Five Things Halo Infinite Needs To Do In 2022
While fans were hopeful about Halo Infinite, not many could have predicted the dominant return Master Chief would make at the end of 2021. The multiplayer suite blew players away with a joyous amalgamation of pitch-perfect combat and some of the best multiplayer maps the series had seen in a long time. The campaign refocused in scale and featured some of the most emotional character moments we’ve seen from Master Chief and Cortana. Not only that, but 343 Industries opened Zeta Halo to players in ways unheard of in a Halo game, creating a delightful semi-open-world experience that features some of the greatest movement the series has ever seen.
But it wasn’t all perfect. Multiplayer staples such as Slayer and Free For All weren’t included at launch. Forge and cooperative play are still months off. The battle pass system was a complete wreck. But those issues haven’t stopped 343 from iterating and improving on one of 2021’s biggest games, and the studio shows no signs of slowing down. But how will the company build on its momentum in the new year? Here are five ways Halo Infinite can build upon its momentum in 2022. Spoiler warning: we discuss the story implications for a lot of Halo's main characters while keeping actual details vague.
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Streamlining The Menus
It’s funny what playing Call of Duty: Warzone for two years will do to you. The FPS juggernaut is celebrated and maligned for many things. Still, whether or not you like the busy menu screens, it has mastered the art of making the battle pass and cosmetics more accessible to its users, something Halo Infinite desperately needs. There have been plenty of times I’ve gone to the battle pass, wanting to equip my shiny new helmet, only to have to dig through the customization menu and scourer multiple Spartans to find the one new cosmetic item.
As much as I don’t love how cluttered the COD menus can get, I do appreciate seeing my new unlocks marked in a way so I can find them easily. I’d love for this feature to come to Halo so that equipping my new shoulder pad and getting back to the slaying is no longer a hassle. It’s a small change, to be sure, but one that could alleviate a myriad of headaches and allow players to bask in the glow of their new snazzy armor before dirtying it with the blood of their enemies.
Balancing The Old With The New (Maps)
Halo multiplayer always comes with certain expectations for additions to the current iteration, with fans hoping for some of the most iconic maps in multiplayer history to come back into the fold. The same is true with Halo Infinite. Seeing maps such as Lockout, Valhalla, and Blood Gulch would be a tremendous treat for longtime fans, especially with Infinite’s new coat of paint. What’s more tantalizing, though, is the chance to sprint and grapple around these hallowed halls of multiplayer madness. Can you imagine racing up to the top of the base in Beaver Creek, using the grapple shot to snag rockets, and scoring a multi-kill? 343 has a treasure trove of old maps to reintroduce to a new player base, and I’m chomping at the bit to see what they choose.
But while the prospect of playing on familiar battlegrounds excites me, I think for the first time in over a decade, I’m more excited to see what 343 will create from scratch. Halo Infinite includes some of the best maps the series has seen in a long time. Playspaces such as Live Fire, Streets, and Recharge are symbolic of the iconic close quarters combat the series made its name with, and Big Team Battle maps such as Fragmentation walk the perfect balance between scale and keeping players in the fight. It’s abundantly clear that the team at 343 has learned a lot of lessons since taking over the mantle of Master Chief, and I want to see them go all out when it comes to the play spaces that bring out the best of what Halo Infinite’s combat has to offer.
My Kingdom For A Fusion Coil
Speaking of the best of Halo Infinite’s combat, creative game modes have been at the heart of the Halo series, and I’m looking forward to their resurgence in 2022. While this is a series that popularized the mainstay multiplayer modes of the last twenty years, it’s the Grifballs, the infection modes, and more that brought a creative light and a refreshing twist on the iconic suite, something Infinite is lacking as it stands. While I want these game modes featured, I’m more interested in the fresh experiences 343 has up its collective sleeves. The Cyber Showdown event could be a step in this direction, but I also want 343 to take inspiration from another pillar of the Halo Infinite package.
The beauty of the campaign is the exuberant way it pushes you to explore its sandbox, especially regarding equipment usage. The grapple shot isn’t a fleeting resource; it’s a tool to use freely and is one of the highlights of my time on Zeta Halo. I want to see the multiplayer suite reflect that as well. No, I’m not talking about adding a starting grapple shot into Slayer and ranked. Imagine a mode where you can freely use your newfound swinging abilities while being equipped with an unlimited supply of fusion coils. Pure, unadulterated, chaos and I’m here for it. Halo Infinite’s most outstanding quality is its knack for not only understanding the iconic combat dance of the series but adding contemporary layers to make it one of the best multiplayer shooters on the market today. The more it can embrace those pillars, the longer it can hold that claim.
Yeah, But Where's The Arbiter
Halo Infinite’s tale of Master Chief, The Pilot, and The Weapon wonderfully sets up the future of the series. What it also does is leave plenty of room for story exploration that doesn’t involve John and his newfound fight against The Endless, which has me the most excited I’ve been for Halo stories in quite some time. Halo Infinite is a platform, thus a space to expand not only in the multiplayer realm but with more single-player content as well.
If you’ve played the campaign, you’re familiar with the audio logs that are scattered across Zeta Halo that lightly fill in the story between Infinite and the events of Halo 5. The beauty of these peeks and teases is how open-ended they are. We know characters such as The Arbiter, Locke, and more are out there. We just don’t know where they are now. The same can be said for most familiar faces that haven’t been seen since the last fight against Cortana. This ambiguity is exciting not only from a storytelling perspective but a gameplay one as well. The playbook is entirely open for 343. Do they want to tell a more intimate story similar to Halo 3: ODST? Place Captain Lasky on Zeta Halo after the Infinity crashes and tell the tale of his quest to save the UNSC without its most crucial soldier. Do they want to tell a more familiarly bombastic story with new and familiar weapons not found on Zeta Halo? Check-in with Fred, Linda, and Kelly for a more co-op-focused adventure.
Therein lies the beauty of what 343 has been able to accomplish with Halo Infinite’s story. Without spoiling too much of the ending, Halo Infinite’s closing moments make it clear the slate is clean. And while that’s exciting for Chief and company, it’s almost more exciting for the characters around him. It frees up 343 to give arcs and endings to the Bucks, Lockes, and Lasky’s of this world, including or killing off familiar faces as they see fit. AAA video game storytelling can be predictable at times, with every game trying to be a new franchise. 343 has the opportunity to buck that trend and continue what they started with Infinite: Acknowledge the past without being beholden to it.