Halo Infinite: Dreaming of a Sacred Ring (A Johnny Rootbeer Guest Blog)
Infinite: adj: limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate.
With the July’s Xbox 20/20 event rapidly approaching, the gaming world eagerly waits to hear some juicy details about Halo: Infinite, the sixth title in the legendary Halo series. It’s been a slow drip since the first trailer dropped on June 10, 2018, and by slow drip, I mean someone turned the faucet on full blast for two minutes and nineteen seconds….and then filled the sink with concrete and broke the handles off. As of two years ago, there has been virtually no new information given about the title, aside from announcing that it will be part of Xbox’s Smart Delivery System. Here’s what we know:
- It’s set on Zeta Halo, the largest of the Halo rings.
- Master Chief is back and sporting a seemingly dated set of MJOLNIR armor.
- There is a new character, a Pelican pilot who has been stranded for some time.
- It takes place at least 1 year after the Cortana Event.
- There will be some wildlife seen during gameplay.
So, not a lot to go on right? It’s been two years and this is pretty much all we know. What this means is that fans have been rapidly speculating and theorizing and arguing about what will happen, what characters will be involved and how the game will look and play. Two straight years worth of theory boiling (I’m coining this term right here, right now.) means that Microsoft needs to bring their A-Game to their July event, and blow everyone straight to hell.
My biggest fear for this event is that they come out and show….a Halo game. “But Johnny, aren’t you chomping at the bit for a new Halo game?” Well, yeah dude, I am. The difference here is what I’m, reasonably I might add, hoping for is not just a Halo game, but a Halo game that actually feels like it belongs in 2020. My biggest fear is that this game turns out to be a 6 hour, straight forward, basic first person shooter. You know: “Shoot your way to Point A and hold X on a switch” type stuff. I don’t want to be done with this game in one or two nights. They named this game INFINITE, and that is a big, big, big, BEEG promise.
For this new campaign to be worthy of its title, I believe that it needs to give the player some room to breathe. I’m not talking a full open world, but something akin to the recent style of ‘openly linear’ games like God of War, Gears 5 etc. There is a clear story being told, but the player is encouraged to explore a large world and is rewarded for doing so. Some side missions here and there, and options to approach situations from many different angles. Would I like a full on humongous open world to tear ass around in a Warthog? Of course, but I’m trying to reel it in here and be realistic with my expectations.
Now, I don’t want a “shared world shooter” per se, ala Destiny or uhh….Anthem…but I think something adjacent to it would be awesome. 343 already laid the groundwork for this type of idea in Halo 4, where they canonized the multiplayer portion of the game by having you have your own Spartan IV character, with a career and even the awesome, but short lived, Spartan Ops story. What I’m hoping for is once you finish the main Master Chief portion of the game, you will be able to continue playing as your own spartan, doing various activities on Zeta Halo. I just want to be able to keep playing and feel like I’m not playing the same 8 missions over and over until the next game comes out in 3 years.
Picture this: After the main story, you continue the fun by customizing your Spartan and doing other types of missions. Maybe the UNSC has set up a small base on Zeta Halo and you can spend your time building it up, protecting it and doing missions to defend it. All of these activities can be done with friends, along with all of the usual Halo multiplayer modes. Regular game updates can provide new rewards and new things to do every so often, we already know 343 loves their events.
The bottom line is, I just want my favorite game franchise to grow with me, a modern game for modern times. Halo already has the “30 second fun loop” down pat, but we need to have more interesting opportunities to enjoy that loop.. With the naming of Halo: Infinite, 343 has perhaps unknowingly challenged itself to be bigger and better. If there is one thing I’m sure of it’s this: a static 6 hour campaign and lobby based multiplayer just won’t cut it this time. Halo needs to be more. Infinite needs to be more than just a name.
See you on the ring.
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