Halo Infinite Online Campaign Co-Op Test Begins In July, Here's How To Sign Up And Everything We Know
But still no word on local couch co-op.
Halo Infinite is finally adding campaign co-op next month, developer 343 Industries announced today. This will begin with a early test, or "flight," that will run starting the week of July 15.
Microsoft is only testing online campaign co-op, so fans hoping to play split-screen co-op locally still have to wait for an undetermined point in the future for that. 343 had always said it would hold a test for online campaign co-op in July, but this is the first time it's being officially dated for the public.
Players need to sign up for the free and open Halo Insider program to get into the flight. The test is part of a separate version of Halo Infinite, so any progress you've already made in Halo Infinite's campaign will not be applied in the network co-op test, nor will any progress you make in the test move with you to any existing campaign save you may have already.
Some Halo fans were bummed to learn Halo Infinite would launch without campaign co-op, and lead world designer John Mulkey said Halo Infinite's open-world nature created "many new questions" for the team.
"How do we set up a shared world state? How do we keep the Fireteam together? How do we determine intent and mission focus? How do we prevent sequence breaking the narrative?" Mulkey said.
343 created "Area-Of-Operations" which is a maximum distance that players in a group can move apart from each other. "If you stray too far from your Fireteam, you will get a warning to return to the team. If you ignore that warning and continue, you will be killed for going AWOL and be spawned back on your nearest teammate," 343 said.
Players will be warned when they stray 800 feet from another player and they will be killed when they hit 1000 feet. "It's an interesting balance to strike because we want players to have the fun of fighting together but we also don't want it to feel like the game is forcing you to be joined at the hip, so to speak," principal software engineering lead Isaac Bender said.
"To give you an idea of that scale in-game: if two of you want to hit a really big objective like the Banished dig site, the AOO will definitely allow you to tackle an objective of that size from opposite sides with room to spare," Bender added.
Halo Infinite's online campaign co-op will let players retain cooperative campaign saves, or individual isolated co-op saves.
"I've played a number of co-op games where 'Player 2's progress essentially doesn't count, and I've always found that disappointing," Bender said.
All progress in Halo Infinite's campaign, whether you play alone or in co-op, will be retained and saved to your profile. "I could be playing Solo campaign, jump into a Co-Op session for a few hours, then launch back into Solo play and all the mission progress, acquired collectibles, equipment found, achievements earned, and upgrades made in either session would be intact. Gone are the days of playing someone else's game while earning no progress," Mulkey said.
343 also confirmed that the co-op experience will be the same no matter what platform you're playing on, whether that be Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, or streaming. Cross-play is supported, and any combination of PCs and Xboxes for up to four players at a time will work. Additionally, all co-op games take place on dedicated servers.
From within Halo Infinite's multiplayer menu, players can form a fireteam and select "Start Co-Op" to get started. 343 also clarified that everyone in a group plays as Master Chief.
As for upgrades and cores, these are tracked individually. If anyone in a group grabs a core in co-op, anyone in the group who didn't already have it will get credit. Cores can be spent independently, and core counts and upgrades will apply to each individual soldier.
"This means that you get the benefits of working together, but you also have the room for self-expression with your personal playstyle," Bender said. "If one of you wants to focus on upgrading your Drop Wall to protect yourself while your partner gets the Grappleshot melee upgrade to charge into the enemies’ ranks, you can do that."
343 also confirmed that a new Mission Replay feature is coming to Halo Infinite alongside the online campaign co-op update. "The more open nature of Infinite poses new creative challenges that did not exist when missions were broken up into their own discreet levels. You could simply reload that level and replay it," Mulkey said. "In Infinite, missions are locations in a much larger playspace of other mission locations. We are leaning on the Tac-Map as your gateway to interacting with individual missions."
With the update, players can open their own tac-map and select a completed mission, and then select "Replay." Players will be asked to select a difficulty level and if they want to activate any Skulls.
"Setting a mission to replay resets it and teleports you (and your fireteam) to the location to tackle the challenge. You are free to wander off to do something else, Fast Travel away, or resume your furthest main mission," 343 said.
Additionally, any upgrades earned during later missions will apply to earlier missions, and Mulkey said the team is excited to see how players use later-level skills and upgrades in early missions.
In other Halo news, Halo: The Master Chief Collection might be adding microtransactions soon.
The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.