Microsoft’s 343 Industries unveiled a new look at its upcoming Halo: Infinite, the next installment of the military science fiction franchise. It has everything you’d expect from a Halo game: plenty of action, Covenant aliens, and a Halo ring, as well as some new things like a grappling hook and open-world gameplay.
Halo: Infinite is the first major Halo game in five years, a sequel to 2015’s Halo 5: Guardians. Described as a “spiritual reboot” of the franchise, it’ll continue the story of Master Chief as he fights against a group of Covenant defectors known as The Banished, who seem to have discovered another Halo ring and occupied it, with the intention of destroying humanity. The Banished, Polygon points out, have appeared in another recent Halo game, Halo Wars 2, a real-time strategy game released in 2017.
343 Industries revealed the game back in 2018 with a teaser showing off a vast world that players would be able to explore. Last year, the studio released a teaser that introduced a bit of the story—a pilot rescues Master Chief from the depths of space.
Today’s gameplay footage shows off more of what to expect: Master Chief and his rescuer are shot down and crash land on this new Halo ring, and dumping them into action. The footage shows off a bit of what to expect when it comes to playing, and it certainly looks like a Halo game: there are plenty of familiar weapons, enemies, vehicles and moves (with a handful of new items—like a grappling hook—thrown in.) And it looks like the story will stick with some of the familiar beats—Master Chief fighting against aliens who want to destroy humanity, rather than dealing with some of the newer enemies and more complicated storylines that played into Halo 4 and 5.
The biggest apparent change here isn’t with the story or game mechanics, but with the world itself: 343 says that players will be exploring the Halo ring as an open world, rather than a linear set of levels that you have to go through in sequence. According to IGN, this game will build on some of the open-world elements that appeared in prior games, with Halo Infinite Studio Head Chris Lee saying that “This time players will have the freedom to explore the ring,” but that there’ll be a larger story that players will go through.
The game will launch this holiday season alongside the upcoming Xbox series X console, but it’ll also be available on the Xbox One and for Windows. The game isn’t the only entry in the franchise coming soon—Showtime is working on a TV series that’s expected to debut sometime in 2021.