Rewind to E3 2018: A huge crowd of eager fans, media, and press packed into the Microsoft Theater, waiting with bated breath to see what Xbox was bringing to the table this year. The first trailer of E3 opens up in a drenched cavern with the words “Game Engine Demonstration” displayed along the bottom. We explore several biomes and see different types of wildlife. Nobody seems to know what this trailer is. “A new IP, perhaps? A small squad of soldiers? This looks vaguely famili—” An auditorium of a few thousand people erupts into hysterics. That iconic helmet pulls into focus and the music makes a sharp turn to an old classic. Halo Infinite, Microsoft’s latest reveal, had arguably become the biggest announcement of E3.
Halo has had a rocky generation but found a way to salvage goodwill towards the end with The Master Chief Collection. Halo 4 released to skepticism under the direction of a new studio. The Master Chief Collection botched ambitious promises out of the gate, only to recover fan sentiment much later in the generation with its PC release. Rounding things out, Halo 5: Guardians took Chief out of the spotlight, and, subsequently, traditional co-op as well. Interestingly enough, it feels as if Halo and the Xbox One mirrored each other this generation with regard to its triumphs and tribulations. When one struggled, so did the other, and as one improves, the other now finds its footing.
By offering Halo Infinite as a day one launch title, Xbox is putting a lot of faith into this entry. Xbox needs the Series X to deliver in a huge way to be able to keep up with Sony this generation. By offering its flagship series on day one, Xbox is seemingly banking on Halo Infinite to be big enough to carry an entire platform on its back. This choice resembles the launch of Halo: Combat Evolved for the original Xbox nearly 20 years ago and the weight it carried for that consoles success.
By harnessing the power of our new Slipspace Engine and combining it with the power and promise of Project Scarlett, we plan to build the Halo game we’ve always dreamed of.
343 Industries’ new SlipSpace engine may just aid the developer in finding success with this franchise again. Chris Lee, Halo Infinite’s studio head, pointed out that the SlipSpace engine was designed to allow creative and technical teams to work together quickly and seamlessly with the most powerful tools available to them. On the Series X, Halo Infinite will undoubtedly be a graphical powerhouse and, potentially, a narrative marvel. 343 Industries is plunging players into a fresh and mysterious narrative that will enthrall existing fans while offering new admirers a welcoming point of entry.
Despite the weaker entries in the series, Halo is still able to capture the heart and soul of not only Halo fans, but seemingly the gaming industry as a whole. It seems almost no matter who you talk to, everybody seems to have a cherished memory from the Halo series. 343 Industries and Xbox both seem fervent to deliver something monumental that will not only bring Xbox toe-to-toe with Sony but show Halo fans that the fight is not finished yet.
Everybody loves a great redemption story, and if anybody can pull one off, it is Master Chief.