343 Explains How Halo Infinite is a Spiritual Reboot
343 went into some excruciating detail on the development of Halo Infinite in this interview and how they are trying to be evocative of the classic games.
Yesterday we got our first look at gameplay for Halo Infinite and the game sure is Halo. From the crash landing on an alien ringworld to leaving the ship to an open environment filled with color and grunts to kill, 343 has made it very clear that they are trying to evoke that same feeling we got from Combat Evolved.
In an interview with the Video Games Chronicle, 343 went into detail on their upcoming launch title for the Xbox Series X and how they are treating this title. Associate Creative Director Paul Crockers stated: “We really approached this whole thing as a love letter to Halo. We want people to feel the way they did when they first played Halo: Combat Evolved and got into the universe. That has been our goal and our direction ever since we started this, so I really hope everyone likes it when they play.”
Crocker alongside Studio Head Chris Lee and Head of Design Jerry Hook answered some questions from different journalists across different media outlets. There was a whole lot of questions asked, both big and small, so I will fill you in on some of the more major ones on Halo Infinite.
When asked about the size of the title and if it is a true open-world game, Chris Lee responded: “The campaign in Halo Infinite is several times larger than the last two campaigns we’ve created put together. It’s this new open, expansive experience and I think maybe Paul should talk more about what that means for players.”
Paul Crocker then chimed in: “We wanted to present an amazing ring for players to explore and bring back all those memories they had when they first played Halo all those years ago. We wanted to really focus on the wonder, mystery and the beauty of that space, and then drop in Chief as the universe’s greatest soldier going up against this dangerous enemy in the form of The Banished, and just allow that to flow over the player and give them this great experience.”
Many viewers have expressed their opinions online stating that the visual looks a little dated and washed out. The team was asked what version of the game was shown off for the demo and if the visual will improve. Lee stated: “Halo Infinite is still very much in development. The team is very focussed on bringing the best experience possible to fans and we still have a ways to go. So this is definitely a pre-release version of the game that folks are seeing today.”
The setting definitely felt familiar if you are a longtime Halo fan. The team was asked if they were trying to be evocative of the previous Halo games and if they are trying to target those lapes players. Chris Lee stated: “We really started this game with the concept of the spiritual reboot, which you heard in the narrated version of the campaign demo. That spiritual reboot was really about thinking through what we’ve learned from building Halo 4 and 5 and really looking across the whole history of Halo to grab the most iconic parts. That was an important thing that we wanted to capture, to embrace those elements and bring them forward for gamers today, so that when they’re playing there’s something that’s really exciting for folks that have been around for a while.”
Jerry Hook also chimed in: “One of the greatest things that we tried to do with this pillar of ours for a ‘spiritual reboot’ is to take a look at every system that we have in the game from weapons, to characters, to the art and story, and to bring back that sense of wonder and gameplay experience that our sandbox has traditionally brought to fans. And that’s where it becomes really, really critical where the players grab a battle rifle or these weapons that they’ve loved in the past and they can feel it. As Chris said, there’s a bunch of new things there as well and we’re all trying to stay within how the tradition has moved forward, while still respecting the great things that we know Halo has brought to our fans title after title. One of the greatest things that we tried to do with this pillar of ours for a ‘spiritual reboot’ is to take a look at every system that we have in the game from weapons, to characters, to the art and story, and to bring back that sense of wonder and gameplay experience that our sandbox has traditionally brought to fans. And that’s where it becomes really, really critical where the players grab a battle rifle or these weapons that they’ve loved in the past and they can feel it. As Chris said, there’s a bunch of new things there as well and we’re all trying to stay within how the tradition has moved forward, while still respecting the great things that we know Halo has brought to our fans title after title.”
The team was also asked if there will be new weapons and ablities in the game. One would expect a new game to contain new stuff, but it is still a fair question since this game is trying to be so evocative to the original. Hook responded by stating: “Yeah. One of the things that I hope everybody was able to see in the demo was the different abilities and equipment that Chief is able to bring into the sandbox, and that’s going to be all under the player’s control. That’s something that I think the sandbox is really trying to bring: when you enter an encounter you have a lot of options. Do you use the grapple hook to move? Or do you use it to grab the power coil? Do you use it to sling yourself at an enemy? Do you throw down a Shield Wall to block off a whole bunch of combatants while you take down another set? We haven’t exposed it all, but as you get your hands on the game you’ll see more equipment come into play for the player.”
Halo has always been known for its excellent AI system. The team was asked how next-gen technology has advanced the AI system and if it’s still a priority in Infinite. Lee stated: “Bringing the different characters to life has always been such an important part of Halo, with the Elites, the Grunts… I think bringing the Brutes back into the mix was something we were really excited about, and we’ve invested heavily in really bringing these characters to life and making sure we maintained that strong core of what these characters were, while bringing them a lot of new elements along the way. The Grunt toss is one very fun example of that, but there’s a lot of great stuff in there. The AI is definitely one of the things that I think is really core to Halo and important for our gameplay experience.”
Hook expanded upon that: “The Grunt toss is one of the key elements where you see the AI starting to take advantage of the sandbox that you haven’t seen before. So you still have that great feeling of the AI taking advantage of shields and cover that was pretty critical to the Halo experience that we’ve had in the past, but we wanted to give them more. We wanted to give them more awareness of the sandbox itself and be able to use it. Don’t be surprised if you see an AI go grab a different weapon to take you out.”
There are plenty of other interesting questions answered in the interview such as the confirmation of Master Chief being the only protagonist in the game as well as the game including split-screen co-op at launch. You can follow the link above to explore those other questions.
Halo Infinite is set to launch later this holiday alongside the release of the Xbox Series X.