Being halfway into my 20s, I have some pretty fond memories of playing Halo 3‘s multiplayer after school with friends. It was our hangout go-to, the thing we all did and all wanted to do. I got to experience that again last summer thanks to 343 Industries’ efforts to not only bring the classic Halo titles back with Halo: The Master Chief Collection, but also enhance those games.
To put it simply, Halo 3‘s multiplayer is now better than it was when I was in middle school. Amazingly, 343 has managed to refine the experience, put in more ways to play, and add in new seasons with more exciting content and cosmetics. And now, 343 is bringing its experience with Halo: The Master Chief Collection to Halo Infinite, which is shaping up as a much better multiplayer experience than previous entries.
I’m not going off of an inkling here either — my faith and optimism in what 343 Industries has planned for Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer are demonstrable. A multiplayer overview aired today that went over a ton of the content that players will be able to expect. While some gameplay mechanics that I’m still slightly worried about (mostly ADS for non-scoped weapons) weren’t talked about, a majority of the game was covered.
Naturally, there are things being added to Halo Infinite multiplayer that have almost no relation to 343’s experience with Halo: MCC at all. The focus of the game will be on two modes, arena and big team battle. Arena seems to be an all-encompassing term for those game modes we love: SWAT, slayer, capture the flag — the classics.
The latter is, well, big team battle, although there will be some twists this time around. Vehicles can be found in bases or will be dropped off in battlefields by pelicans. The game will also feature a new vehicle called the Razorback, which has its own storage area. A trunk might not seem revolutionary, but when you can throw power weapons or even objective items into it, it’s a big deal for Halo.
However, the biggest change for Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer is everything that you can do with a grappling hook, which was also shown off today. We already know a little bit about the game’s grappling hook mechanics thanks to its initial campaign reveal last year. However, it seems like the tool has been expanded upon more since then. In multiplayer, players will be able to use the tool to swing across maps and flank enemies, or grab items and weapons to bring them right into their hands.
Grappling hooks can even be used against players. If you have a melee weapon, for instance, you can grapple onto an enemy, get pulled into them, and provide a good old-fashioned beatdown. Vehicles aren’t even safe from the tool, which will allow players grapple onto them for a hijack.
There is still a glaring concern that fans should likely and rightfully have about Infinite‘s multiplayer. Halo 5 was known for being awash with cosmetics and loot boxes, two staples of any free-to-play game. Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer will be also be free to play, but it seems that 343 isn’t taking that old approach to bonus content for Infinite multiplayer. Instead, the company is using what it’s learned from its time with Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Halo Infinite will not have loot boxes or cosmetics that you can purchase, according to today’s multiplayer breakdown video. Instead, there are a variety of ways that players will be able to unlock content, with the first being the game’s battle pass. The inclusion of a battle pass shouldn’t be a surprise, as it’s also a staple of any free-to-play title. However, in keeping with Halo: MCC, players won’t be limited to just one battle pass at a time. Similar to how Halo: MCC players can unlock rewards from the game’s multiple seasons, players can have multiple battle passes at once and choose which one to put their progress toward.
Players will be able to unlock cosmetics by simply playing the game or by purchasing them outright. However, the cosmetics in the game’s store will never be the same as what you could get in a battle pass. According to today’s breakdown video, 343 didn’t want players to circumvent the pass with real-world money.
Seasons will also be handled in a very Halo: MCC-esque manner, with each introducing new, themed cosmetic and gameplay content. If you’ve been playing Halo: MCC over the course of this past year, you know that means a boatload of ways to deck out your spartan are on the way, along with more maps, game modes, and quality of life features that are requested by the community.
At this point, 343 Industries seems like it knows what it’s doing. Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer is a big game, one that will arguably be played by more people than the game’s campaign. But the developer already has some sizable experience supporting a Halo title (or rather multiple Halo titles), and bringing that to Infinite is what will ensure that it doesn’t buckle under its weight, but instead grows over the course of its life.