has also been officially confirmed by 343 that Halo Infinite will not have a Battle Royale online multiplayer mode. 343 has chosen not to jump on the bandwagon which counts Battlefield V and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 among its merry crowd. Easterling, in response to a question about Halo Battle Royale during a 343 social stream, said "the only BR we're interested in is Battle Rifle", referencing the fan favourite Halo weapon.

As the sixth entry into the main Halo series, Halo Infinite isn’t just another sequel: it’s the concluding game in the second trilogy that began with Halo 4. While there may be no concrete details around Halo Infiinite’s story yet, we can make some educated guesses thanks to the open ending of Halo 5.

Without wanting to dole out spoilers – although it’s been nearly three years, so you should have played Halo 5 by now – things didn’t look good for Master Chief at the end of Halo 5. Cortana and another rogue AI were working together to take over the galaxy, all while Master Chief was being chased down by the UNSC who believed he was the bad guy in all of this. Now, though, Master Chief is partnered up with his assailant-come-newfound-allies and is heading out to reclaim the galaxy from these rampant AI.

It’s expected that this time around, the focus will be squarely on the Master Chief. Halo 5 alienated some long-term series fans, as so much of the game was spent outside of the Chief’s boots. 343 should have seen this coming: Halo 2 did something similar, with sections jumping between the Arbiter and Master Chief, and people were not best pleased.

Speaking to GamesTM, franchise development director Frank O’Connor revealed that the team “took some digs for the storytelling,” with Halo 5. “We definitely marketed in a way that we hoped was going to bring surprise, but for some fans and certainly fans of Master Chief, it was a huge disappointment because they wanted more Chief.”

Halo Infinite release date: How will it play?

Chances are that Halo Infinite will play very similarly to previous Halo entries. Aside from Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, the main entries of Halo haven’t really mixed up gameplay beyond keeping up with general trends in first-person shooters. Don’t expect this to change.

An hour-long Mixer livestream with a few of the head honchos at 343 Industries has shed a little bit of light on what we can expect from the latest outing for Master Chief. The details are pretty scarce, but if you pay close attention you'll be able to make out some exciting stuff. First and foremost, character customisation will be making a return, after community feedback pointed at 2010's Halo: Reach as offering the best in the franchise - there was specific mention of the black undersuits that the community seems to adore.

Then there's some seriously good news concerning the new SlipSpace engine. It will support 4-player co-op gaming, which is unheard of in 2019 for an engine this complex; 343 Industries were lambasted for removing co-operative play from the Halo series with Halo 5, so it's good to see that they've taken the criticism on board.

Halo Infinite release date: Will it be VR-compatible?

If a 343 Industries job listing posted on LinkedIn is anything to go by, Halo Infinite could be VR-compatible. According to the advert, which is now closed, 343 Industries is looking for a Creative Director who will work on VR content based in the Halo universe.

“343 Industries is looking for a Creative Director to join us in delivering an all-new VR experience in the Halo universe,” the job listing reads. “Halo is known for its epic sci-fi worlds, its transmedia storytelling, and its heroic gameplay – VR brings the potential for a new level of immersion in our universe.”

This doesn’t actually mean that Halo Infinite will be a game made fully in VR. The studio could be working on a Halo VR experience, rather than a fully-fledged Halo VR game. The advert also gives little indication as to whether the VR experience will be utilised in Halo Infinite at all.

At the moment, the Xbox One X is the only Xbox that supports VR, but it has yet to be used in any capacity. In fact, Microsoft has weirdly dodged questions about VR on the Xbox One X, despite making a huge deal out of it when it was announced. It would be a huge boost to future VR content on the Xbox One X if Halo Infinite were a fully-fledged VR game.

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