The legacy of Halo: Infinite’s multiplayer simmering with potential


Photo courtesy of Halo Waypoint

Halo Infinite’s multiplayer beta was released on Nov. 15. For the first time in the franchise, the multiplayer experience is free to play.

Halo Infinite’s multiplayer beta dropped from orbit on Nov. 15, and what I’ve seen so far is promising. Not that 343 Industries has the happiness and enjoyment of Halo’s fandom at their tender mercy or anything. With eight player arena multiplayer modes such as slayer, capture the flag and strongholds, the multiplayer beta also features big team battle modes — for those who prefer open-quarter, all out warfare — like total control and stockpile. 

The Halo video game franchise has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide — logged more than 6 billion hours of gameplay on Xbox live — and Halo 5: Guardians is the largest and fastest selling Xbox One exclusive to date. Halo Infinite has the potential to supplant Halo 5, and add to the monumental  legacy that Master Chief, the Spartans of Noble Team, and the ODST have forged in protecting humanity from the Covenant Empire, the Flood and the Didact. 

For the first time in the franchise, the multiplayer experience is free to play. It refreshingly features a return to traditional multiplayer gameplay that was lost in the recent Halo titles, with a purposeful divorce from things such as load-outs or armor powerup abilities akin to more recent iterations of the title. Although, I do have to admit breaking through people’s shields is quite tedious and off-pace compared to the speedy lethality featured in Call of Duty: Vanguard’s recent release. 

Infinite’s armory selection has been something that I have been unimpressed by so far. The alien guns so far — meaning the weapons used by the Forerunners and Covenant in previous installments — aren’t vastly different from their previous offering. A return to what has made Halo work in the past will prove successful in combating straightforward, free to play mass platforms such as Warzone, Fortnite and Apex Legends, but technological innovation in the armaments sector is a must for 343 Industries in this arms race. 

Quite simply, I want new and improved — and bigger and badder — weapons that challenge and expand upon previous canonical innovations from both humanity and the Covenant. Perhaps selfishy, I want 343 Industries to facilitate Halo’s resurgence to the top of gaming’s Mount Olympus, and give me the technology I need to wipe the floor with my enemies. 

Armor customization has potential, but the beta is limited to armor color presets and the simplistic matching of different armor components. Meticulous character customization is something that sets Halo apart from overall skin-based games, and the in-depth personalization of your character should work to emulate that seen in Halo 4 and Call of Duty: WWII

Moving forward, the change that I would look most favorably upon would be providing alternatives to the paywall system currently in place — yes, it’s $10 — in the form of the battle pass. The game does offer free campaign and multiplayer progression-based gear unlocks, however, I am still disillusioned from the transition to battle-pass and pay-to-unlock oriented customization seen in Call of Duty and Star Wars Battlefront II. I make this argument in defense of players who are average  — or just plain bad — at multiplayer like me and don’t have the time or money to grind extensively to unlock the full potential of the game. 

The most important issue for 343 moving forward will be rectifying the Craig incident — a moment from an earlier gameplay reveal which featured a dead-pan, poorly animated Brute, aptly named Craig by the fandom. Serving as a catalyst for the later rescheduled release of the game, 343 has been quite receptive of fan criticism following this meme-worthy disaster