Halo Infinite is, at its core, a bit of a contradiction. On one hand, it’s a back-to-basics for the Halo series, returning pretty much everything to the basic status quo of the first Halo game. After experimenting with various different formats for the series, developer 343 Industries referred heavily back to Bungie’s original in attempting to craft a new, definitive Halo experience. Some of these changes are more obvious – like a hand-brake turn away from newer enemies to a new faction that’s functionally identical to the old-school Covenant. Other returns to the source are more subtle, like in a subtle resetting of the narrative status quo.
There’s a second side to Infinite, however – and that’s where the contradiction creeps in. While deeply traditional and dedicated to restoring Halo’s core, it’s also a highly experimental entry in the series. Its new ideas about open-ended play are very different to anything the series had attempted before – and yet, these new ideas had to mesh with Halo’s classic ‘golden triangle’ of guns, grenades, and melee to create something new that is still undeniably in possession of the series’ greatest hits.
“We had this same initial thought, y’know ‘Ahh – are we breaking Halo?’,” admits Halo Infinite Character Director Steve Dyck, when I mention my initial concern about hearing of Infinite’s open world ambitions.