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These stories might get spoiled during this article. Proceed at your own risk.
My E3 2018 predictions for what the next Halo would be were mostly wrong. But that doesn't stop me from making another set of wild predictions. Halo Infinite will be an open-world (mostly) Halo set on Installation 07, and will release on May 26th, 2020. The game will take place on and around May 27th 2560, and will feature the Master Chief (and friggin' Blue Team darn it), fighting with the remains of the UNSC Infinity's crew to stop Cortana from firing the Halo. Halo Infinite will be the first game in a new trilogy, featuring many of the themes from the first trilogy, including a UNSC back on its heels, the Flood, and imminent annihilation of the human race. The trilogy is going to end with Master Chief sacrificing himself to kill Cortana and save humanity. Humanity will continue, but without their hero.
HOW'D I DO?
In the last Tin Foil Halo, I made my predictions for what I expected to see for the next Halo at E3 2018. I think I did alright in concept, though most of my specific predictions missed the mark. Briefly I am going to go through my E3 predictions and see how each one held up, then I will make some new predictions based on what we learned from the Halo Infinite trailer. Firstly, the E3 predictions.
THE NEXT HALO TITLE WILL BE CALLED "HALO" (MOSTLY WRONG)
Yea, so that was wrong. For the sake of my ego I'll say that I think the idea of the name Halo Infinite was probably done for the same reason, as in Halo Infinite will be the framework around which future campaigns will be structured around, like I predicted for "Halo", but the name of the game is still wrong. I was right about them dropping the number off future Halo games, but since 343 announced this a while back, that isn't exactly a brilliant prediction. I'll get into what I think Halo Infinite will be in more detail in a bit.
THE NEXT HALO WILL BE A GAMES-AS-A-SERVICE MODEL (UNKNOWN)
No idea. My thoughts are that the game is called Halo Infinite because it will be scalable for add-on DLC, but 343 hasn't given us any information one way or the other on this. From the discussions I have read online, I feel like the community is leaning this way also, but only time will tell whether Halo Infinite is truly as infinite as I hope it will be.
THE NEXT HALO WILL INCLUDE ALL CURRENT HALO CAMPAIGNS (PROBABLY WRONG)
This prediction came from 343 changing the name of the team working on the Master Chief Collection from "legacy" to "publishing". I really didn't have any other data to back up this claim, and we didn't get any information during E3 that would support this wild claim, though we technically didn't get any information to refute it either. I'd say that I am leaning much more heavily against the MCC games getting included into Halo Infinite, though only time will tell for sure whether this is correct.
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
So now that we know that most of my E3 predictions were totally wrong, I'm going to briefly cover what was presented to us during the E3 trailer, including the hidden information the community uncovered. Obviously, for those who want to stay spoiler free, there could be spoilers below, though we are still a long ways out from release of Halo Infinite, so avoiding all spoilers for the next two years is going to be pretty tough.
Based on the morse code that can be heard during the Halo Infinite trailer, Infinite will take place on Installation 07, or Zeta Halo. GrimBrotherOne and Ske7ch all but confirmed this during a recent Halo 5 community play day, so I am confident Installation 07 will be the location for Halo Infinite.
Fans involved in the community no doubt know by now that the date shown inside the pelican cockpit is May 27th, 2560, nineteen months after the events of Halo 5: Guardians. I'd be very surprised if 343 threw in this date without it having some reference to the game, so it is very likely that Infinite will take place somewhere around this time period.
Shown to us via the trailer, Halo Infinite seems to be focused on a large open world teeming with wildlife. This isn't exactly definitive or even strongly suggestive, but the 343 site touting the new Slipspace Engine touts the new engine as "Alive with Excitement" and "A living, breathing world ripe for exploration and endless gameplay possibilities." Maybe not concrete evidence for a more open-world game, but I think strongly in favor.
THE ENGINE DEMONSTRATION
What we saw at E3 was a "game engine demonstration", which isn't live gameplay or even in-engine footage. Based on this, and the wording from press releases 343 has been putting out over the past few weeks, a release date of at least late 2019 or 2020 is very likely, possibly released alongside a new xbox console. Either way, this is definitely not a game close to release, so don't start saving up just yet.
THE EVERYTHING ELSE
There is a lot more that was teased out of the Halo Infinite trailer and subsequent press releases, but those aren't really germane to the discussion at hand, so I am not going to cover them here. If you are interested in reading more about everything fans know or think they know about Infinite, check out here, Halo Waypoint forums, or any other Halo community, including the Podcast Evolved community.
WHERE ARE WE GOING?
While there isn't a ton of information regarding the specifics of the Halo Infinite story, there is enough to make wild, baseless speculations that will later be proven horribly wrong. I always like a challenge though, so here it goes.
Assuming Halo Infinite takes place on Installation 07, which is all but confirmed, knowing 343 is changing the art style to something closer to the Bungie-style art, and knowing 343 is trying to design Halo Infinite to be approachable by people who have never played Halo before, I suspect Halo is going to go the soft reboot route. Maybe soft reboot isn't even the right term, but I strongly suspect the story will closely follow Halo: CE in form, if not function as well.
If I had to predict how the Infinite campaign will open, I would guess the opening mission is Master Chief (and maybe Blue Team also?) fighting their way to Captain Lasky on the Infinity, then fighting their way off the ship and into Zeta Halo. As the ship crash-lands onto the surface of the halo, Chief (and also Blue Team? please include Blue Team) finds himself on the Halo surface, fighting to reconnoiter the remaining forces on Infinity. If this sounds a lot like the opening two missions of Halo: CE, that's because it is. From there, the plot is likely more open-ended, though I would not be surprised to be fighting to stop Cortana from firing the Halo, and running into the Flood at some point.
THE RELEASE DATE
There is precedent for 343 setting release dates around the same time of year as the events of the game. Halo 5: Guardians released on October 27th, 2015, and the game took place from the middle of October through October 27th, 2558. I strongly suspect 343 is going to repeat this with Halo Infinite. While Halo has historically been a holiday release title, there has been a growing industry trend to deviate away from releasing every blockbuster around that time period. I've argued before that Halo needs to separate itself from the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield anyway, so I think 343 is going to try and find Halo a new home in the late spring time period. There is strong evidence to support the events of Halo Infinite will take place on and around May 27th, 2560, so I predict Infinite will release around the same time of year. But I am not going to be vague. I predict Halo Infinite will release on the Tuesday after Memorial Day, May 26th, 2020. This is another strong release window for blockbuster games, and Halo Infinite is going to carve out its own niche for itself.
With Halo Infinite going the soft reboot route I suspect it is going, I also suspect we are looking at the start of a new trilogy. Since Halo Infinite is going to be doubling down on a focus on Master Chief (and Blue Team, have I mentioned Blue Team yet?), that means another eight or nine years of Master Chief left. 343 still has to figure out how to make a compelling game without Chief, but eventually they are going to have to end the Master Chief story and switch to another Spartan or part of the universe. But how will 343 end the Master Chief's story arc? By killing him. I have said it before and I will say it again, John-117 will die at the end of this next trilogy. He will be forced to sacrifice himself to stop Cortana and save what is left of humanity. I'm not trying to be inflammatory just to rile up readers. Chief deserves a fitting end, and while John the person doesn't deserve to die, John the character can't be left to retire on Castellaneta. He will go out with a bang.
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