‘Halo Infinite’ beta, release date, gameplay and everything else you need to know

We still don't have a Halo Infinite release date, but we do know a lot more about the game than we did in 2020

Don’t fret if you’ve not got into the Halo Infinite beta: the release date is closer than ever and pretty soon you’ll get your chance to play 343 Industries’ latest installment of the long-running first-person shooter franchise. After months – years! – of development, the studio has been finally shown off the next stage of the iconic Master Chief’s journey. This is going to be the first Halo game in over 5 years, and it’s going to be big. So here’s everything you need to know about Halo Infinite.

Following on directly from the events of Halo 5: Guardians, Halo Infinite was first announced by Microsoft back in 2018. At the time, all we had to go on was a brief cinematic trailer, teasing a new engine and a new direction for Chief and the rest of the UNSC. After a messy development that saw myriad staff leave, and multiple project heads hired in their stead, the game was subject to several delays. But – if we can take Microsoft at its word this time – we know that we can expect to see the new generation of Halo games kick off in the 2021 holiday season.

Halo: Infinite is being touted as a platform, a place the developer can use to establish “the start of the next 10 years of Halo“. 343 Industries aims for the game to be a hub that caters both to long-time fans and first-time Halo players alike. Just go easy on the newbies in multiplayer, OK?

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Following that first, scene-setting trailer in 2018, there has been a lot of speculation on what the game will involve. We’ve since learned that Halo: Infinite will indeed have both a single-player campaign, dedicated PvP multiplayer, and more. The existence of series staples like Forge or Firefight in Halo: Infinite remains to be seen.

Halo Infinite beta

The first Halo Infinite multiplayer technical preview – or beta, if you prefer – runs July 29 through until August 1. 343 Industries has promised that this first test that’s available to the public to play will focus entirely Halo Infinite’s multiplayer, testing server capacity and performance. If you haven’t been invited, don’t worry: it’s just the first of many technical previews for the game, and the free-to-play multiplayer mode will launch for all later this year.

If you’re interested in testing Halo Infinite, and being invited to future flights of beta tests, you’ll need to sign up to be a Halo Insider. From there, the developer will select who to invite.

The first beta was designed primarily to “gather feedback on Bot behavior and online performance,” as per the developer. “The Bots still have their quirks, which is why we’re flighting them, but they certainly aren’t pushovers. Be prepared.” Hope you’re up for a challenge, Spartans!

In terms of Halo Infinite beta weapons, expect snipers, pistols, the Needler, and the MA40 AR – the common tools of the trade when it comes to Halo PvP. The Grav Hammers, Elite Swords and more will likely come later.

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“This technical preview will feature a truncated Battle Pass and a small fraction of the Customization options planned for launch,” as per 343 Industries. So you’ll also get a taste of what the games-as-a-service model in Halo Infinite will look like, too.

Halo Infinite release date, platforms and price

Master Chief
Halo Infinite. Credit: 343 Industries

Halo Infinite is set to launch during the holiday of 2021, however it does not yet have a specific release date. Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, has noted that Microsoft is “waiting on other games” and considering the timing of other releases before setting a definite release date.

It will be available on PC, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One, along with Xbox Game Pass day one of release.

Currently, the game does not have a price confirmed, and it is not yet available for pre-order.

Halo Infinite reveal trailer

The E3 2018 announcement trailer gave fans a glimpse at the new planetary setting for Infinite‘s campaign, while also teasing other mysteries and showing off Master Chief’s ship. The trailer ended with a squad looking over a vast environment and a look at the Halo ring.

Halo Infinite campaign and gameplay premiere trailer

In Halo Infinite‘s campaign, the Master Chief will return when humanity’s fate hangs in the balance to confront the most ruthless foe he’s ever faced, the Banished, from Halo Wars 2.

The video shows the Chief crashing on an unknown planet that is soon revealed to be open-world – a first in the franchise – complete with a map for you to explore and track objectives.

Halo Infinite will also include many new gadgets, weapons and abilities available to you, including a grappling hook used to propel towards enemies.

According to Microsoft, the gameplay footage is captured in real-time and is representative of the experience on Xbox Series X running at 60FPS and up to 4K resolution.

Halo Infinite multiplayer reveal and game modes

Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer mode is separate and free-to-play from the campaign and will run at 120FPS on Xbox Series X.

Multiplayer will have two modes including an Arena mode, a 4-player squad, arena-shooter experience and Big Team Battle, a sandbox-style mode with endless combat possibilities.

Multiplayer will also allow you to create your own Spartan with a full, expansive customisation system.

A further look at the gameplay revealed that the way that equipment and larger weapons work has also been changed and a new vehicle called the Razorback has been added, which will allow you to move bigger pieces of equipment like turrets and mode objectives.

Players will also have an equipment inventory to store power-ups and usable items, as well as have access to a multiplayer battle pass that won’t expire.

Halo Infinite cross-play and cross-progression

Halo Infinite
Halo Infinite. Credit: 343 Industries

Microsoft has confirmed that Halo Infinite will support multiplayer cross-play and cross-progression when it releases later this year.

Those who own Halo Infinite on PC will be able to play with friends on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.

This also means multiplayer customization and progress will follow players across all platforms.

Halo Infinite seasons and battle pass 

Halo Infinite multiplayer
Halo Infinite multiplayer. Credit: 343 Industries

343 Industries has outlined what players can expect from the Battle Pass system in Halo Infinite.

After confirming that the game would launch with a Battle Pass and season-structured content, more has been shared on how the system will work.

The Battle Pass system will offer permanent purchases, and players will be able to go back and purchase any prior Battle Pass at any point. These passes will include free rewards in order to “provide unambiguous value”.

Battle pass rewards will include themed rewards tied to events within the multiplayer season. This includes the Yoroi armour, which was spotted at the end of Halo Infinite‘s first multiplayer reveal.

The first Halo Infinite season will be named “Heroes Of Reach” and will examine how the latest Spartans must “wrestle with the perils and mysteries of a galaxy that has fundamentally changed after the events of Halo 5.”

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