343 Addresses Halo Infinite's Graphics, Chances Of A Multiplayer Beta, And Craig The Brute In Its Community Update

343 Industries tackled some of the biggest questions surrounding Halo Infinite following its campaign demo last week.

There’s been a lot of talk around Halo Infinite since its gameplay reveal last week during the Xbox Games Showcase, all a mix of good, bad, ugly (depending on who you ask), and Craig.

In its latest community update, posted Thursday night on Halo Waypoint, developer 343 Industries set out to address most of Infinite’s major points of conversation, the biggest of which — well, aside from the internet’s new favorite Brute — being its graphics.

Infinite’s campaign demo received a good deal of criticism for looking visually underwhelming, especially when it’s taken into account that this game is supposed to be the headliner for the launch of the next-gen Xbox Series X later this year. Common complaints consisted of characters and environments looking flat, instances of object pop-in, and dull and simplistic lighting.

343 heard all of it, saw the Digital Foundry analysis too, Halo community manager John Junyszek wrote, going on to explain that Infinite’s look is the result of a choice in overall art style and a level of visual fidelity that’s still a work in progress.

“Based on our learnings from Halo 4, Halo 5, and Halo Wars 2 – along with strong community feedback – we decided to shift back towards the legacy aesthetics that defined the original trilogy,” Junyszek explained. “With Halo Infinite, we’re returning to a more ‘classic’ art style which was a key message going back to the very first reveal that garnered enthusiastic and positive responses. This translates to a more vibrant palette, “cleaner” models and objects with less “noise,” though it doesn’t mean less detail.

“While we appreciate this may not be everyone’s personal preference, we stand by this decision and are happy to see it resonating with so many fans around the world.”

Junyszek added that the build used to run the gameplay demo was several weeks old by the time it was shown off, and had various graphical elements and in-game systems still being fine-tuned. Some of the feedback the team was already aware of and working on, he wrote, but that fans also raised some new points that devs are now assessing.

“We don’t have firm answers or outcomes to share yet but the team is working as quickly as possible on plans to address some of the feedback around detail, clarity, and overall fidelity,” Junyszek wrote. “The team is committed and focused on making sure we have a beautiful world for players to explore when we launch.”

Soon after Infinite’s campaign gameplay debuted, 343 had to squash a rumor that the game’s multiplayer was delayed. It will be there when the game launches. A pre-release beta though? That one is up in the air.

“The Xbox Games Showcase was only meant to focus on Halo Infinite’s campaign. However, I can’t blame you all for being curious about the multiplayer experience,” Junyszek wrote. “As Chris Lee mentioned in his blog which accompanied the demo last week, our original plans for large-scale flighting aren’t where we originally intended in large part due to the challenges of working from home during the COVID-19.

“At this time we’re honestly not sure what is going to be possible in terms of flighting but we still hope to have an opportunity for broader public hands-on before release. And, as we’ve previously stated, we’ll be relying on flighting and continued feedback and community partnership well beyond launch as we grow and evolve the game together.”

As for the chances of a public release of the campaign demo: No luck there, have to wait for the game to come out.

Other news and notes from Thursday night’s update:

  • Craig the Brute is basking in his internet stardom: “We’ve all laughed very hard at the nonstop stream of Craig memes the community is cranking out. Craig is thick-skinned and seems to be taking it in stride though all of this fame and attention seems to be going to his head.”
  • Nicolas Roye (voice of Octane in Apex Legends) plays the Pilot, and Darin De Paul (J. Jonah Jameson in Marvel’s Spider-Man and Ardyn in Final Fantasy XV) plays the Banished War Chief Escharum.
  • The story takes place a good amount of time after Halo 5.
  • The campaign demo revealed a more open-world structure to the ring, and in turn, 343 is trying to keep kill barriers or “return to battlefield zones to a minimum. “There will always be some exceptions, but usually if you can see it, you should be able to go there.”
  • As confirmed last week, the campaign supports two-player splitscreen and four-player online co-op. The game will also have LAN support.
  • The Battle Rifle is returning, but will be joined by a new pistol (MK50 “Sidekick”) and shotgun (CQS48 “Bulldog”). For right now, the classic Magnum and Tactical Shotgun aren’t in the game.
  • The Easy, Normal, Heroic, and Legendary campaign difficulties have carried over into Infinite.
  • The new Grappleshot (Master Chief’s fancy new grappling hook) will carry over into multiplayer as an item that can be picked up on the map.
  • Black undersuits will be in the game to let your armor stand out more, and players who liked Halo Reach’s level of armor customization might be very happy with Infinite.
  • Players who managed to reach Spartan Rank 152 in Halo 5 will get a “a token of appreciation” in Infinite.
  • Forge is back, and will have undo and redo buttons.
  • There will be no paid loot boxes in Infinite as far as microtransactions go.
  • Infinite will be available on PC through Xbox Gamepass for PC, the Microsoft Store, and Steam.
  • 4K resolution at 60 frames per second is the target for the campaign on Series X, but PC players will have more settings to play around with that will be talked about later on.
  • Gareth Coker, of Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and Will of the Wisps fame, is one of three new composers contributing to Infinite’s soundtrack.

Halo Infinite will launch alongside the Xbox Series X this Holiday.

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Nick Tricome

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