How to prepare for Halo Infinite

A new teaser for the next Halo game is lighting up Twitter. It's got CNET editors arguing about the importance of the legendary franchise.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
4 min read

Remember Master Chief, the faceless, seminameless protagonist of the long-running Halo series of first-person shooters? (How long-running? It was a launch game for the original Xbox in 2001!) Well, a new teaser trailer posted on the official Halo Twitter account is dropping some hints about Halo Infinite, which is expected in time for the holiday season this year

In the clip, we hear a transmission, supposedly from a faction in the game's lore called The Banished, who will presumably play a big role in the upcoming game. Of course, to get up to speed on the Halo universe and backstory, you'll need to have played every previous Halo game. Or will you? This question kicked off a lively debate between several CNET editors on Slack about which are the best Halo games you should make sure to go back and play before the newest one.

Below is a lightly edited transcript of our Halo history debate. 

Dan Ackerman (Senior Managing Editor, CNET Computers and Gaming)
I'm generally over Halo at this point, but open to being convinced. 

Sean Keane (Reporter)
It feels like a '00s relic. But they all play magnificently, I'll give them that!

Oscar Gonzalez (Staff Reporter)
I'm in and I haven't played Halo since Halo 4. Speaking of which, I should probably download those from [Xbox] Game Pass.

Joshua Mobley (Associate Content Strategist) 
Halo 5 multiplayer is very good. Also Master Chief collection is very good.

Sean Booker (Video Producer)  
To get ready for Halo Infinite, probably just playing Halo 4 and 5 would be fine, since that's the new trilogy. I barely remember moments from any of them but 4 has that cool level where you're fighting down the side of a ship with like magnet boots or something.  

Eric Franklin (Senior Managing Editor, CNET Mobile)  
i never finished Halo 4 or 5 and never played [Halo] ODST, but this little teaser gets me VERY excited.

Sean Booker 
ODST is the best Halo.

Oscar Gonzalez
I'm more of a Halo Reach guy.

Joshua Mobley
ODST is still awesome.

Eric Franklin
Yeah, Reach and Halo 2 are probably my faves.

Sean Booker
Halo 2 is the only Halo I haven't finished.

Sean Keane
I loved Reach, it was the last one I played.

Joshua Mobley
I agree, Oscar. I'm a bigger fan of Reach, but I'd still say Halo 2 is still my all-around favorite. Lot of nostalgia tied into that. And the writing is a lot better than most people remember.

Eric Franklin
Now I just need to finish like five Halo games before Infinite comes out.

Lori Grunin (Senior Editor)
All of the Halo games are the only Halo I haven't finished.

Joshua Mobley
Honestly, it's probably way too much of a slog to play all those games, you might as well watch some videos.

Eric Franklin
I've finished Halo 1, 2, 3 and Reach. Played half of 4 and a quarter of 5. I want to play ODST and the Halo Wars [real-time strategy] games.

Joshua Mobley
Halo Wars 1 is a little rough, but Halo Wars 2 is very good.

Oscar Gonzalez  
Good to know. Halo Wars was just so meh.

Joshua Mobley
At the time I really loved it, but when I returned to it for a Halo work marathon I remember finding it frustrating. But then Halo Wars 2 came out shortly after and it felt much better.

Eric Franklin
I started playing Halo Wars 2 last night on PC. Luckily it has Play Anywhere so maybe I can actually finish it soonish.

Oscar Gonzalez 
Thanks for the reminder. I'll grab it on PC instead of trying to play with a controller on the Xbox.

Roget Cheng (Executive Editor, CNET News)
I probably spent the most time on Halo 2 and Halo Reach (pre-kids!). Halo 4 was just okay, with a few creative levels, while Halo 5 was kinda terrible and reverted back to the split storyline that irked people back with Halo 2.  As for prepping for Halo Infinite, I'd agree that Halo 4 and 5 are likely required playing, but 343 Industries started building out the universe with little Easter Eggs in the game and an array of multimedia. It's difficult to get a handle on the full story unless you're an obsessive fan with lots of time and money on your hands. My ultimate recommendation: Screw the story and just enjoy the Halo Infinite ride.

Dan Ackerman
One of my fondest gaming memories is playing the prerelease version of Halo 3 during the course of a single day -- we had different people coming into and out of my apartment at the time, plus people jumping in online, and we raced through it, the last few levels were insane, and everyone was cheering and screaming into their headsets as we drove across some collapsing base or something. Really a high watermark for co-op Halo.

More about Halo Infinite is expected at Microsoft's next Xbox news event in July. The upcoming Xbox Series X console is due this holiday season too. Read more about Halo Infinite at our sister site GameSpot.