Halo Infinite trundles on, both a testament to the enduring appeal of the foundations laid down by Bungie and, in some ways, an indictment of how Microsoft has handled it since. This once felt like the most important FPS series in the world. Now Halo’s just another free-to-play shooter in a sea full of them, kicking desperately against the straits that carry it off.
We can speculate as to why, but for me the problem with Halo Infinite was that it launched in such a barebones state. The multiplayer is great but multiplayer was only ever one side of Halo, and the way 343 either chose or was compelled to launch Infinite felt like a bit of a crash landing. Halo games once launched with a dizzying array of content ready to go, different modes and ways of playing that eked everything out of the fundamentals. Infinite? It’s all been or is being added post-launch. We only got campaign co-op and Forge six months ago.
Which brings us to one of the best Halo custom gametypes, which 343 has just announced will arrive in Infinite this summer. Infection first appeared in Halo 3 and is basically a zombies mode, in which a small group of infected hunts un-infected players. Each kill from the infected turns the victim to their side, and the goal for the un-infected is simply to survive until the timer runs out.
The infected mode will arrive in Halo Infinite on June 20, as part of season four, and is themed as an AI takeover within the Halo fiction. The latter is admittedly quite neat, allowing 343 to add a demonic robot face to infected spartans. The announcement came from Sean Baron, who is head of live service for the game, and other incoming changes and additions include:
- Beginning with Season 4, all new premium coatings (Premium Battle Pass and Shop) will include individual versions compatible with all armor cores.
- Career Rank is also coming to Halo Infinite on June 20, giving players an all-new progression system with military-style ranks
- 343’s official Forge remake of the Halo 5 map “Plaza” is targeted to be released early in Season 4
- Halo Infinite’s first Bonus XP Weekend will take place over June 2-4
It’s a start, though Halo Infinite still has some way to go after the horrible, no-good, very bad year that was 2022. It doesn’t help, and it’s hard not to link this into the ongoing story of the game somewhere, that 343 Industries suffered a horrific round of layoffs late last year. Even Xbox Studios boss Matt Booty admitted that the game’s release was like “stumbling as you come across the finish line”.
Lest you think we’re a little down on it, though, season three did end up being pretty great and, as I’ll keep saying, the best thing about Infinite is that 343 finally got the foundations right: This may still be adding features piecemeal, but it’s the first post-Bungie Halo game that feels like Halo should. Now it just needs to get to a place, even belatedly, where it has everything a Halo game should.