Halo Infinite: 8 Things We Learned From The Tech Demo

The release of Halo: Infinite is drawing near. Though it was initially set to release in the fall of 2020, fan backlash to the E3 led to a yearlong delay. 343 Industries, the caretaker for the franchise since 2011, has done its best to use this extra time in order to deliver a higher quality product. More recently it also means that the developer has been able to devote more time to rolling out a technical preview of the multiplayer for fans to try out.

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From July 29 to August 1, 2021, players who signed up for the Halo Insider Program were able to test out some of the core features of Halo: Infinite‘s multiplayer. During this time, players were able to learn some of the new features and get a grasp of how the game is likely to play, particularly as it pertains to the returning weapons and new abilities/features.

Emphasis On Classic Movement

While Halo 5: Guardians was known for adding a whole host of advanced player abilities (to mixed reception), Infinite removes many of them in favor of a more traditional movement system. While features like sprinting and clamber are still in the game, they have most definitely been toned down from before. This is especially true for the much-maligned sprint mechanic, which offers the lowest increase of speed since its debut in Halo: Reach.

This was no doubt changed in order to avoid overly large maps and the pacing/gameplay issues that sprinting has been known to cause in Halo multiplayer. The player’s base speed has also been buffed significantly since the previous game. Combining this with sprinting causing the player to appear on the radar, 343 have intentionally crafted an experience in which is it more advantageous to sprint less than other games.

More Specialized Sandbox

The Halo series was always known for its highly specialized selection of weapons. For example, the DMR is a single shot marksman weapon while the Assault Rifle is a close-range bullet hose. Both are meant for vastly different roles. Halo 5, however, moved away from this philosophy and attempted to make many of the weapons universally viable in a manner similar to Call of Duty.

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In addition, the weapon selection itself was far more redundant than earlier games, with multiple weapons in each category, again like contemporary loadout shooters. Infinite not only reduces the amount of redundant weapons but brings back that specialized charm from the older games. The Assault Rifle might still need a range nerf, but it isn’t quite as good at competing with guns like the Commando at mid-range this time.

Quick Kill Times

Much like Halo 5, 343 Industries is once again opting for higher lethality when it comes to the weapons. While many fans might protest this, as Halo has become synonymous with “slow Time To Kill” or TTK, the series debut features some of the deadliest weapons even to this day.

The Combat Evolved Pistol for example had a .6 second TTK. It wasn’t until Halo 2 that the kill times began to really slow down. 343 sped them back up with Halo 5 and it looks like they will keep them fast again with Halo Infinite. The Commando and Sidekick for example have a 1.1 second TTK while the Assault Rifle sits at around 1.2 seconds. This isn’t quite Call of Duty speeds, but it is definitely faster than Halo 3 or Reach for example.

Bots Are Serious Business

Never before has Halo had multiplayer bots that the player could fight against in place of real people. This is a massively important innovation for the franchise and has been a long-requested feature by fans over the years. While the extent of these bots is currently unknown, such as being able to use them on Forge maps, players who were selected to participate in the Technical Preview were able to square off against two different difficulty level bots: Marine and ODST.

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The final game will also have a Recruit and Spartan difficulty setting for the bots. So far it seems as if the ODST bots are a challenge in and of themselves, with them being able to strafe and fire rather well, even adding jumps, slides, and crouches to their movements during gunfights.

Weapons And Their Tuning

Halo fans are always obsessing over weapon balancing. Whether it’s debating overkill times, spread, bloom, recoil etc. Halo players are very particular. During the tech demo, two weapons were found to be particularly powerful: the Needler and the Assault Rifle.

In fact, many players have been calling for nerfs to both weapons. The AR has gotten a rather large amount of backlash in particular for being so useful at medium range in comparison to the dedicated mid-range weapons like the Battle Rifle, which is much harder to use and kills substantially slower, giving players less of a reason to use it. The developers have stated they want to create a more specialized sandbox so perhaps they will take this feedback into account

Classic Music Is Back

Players got a good taste of the musical direction Infinite will be taking during the technical preview. In addition to returning themes such as The Warthog Run (as it is unofficially known) and The Maw, the music is very much a rock-infused orchestral journey very much inspired by the work of former Halo composer Marty O’Donnell.

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Previous Halos developed by 343 Industries went for a more “cinematic style” score, with Marty’s style and themes taking a back seat to conventional orchestra and synthesizers. Described as having a “post-rock” influence, Infinite seems to finally be making a return to form after nearly a decade of revolving composers all doing their own take on the franchise’s iconic musical backdrop.

Outlines Need Work

One of the new features on the multiplayer side of Infinite is the Outline system. Replacing the old red and blue forced team coloring, the outline system is meant to allow the player to use their own custom colors while playing team game modes, with the identification being a simple red or blue outline around the player model rather than having their armor color overwritten.

Unfortunately, many players have voiced their complaints about the new system. These include: outlines obscuring shield damage of enemy players, the outlines themselves being too thick (rendering the goal of player expression pointless), and generally making it harder to differentiate between enemies and allies. Possible fixes for these issues include outlines for allies only, or perhaps a traditional forced “red vs blue” team color toggle in the settings.

The Various Leaks

Many of the armor sets and maps were leaked by players who were able to explore the game’s files on PC. Some of these include returning armor sets from Halo: Reach as well as new ones like a snowman themed armor set. Gametypes were also leaked, such as the controversial battle royale mode. Some players predicted that Infinite would have one, but it has all but been confirmed as there were files of the classic announcer introducing the mode as he does for all the others.

Campaign Leaks were also discovered; however, many are taking steps to steer clear. Currently, the Halo subreddit has issued rules and warnings when it comes to campaign and story leaks which should make it safer than most places.

NEXT: Halo Infinite & 9 Other Upcoming Games That Still Don’t Have A Definitive Release Date

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