Today’s gameplay reveal for Halo Infinite brought some confusion as to the structure of this game. Approximately three minutes into the video, a tactical map is pulled up, as the player is given the ability to set waypoints and freely travel between objectives.
Is…Is Halo Infinite an open-world game?
Not quite, although you’d be forgiven if you came away with that impression. In a press session this afternoon that Destructoid attended, associate creative director Paul Crocker explained that the narrative moves the player through new areas, but then they’re unlocked for further exploration.
When asked whether Halo Infinite takes place in a single, contiguous open world, Crocker said “The simple answer is that it takes place in a huge world that is open and expansive.” He elaborated “We have a storyline that pulls you through it, which is effectively unlocking certain areas. But, as you progress through it, you have the ability to backtrack and explore to your heart’s content. There is a lot to find out in the world.”
Head of design Jerry Hook chimed in with the ways that optional exploration might benefit the player. “[Master] Chief, as he explores the ring, he’s gonna find more equipment. He’s always gonna find ways to upgrade that equipment. And, it’s not all about power, but it’s about options for the player. We want to ensure that players are able to make the choices to be successful in the way that they want to play the game.”
This is where it gets tough because 343 Industries played coy when it came to straying from their talking points. But, it sort of sounds as though Halo Infinite will have permanent unlockable upgrades through Metroidvania-like exploration? Also, doesn’t seem unreasonable to infer that it’ll be mostly open-world by the end of the game. Speaking to that last point, that probably means there’s a fast-travel system of sorts, especially considering that Halo Infinite is bigger than the last couple Halo games combined.
It’s certainly a new spin on Halo but that’s what 343 has been going for all along. The developer didn’t shy away from using the term “spiritual reboot” several times over, and Halo Infinite is meant to give players the same sort of feelings of awe and wonder that they experienced when they first played Halo: Combat Evolved. There’s a lot to Halo Infinite that 343 wasn’t willing to talk about today, but one big takeaway is that the days of linear missions in distinct areas look to be long gone.