E3: Halo Infinite coming to Microsoft's Xbox Project Scarlett for holiday 2020 launch
Master Chief is suiting up for another battle on Microsoft's new console, along with Xbox One and PC, the company revealed at its E3 2019 press conference.
Ian SherrFormer Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
The company also revealed that it'd be a launch title for its Project Scarlett next-gen Xbox console, coming out holiday 2020, from developer 343 Industries. It'll also hit Xbox One and PC, Microsoft noted in a blog post, and will be powered by the new Slipspace Engine.
The Discover Hope trailer shows an unnamed pilot, who seems to have lost his family based on his reaction to a cute hologram, discovering Master Chief floating in the void of space. His iconic armor has apparently gone into survival mode, so the pilot has to shock our hero to reactivate him. Despite this, the pilot then tells the Chief humanity lost, and they're forced back into action as an unseen enemy attacks.
"I chose you because you were special. I knew we'd be perfect together," says Cortana, Master Chief's AI buddy, in a voiceover "And I was right."
The company confirmed in its blog that the game "will continue the continuity of Halo 5," noted that it'll have some kind of beta, and that we can expect its "big moment" at E3 2020.
previously teased the new game at the company's annual press conference at
2018 in Los Angeles, the world's largest gaming show. We didn't get to learn much about the game, except that it would continue the saga of Master Chief, the human super soldier who's been saving the galaxy for two decades.
Look, Halo is as much about shooting aliens as it is about this guy in a green battle suit whose face we've kinda never seen. He's called Master Chief, or John-117, and you largely play as him throughout the series.
His story is the tragic tale of being kidnapped from his parents, experimented on by the government at a young age, turned into a super soldier through a questionably legal Spartan II military program and then let loose on the galaxy. Pretty much everyone in the game respects him in part because he always gets the job done.
If you think that sounds eerily similar to Captain America, just shush and let me play my game.
To make the story even more modern and tragic, Master Chief's best friend is an AI named Cortana, who is often depicted as a computer-code-covered scantily clad woman. She keeps him company and helps push the plot forward during missions by asking questions out loud and suggesting new things to do. She's so useful, Microsoft named its voice assistant that competes with
, Alexa and Google after her.
As with any good and loving sidekick, Cortana turned evil in the most recent game, 2015's Halo 5: Guardians. She appears to be back in Halo Infinite, but we don't know what kind of role she'll play.
Look, catching you up on the crazy intricate storylines is near impossible. There is just so much Halo out there from the games, not to mention the novels, TV specials, comic books and whatever else.
At its most basic, Halo is a game about you against the universe protecting humanity at all costs.
OK, so what's a Halo?
Halo gets its name from a weird alien device found in the first game. It's a massive floating space ring large enough to explore for hours on end. It has beaches, forests, snow and everything else you'd expect on a real planet.
There are seven of them scattered around the galaxy but, lucky you, somehow you keep encountering them.
The Halo rings were created by an ancient race known as the Forerunners, and placed around the galaxy thousands of years ago. Together, all the Halo rings have the power to wipe out life in the universe.
Why destroy everything?
These rings are a last resort to combat a dangerous zombie-like menace called the Flood. According to the game's lore, the Forerunners actually activated the Halos hundreds of thousands of years ago, wiping out all life in the galaxy -- including the Forerunners themselves. But, surprise! Neither the Forerunners or the Flood really died though, and now you have to deal with them.
One of the key things about Halo is its multiplayer aspect. In its review of Halo 5: Guardians, CNET sister site GameSpot made a point of saying the Halo's multiplayer was the best it's ever been in the last installment, even if the game's main story was somewhat lacking.
"The franchise's multiplayer is at its peak, with a mode I'm sure I'll return to several times over," GameSpot wrote at the time. "In some ways, Halo 5 is the boldest Halo yet."
You wrote an entire article about Halo and didn't mention the Covenant?
It's hard to believe, but the race of aliens whose war with humanity at the beginning of the series helped make Halo a household name have become sort of background characters in the most recent games. Their weapons and vehicles are cool though, and flying around in a Banshee is probably still one my favorite things to do in a game.
This sounds interesting. When can I play?
Holiday 2020, along with Microsoft's next-gen Xbox. But, like Master Chief hanging on by a thread in a cliffhanger ending, we'll just have to wait for an exact date.
First published May 31 at 5 a.m. PT.
Update, June 9, 2:43 p.m. PT: Adds details from Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference.