OPINION

Halo Infinite | What Makes a Spiritual Reboot?

Halo Infinite is supposed to launch later this year right around the 20th anniversary of Halo: Combat Evolved. If and when this game finally releases, it will have been six years since the latest entry in the series, Halo 5: Guardians. This is by far the largest gap between mainline Halo games in the series near two decades of existence. For this reason, and many others, Halo Infinite will not just be another sequel. It will be a rebirth of the series, hoping to propell a series that has had a strained decade into a brighter future.

What is old…

From the very beginning, Infinite has been sold as hope. A hope to return the series to its former glory. At E3 2019, former Studio Head Chris Lee stated that “we are building what we internally refer to as a spiritual reboot, a game with a vision set firmly in the future, but a foundation rooted deeply in the things our team and our fans have fallen in love with – the scope, the scale, the heroism and the moments of spectacle and wonder that brought players together on couches, at basement LAN parties, on Xbox Live and in esports arenas for years.”

Even before those words were spoken, it was clear that Infinite was pulling heavy inspiration from the glory days of the series, Halo CE – Halo 3.

From the moment we first saw Master Chief, to the establishing shot of a Warthog driving over terrain, it was clear we would be getting a “classic” experience

…is new again

But what does it mean that Infinite is a rebirth or a “spiritual reboot”

Let’s first start off with what it doesn’t mean. Halo Infinite will not be a game that returns to the non advanced movement era of Halo. You won’t be a slow walking tank who can only walk in either direction and jump high. Like most shooters today, you will be have full control of your movement, and will be able to run, jump, slide, and climb at all times.

Some Halo purists will never accept the movement of modern Halo, and that is okay. Infinite seems to be striking a balance between classic Halo and super charged Halo 5, where you are fast and nimble, but not too powerful.

Infinite will not be a game made during the “glory days” of Halo and Xbox Live. Back then, you paid 60 dollars for the game, maybe a map pack every year, and that was it. Your investment was only in time, not money. Halo Infinite’s multi-player will be free to play, undoubtedly meaning there will be content upsells. You can expect weapon skins, armor types, and battle passes to all cost real money and a lot of time to unlock everything.

Halo Infinite will undoubtedly be a game made for 2021, but it can also be a game that feels like the culmination of two decades of work and a rebirth of the series to its former glory. A quote by Joseph Staten, longtime Halo veteran, sums up what Infinite might mean for the series. Back in December, Staten describes his time playing through Infinite’s campaign, saying…

I could feel the classic Halo “30 seconds of fun” beating at the heart of Infinite’s world. But I had never felt more powerful, more mobile, more in command of a rich set of tactical choices. This was the Halo we imagined back in 2000, finally come to life, after 20 years of technical and creative innovation.

And this is what has been sold to Halo fans since the announcement of Infinite. A return to the days of classic Halo not necessarily in terms of gameplay, but in terms of feeling and vision. There is a specific feeling you get when you play Halo: Combat Evolved, 2, or 3. A feeling of wonder you get as you explore the environments, take in the detailed world, and experience the “30 seconds of fun” that are key to the original games success.

The Halo series is special, everyone knows that, but it hasn’t felt special for a while. Infinite holds the promise of being a game that returns the series to the mysticism it once held, and that is incredibly reasurring. Halo Infinite promises to be a return to what once was, and remagine the series as a game built for 2021 and beyond, while fulfilling the promise of what Halo should be.

Austin "Proven" Nelson

Writer and Host of "You Had Me At Halo Podcast" for XboxEra. Halo 3 apologist.

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