Halo Infinite harkens back to the original vision for the series
There was a strange nostalgia about the Halo Infinite trailer that would’ve engaged a small number of viewers. Not from the Halo fans who fought with and alongside Locke in Halo 5, not those that finished the fight in Halo 3 and not even those who stepped onto the beaches of The Silent Cartographer level in the original Combat Evolved. No, Halo Infinite evoked something that went even further back than that.
Stretch back to 1999, when the world was concerned about the Y2K bug, the Dreamcast was breaking sales records when it launched in Japan and Microsoft’s Xbox wasn’t even a brand. In May of the same year, Bungie’s Jason Jones revealed Halo to the world at Apple’s WWDC conference, introduced to the stage by none other than Apple’s Steve Jobs. It was a game that was different to the one that launched and at the time was a Mac exclusive – although rumours of a Dreamcast version were rampant.
Of course, things change and as we all now know, Microsoft swooped in and secured Halo as a first-party exclusive. A move that is up there as one of the best deals in the industry when you consider how much Halo changed the way we see first-person shooters today. Many of the FPS’ modern tropes came from Halo in some way or form, and if they weren’t first implemented by Bungie then they were certainly made mainstream by them. Rechargeable shields and a two-gun limit were just two of the ideas that perforated through to the rest of the industry. The rest, as they say, is history.
Halo Infinite’s debut trailer looked as far away from the previous few Halos as humanly possible. Gone was Spartan Locke, different worlds, Guardians and the strange situation with Cortana presented to players at the end of Halo 5. The debut of Infinite stripped back all the baggage that Halo (and by association 343) have added onto the franchise in recent years.
Infinite’s trailer harkens back to that original vision, one that presented a wide-open world with terrain that you could traverse on foot or with vehicles, one that you’d explore with a squad, encounter wild animals and travel with friends. It was a world away from the FPS it eventually turned into but the original vision for Halo now lies precisely in line with the trailer that Infinite presented.
We don’t know much about Halo Infinite. Rumours suggest it will be released in two parts over the next three years (single-player and then multiplayer) while others suggest it’s a break away from everything we’ve seen before. In a world where games like Fortnite and Destiny exist, it’s a far cry from what Halo has grown into over the course of the last decade. Games as a service is now an extremely viable way of keeping the money flowing for developers and publishers the world over. The hard part of connecting with an audience is building a brand strong enough to resonate with millions of people, luckily for Xbox, they already have that with Halo.
The task now is turning it into something that excites and becomes relevant again. If they need to look back to the franchise’s original open world vision that had roaming wildlife, it’s own ecosystem and miles of terrain to traverse that’s filled with the Covenant, then it’ll have a lot of old fans excited.
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