In Depth

Halo Infinite: new features, microtransactions and release

It’s one of the most exciting games set to appear at this year’s E3 event in Los Angeles – and rumours are spreading thick and fast

There’s less than a month to go before Halo Infinite, one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the year, takes to the stage at the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) in the US. 

The event, which runs from 11 to 13 June at the Los Angeles Convention Centre, plays host to some of the biggest game launches of the year and Halo Infinite is on course to be a headline title.

A trailer previewing the 343-developed game was shown during Microsoft’s keynote at the event last year, but the short clip had no gameplay footage. 

As a result rumours are spreading fast ahead of this year’s games expo. 

Here’s everything we know so far about Halo Infinite:

When will it be out?

There’s no official word yet.

But the tech news site Game Rant says that users on the NeoGaf chat forum predict that Halo Infinite will launch in 2020, just in time for Christmas.

This suggests the game will launch on both the Xbox One and Microsoft’s next console, commonly referred to as Xbox “Scarlett”, which is expected to be announced at this year’s E3.

What are the game’s new features?

Details about Halo Infinite’s story and features are thin on the ground.

In an interview with IGN in March, 343 boss Bonnie Ross said that Infinite would be a “spiritual reboot” for the popular Halo series. 

Although she didn’t reveal anything about the game’s story, she stressed that the studio had learnt from the mistakes it had made with its previous games. 

Ross said that the game would be about “hope, and wonder, and heroism, and humanity, and community, and bringing a community together.”

What we do know is that the game will see the return of the Master Chief, the hero in all the main Halo games. He will have a slightly new look in Infinite, says the gaming news site PCGamer

The website also says that players will be able to fight against other players both online and through splitscreen multiplayer where up to four people compete against each other using the same screen. 

But don’t expect a Battle Royale-inspired mode where players fight against each other in a vast open world until only one person is left standing. 

Frank O’Connor, the head of the Halo franchise, quashed the rumour on the chat forum Resetera, but said that players could probably make their own Battle Royale mode in the game’s Forge map creator.

Will it have microtransactions?

Yes, the game will support microtransactions – a system that allows players to buy items in a given game with real-world money. 

In September, Gamespot reported a job listing at the developer 343 where the successful candidate would oversee “social and engagement features that encourage players to return again and again with their friends”, including microtransactions. 

We don’t yet know how 343 intends to implement the system into the new game. But judging by microtransaction systems in recent online multiplayer games, such as Fallout 76 and Fortnite, Halo Infinite players may be able to use real-world money to buy new character outfits and weapon designs. 

The game won’t, however, feature loot boxes (virtual treasure chests containing random in-game items) that can be purchased with real-world money. 

Loot boxes have been heavily criticised since 2017’s Star Wars Battlefront II. Prior to the game’s release, reviewers discovered that players could pay real-world money to buy them and unlock special in-game abilities, giving a competitive edge to people who spent more. 

The game has since been updated so that players can only buy loot boxes to obtain random outfits, but they remain a controversial topic that has prompted law makers across the world to question whether they’re a form of gambling. 

But 343’s studio chief, Chris Lee, told his followers on Twitter that Halo Infinite would not include real-money loot boxes. This should come as a relief to many fans.  

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