8 details we already know about 'Halo Infinite,' the ambitious next game in the blockbuster Xbox franchise

When Microsoft held an Xbox briefing last week, everyone watching expected a new “Halo” game to be announced. But no one expected “Halo Infinite.”

Halo Infinite343 Industries/Microsoft

The new “Halo” is the next major entry in the long-running first-person shooter series, and it once again features the iconic supersoldier Master Chief as its main protagonist. And “Halo Infinite” is rife with nods to “Halo” tradition.

But let’s be clear: It’s not named “Halo 6” for a good reason. The game features a new art style, and is said to take the series in “new and unexpected directions.” Since “Halo Infinite” is still early in development, there’s only so much to know thus far – but we’ve put together as much as we could find below:

1. It stars Master Chief, the supersoldier you know and love.

343 Industries/Microsoft

And not just that, but Master Chief is front and center unlike some previous games in the series. The game’s story focuses on him, and you playing as him, and – if history serves as a guide here – shooting like a trillion aliens as him.

2. It continues the story of “Halo 5: Guardians,” despite the fact that it’s not called “Halo 6.”

343 Industries/Microsoft

At the end of “Halo 5: Guardians,” which came out in 2015, there were some loose ends.

“Halo Infinite” intends to tie those up, or at least offer a continuation of where things left off.

“In Halo Infinite, the game will focus on the Master Chief and continue his saga after the events of Halo 5,” 343 Industries studio head Chris Lee said in a blog post when the game was revealed.

It’s not clear who the soldiers are in the image above.

3. It’s powered by a custom-built game engine, the Slipspace Engine, which produced the first trailer for the game.

343 Industries/Microsoft

A game “engine” is the software used to build a game. Think of it like Adobe Photoshop: a software tool used to create digital works.

In the case of “Halo Infinite,” the team at Microsoft-owned 343 Industries custom-built their own engine – software tools – to create “Infinite.” The project is said to be so ambitious that a custom engine was required. “We knew we had to build new tech to fully realise our goals for ‘Halo Infinite’,” Lee said.

The new engine is appropriately titled the “Slipspace Engine” –a reference that only the nerdiest of “Halo” fans will understand (myself included).

4. There is a new art style, with a more vibrant palette than previous “Halo” games.

343 Industries/MicrosoftRelated: Deer!

Part of evolving Halo with “Infinite” is taking the series in a new direction visually while respecting what fans love.

To that end, the game’s new visual style is said to be inspired by “the most iconic and historic parts of the ‘Halo’ franchise… while modernising and taking advantage of the full power of the Xbox One family.”

5. The world of “Halo Infinite” has lush forests, sweeping deserts, snow-covered mountain peaks, and tranquil lakes.

343 Industries/Microsoft

More than just showcasing fancy new visuals, the debut trailer for “Halo Infinite” offered a glimpse into a vast new ring world with a variety of environments, animalia, and weather patterns.

The final game may not feature the same world, but it is likely to look like what we’re seeing here. It sounds like “Infinite” will be set in one large world – the game’s official website describes it as “a living, breathing world ripe for exploration and endless gameplay possibilities.”

So, open-world “Halo” maybe? Maybe! An online-only game like “Destiny,” but with a separate single-player campaign maybe? Maybe! It’s not clear just yet.

6. The Warthog is back.

343 Industries/Microsoft

At one point in the trailer, the ultimate supersoldier four-wheeler shows up, racing down a dirt road. The Warthog has been a “Halo” series staple since the original game, and it’s no surprise to see it return in “Halo Infinite.”

7. Master Chief has some form of AI in his head, but there’s no sign of Cortana.

343 Industries/Microsoft

At the end of the trailer, Master Chief is seen inserting what looks like a double-thick SD card into the back of his helmet. That’s likely to be an AI – a reference to his usual (digital) partner, Cortana. But Cortana was AWOL as of the end of “Halo 5: Guardians,” so it’s not clear what (or who) is being plugged in here.

8. The game isn’t coming out any time soon, but you may be able to play it before launch.

343 Industries/MicrosoftWhy does this rhino have two horns instead of one? Because it’s an alien rhino, obviously.

Microsoft is intent on making “Halo Infinite” a game that “Halo” fans love. As such, there will be a way to play early versions of the game and offer feedback. “In the future, you will be able to join early flighting programs that will let members of the community play the game with us, and give direct feedback,” Lee said.

Without a release date or even a release window, it’s not clear how soon that “future” will become present. Given that the game’s debut trailer was intended to demonstrate the software being used to build it, rather than showing gameplay or even something cinematic demonstrating the story, it seems we have at least a year or two to wait.

Check out the full debut trailer right here for “Halo Infinite,” and let us know if you spot anything we didn’t!

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