When Halo Infinite Will Be Released, Xbox Availability, Weapons, Gameplay and More

The next installment in the first-person shooter video game series Halo is scheduled to be released this year after a series of "development challenges," partially blamed on the COVID pandemic, sparked a months-long delay.

Developed by 343 Industries and published by Xbox Game Studios, the sixth main entry in the franchise, Halo Infinite, was intended to launch alongside Microsoft's next-gen gaming consoles, the Series X and S, carrying on the story of the Master Chief while evoking the series roots, specifically its first entry Halo: Combat Evolved.

Here's what we know about the game so far, including when you can expect to get your hands on it, what platforms it is coming out on and details about the multiplayer, which was a staple of many original fans' childhoods and clearly has a lot to live up to.

Release Date

A blog post published by creative director Joseph Staten on December 13 confirmed that the game is currently on track to be released in Fall 2021.

It does not have a specific date attached at the time of writing, but the period between now and then will be used for "building, testing, and polishing" the experience after a campaign demo showcased in July was criticized by fans for lackluster graphics.

Staten wrote in the blog: "I joined 343i right as the team was wrestling with feedback from the July campaign demo. This discussion boiled down to one fundamental truth: we needed more time to do things right. That included pushing hard in the Fall, giving the team time to recharge over the holidays, and then coming back in January to finish the game at a healthy pace. Because Halo Infinite is coming in the Fall of 2021."

Availability

Halo Infinite will release on Xbox Series X/S and Windows, with a version also set to be pushed out for the Xbox One, which is Microsoft's last-generation gaming machine. As it remains an Xbox exclusive title, Infinite won't appear on the Sony PlayStation 5.

In good news for Xbox's Netflix-like subscription service Game Pass, which hosts a vast library of titles available for a monthly fee, the company's new release strategy means that Halo Infinite will also become available there on the same day it's released. While it is listed as being a shooter, the game does not yet have an official age rating.

When released, Halo Infinite will be optimized for the new consoles, meaning that it will be able to run at 4K Ultra HD resolution with a stable 60 frames-per-second (FPS).

Multiplayer and co-op

While much of the development discussions have focused on the story campaign, it is perhaps the multiplayer and cooperative play features that many fans will be eager to learn more about, as they have a vast fanbase from the older and original games.

A lot remains unknown at the time of writing, but the development has confirmed Halo Infinite will have a free-to-play multiplayer mode, seemingly split into seasons. The title will have split screen co-op upon launch, GamesRadar previously reported.

Does being free-to-play mean it will have aggressive microtransactions built in that try to make money by urging players to pay for upgrades or customization? The dev team confirmed there will be "premium cosmetics" but denied they would be overkill.

Christopher Blohm, lead progression designer, said in the December blog: "Players will obtain tons of customization content through things like playing campaign, challenges, skill, special events, legacy rewards), the progression system, and more.

"We will always provide value for pure engagement and simply playing the game. We believe that providing value isn't exclusive to monetary transactions, it's also about making sure you're properly rewarded for the time you're investing into the game."

The Halo Infinite developers have said there will be "no loot boxes, no randomness or items that influence the sandbox and gameplay" when it finally hits the market.

Weapons and Vehicles

While a full list of the available weapons in the game has not been officially released by the development team, news outlet PCGamesN was able to glean several guns that will seemingly appear in the final product from the gameplay demo back in July.

These were: MA3/5, Plasma Pistol, MK50 Sidekick, VK78 Commando, Ravager, Pulse Carbine, Mangler and the CQS48 Bulldog. The "Warthog" vehicle, another staple of the series, played a role in the gameplay video and is seemingly destined to return.

Developers confirmed a "coating system" will be in place to customize items, such as weapons, in order to change the color schemes and general appearances.

They wrote: "The coating system allows us to define color, wear and tear, patterns, and materials on a region-by-region basis on the Spartan or anything in the game be it armor, weapons, vehicles, or even environment elements like fuel barrels."

The team continued: "To get to our design vision we needed to make an exceedingly difficult decision to move away from a system that was in the game from early days – primary and secondary color. This decision was not made lightly, but it has laid the foundation for greater detail and variation when it comes to color customization."

I'm seeing a decent amount of confusion around coatings out there, so I wanted to jump in and address some of the common talking points. Thread below! https://t.co/D6tP6pgSZU

— John Junyszek (@Unyshek) October 24, 2020

Screenshots and video

While likely to be older builds of the game, there is some footage of the game available from the July showcase. Screenshots and concept art have been released via the Halo blog. It's advised to keep an eye on the Halo Twitter account for future updates.

Halo Infinite
Halo Infinite, developed by 343 Industries and published by Xbox Game Studios, is currently scheduled to be released in Fall 2021. Microsoft/Xbox/Asset Library