Microsoft and 343 Industries revealed more about Infinite haloIt’s multiplayer, which will launch as a free-to-play game alongside the paid campaign this holiday. Here are the key takeaways from the in-depth multiplayer overview feed to help you quickly get up to speed with what’s new in the next generation of Halo multiplayer.

Battle passes never expire

Since Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is free to play, it is understandably supported financially by a battle pass system. But unlike games like Fortnite, where a battle pass expires at the end of a season, your battle passes in Halo Infinite never expire. If you’re running out of time before a new Battle Pass becomes available, you can just keep working on your current Battle Pass until it’s completed, or you want to upgrade to a new one.

In addition, you can purchase old battle passes. So if you haven’t played in a while but there were some rewards in a battle pass from a few months ago that you would like to unlock, you can purchase that battle pass and start working on it. You can also choose which battle pass your XP is intended for, so that you work on a battle pass on the weekends and swap it for another for your weekdays games, for example.

Customize your Spartan’s body, voice, weapons, armor and AI assistant

Halo Infinite will have a detailed customization system … well, everything. As we’ve seen before, your armor is highly customizable, with everything from your helmet to the knee pads, for swapping and reshading. But there’s also a solid suite of customization options for your Spartan player character, with the ability to choose your body type, voice, and prosthetic limbs. Combine that with customizing weapons and vehicles, and there are plenty of ways you can make your Spartan and his gear reflect who you are.

In addition, you can also select your Spartan’s AI assistant. Much like Chief and Cortana, you’ll choose an AI and plug it into your headset. This AI will then be the voice of the announcer in Halo Infinite matches. This means that you can customize the voice through which you learn all vital game information as you play.

Importantly, each customization option will be unlocked through gameplay. This could be done through free events – the samurai armor design you saw in the last trailer will be free to unlock through one of these events – or through the battle pass. There are no loot boxes and no random rewards.

Halo Infinite Multiplayer Gameplay Trailer – E3 2021

The Training Academy

343 Industries has built a Training Academy, designed for new and veteran Halo players. For beginners, this is a place to jump in, with tutorials that explain how to play and introduce you to the language and lexicon of the games and the Halo universe. For series veterans and those deeper into their Infinite careers, the Academy can be used as a warm-up exercise before jumping into battle with real players. It will feature weapon drills and other training modes to help you hone your skills and your shooting game.

This means that, yes, Halo Infinite has AI bots, and they will be available with a variety of difficulty settings to help players anywhere on the Halo skill curve. For training, that means you can increase bot intelligence and aggression as you start to improve and outperform your current AI opponents.

Vehicle and weapons depots

A key part of Halo multiplayer is cleanup, with each player starting on the same footing and then searching the map for better weapons. These are often found in predictable locations, and the larger toys – AKA vehicles – are available at the spawn base. Halo Infinite obeys the classic Halo scavenger rule, but adds a new layer to how weapons and vehicles can be found.

Some weapons will now be fired at the map via pods from above, crashing to the ground like they did in Halo 2. You better run towards those and grab what’s there. inside, because there is no doubt that this forced landing did not go unnoticed by enemies. Vehicles, meanwhile, will periodically be deployed to the map via a nose-down pelican – your commander will notify you through communications – so there’s no need to stay at base while waiting for a Scorpion to spawn.

New vehicles, new driving mechanics

As with so many Halo games, Halo Infinite will introduce us to a new vehicle: the Razorback. This “cousin” of the classic Warthog has a storage compartment in the back instead of a turret, and can be used to carry light weapons, detached turrets, fusion coils, or even objectives. Essentially, it’s the SUV of the Halo universe.

Along with the new Razorback, there is a new damage model for vehicles. Damage can cause components like the wheels and hood to blow up, changing the way vehicles behave. Eventually, after taking enough damage, a vehicle will reach an “apocalypse” threshold, where fire will burst from the engine and you will have little time before it explodes. This adds a little choice of player to the final moments of a vehicle; bail out now, or keep driving and hopefully do some damage before stepping out in a burst of glory.

Equipment inventory

Gear like overshields and active camouflage have been a mainstay of Halo for several games now, but Infinite is remixing the way we use them. When you collect them, they go into your inventory, and it’s your choice when you activate it. If you get killed you drop the equipment with your weapons, which means your opponent can then grab your equipment and use it for themselves.

Being able to choose when to trigger things like active camouflage is tied to the 343’s objectives for tactical play; the stream emphasizes the combinations of ‘toys’ in Halo’s sandbox-style maps, and so being able to hold onto the gear means you can use it at exactly the right time, and potentially in combination with the equipment of another player.

Halo Infinite multiplayer is free on PC and Xbox, with cross-progression and cross-play between systems. It will be available from this holiday. To find out more, do not forget to consult the official multiplayer unveiling and all the rest of the Xbox and Bethesda E3 2021 Showcase.

Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK news and entertainment editor.

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