With A Mystery Halo Infinite Mode Reportedly Coming, Let's Look At What It Could Be
A new mode is reportedly on the way for Halo Infinite. Here's what we think the studio could be up to.
Certain Affinity, the Texas-based developer which has worked as a support studio on previous Halo and Call of Duty games, is rumored to be working on a new multiplayer mode for Halo Infinite. The rumor emerged as an off-handed tidbit in a Windows Central article primarily concerned with the reports that Certain Affinity is also developing a Monster Hunter-inspired game for Microsoft, which would most likely be drawing many of the studio's resources and personnel. But, for Halo Infinite fans hungry for new content, the prospect of a new mode is tantalizing.
So, if we accept that Certain Affinity is, indeed, working on something for Halo Infinite, the pressing question then becomes: What is it?
Obviously, we can't say for sure yet. But there are a few possibilities worth considering, including modes that have been included in previous Halo games and those that have gained popularity outside the bounds of Microsoft's shooter series.
Halo Battle Royale?
Prior to release, rumors swirled that Halo Infinite would include a battle royale mode. Given that Halo had struggled to regain cultural dominance since original developer Bungie handed the stewardship of the franchise to 343, it seemed likely that the aging shooter could get an injection of relevance by hopping on the trend popularized by games like PUBG and Fortnite. But, as far back as 2018, 343 quashed battle royale rumors, with series writer Jeff Easterling saying, "I'll tell you right now, the only BR we're interested in is Battle Rifle." More recently, when rumors resurfaced in 2020, Halo community director Brian Jarrard again denied them, obliquely tweeting, "Nothing gets a post-holiday Monday going like fresh unfounded Halo Infinite rumors." Rumors have swirled for years and were exacerbated last year when an audio file of someone who sounded an awful lot like series announcer Jeff Steitzer saying the phrase "battle royale." So far, though, those rumors have continued to seem unfounded. Halo Infinite has been out since November and, still, no battle royale.
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In fact, far from introducing a big new mode, Halo Infinite shipped without some of the modes series fans have come to expect, including campaign co-op and the popular map editor, Forge. Cutting those mainstays seems to have been necessary to get the game out the door, as Infinite was delayed out of its initial holiday 2020 launch window. But, a year later, Infinite launched to critical acclaim and the biggest launch numbers the series has ever seen. In short, conditions have changed, and while rumors that Halo Infinite would have a BR mode may have been unfounded in November 2020, when the team was struggling to finish the game, they may deserve a second look now that the game is out and successful.
Prior to the start of the current Cyber Showdown event, there was some speculation that Attrition, a new mode that accompanied the event, would be a battle royale. It isn't, but it does have some DNA in common with the popular mode. Teams share a set number of respawns when the match begins, and the match lasts only as long as those lives remain. Attrition also implements a shrinking map, a common feature of battle royale games, but it only comes into play once a match has gone on for too long. Overall, Attrition feels like a half-step toward a battle royale mode and may be 343's way of testing the mechanics and gauging interest before taking the plunge.
Returning to Halo
Given that players are still waiting on the return of classic Halo modes like campaign co-op and Forge, it seems possible that Certain Affinity could be working to help 343 get those modes across the finish line. However, there are other modes from Halo's history that have not been confirmed for inclusion in Infinite that Certain Affinity could also be spearheading. For example, Firefight, a cooperative Horde-style mode introduced in Halo 3: ODST, which pitted players against endless waves of Covenant enemies, has not yet been implemented into Infinite. Players can still access it via Halo: The Master Chief Collection but, given that Infinite has a substantially larger player base, fans would likely be overjoyed at the opportunity to play there instead.
Another returning mode could be Warzone. Not to be confused with Call of Duty's battle royale of the same name, Warzone is a MOBA-like mode introduced in Halo 5: Spartans. Warzone features two teams of 12 players and pits them against AI opponents on massive maps. Given that both Warzone and a battle royale mode would likely feature larger maps than anything currently in Halo Infinite, it seems possible that a map designed for one could do double duty in the other and that the two modes could be developed simultaneously. It is worth noting that Warzone wasn't particularly well-received back in 2015, so 343 and Certain Affinity may not be eager to revisit it.
Something completely different
There are a host of other possibilities, too, that don't have any precedent in the history of the franchise. Fortnite has been incredibly influential as a battle royale, but it's also notable for its implementation of Party Royale, a laid back social space where players can hang out with friends and play minigames without having to worry about the competition that accompanies the more traditional modes. If Microsoft wants Halo Infinite to continue to compete in the current multiplayer landscape, it may be eyeing ways to evolve the game as a social space. Alternatively, we could see a Halo Infinite mode more in line with the tactical team-based experience of Counter-Strike and Rainbow Six Siege, or a mode that draws on the character abilities of shooters like Overwatch, Apex Legends, and Valorant. There are numerous avenues Certain Affinity and 343 could explore, including many that we haven't even considered.
As of right now, this is just speculation. All we know is that reports point to Certain Affinity working on a new mode for Halo Infinite. However, given how popular the game is--and how much it could use additional content--there's no doubt that the fanbase is eagerly anticipating word on whatever is next.
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