We now know that there's quite a wait yet for Halo Infinite to arrive this autumn, but 343 Industries have committed to filling that time with regular blog post chats from developers. This month they've rounded up a crew to talk about what makes Infinite a "spiritual reboot" of earlier Halo games. They've also snuck in a cheeky defense of the grappleshot.
In this month's Inside Infinite, campaign art lead Justin Dinges says that 343's art direction is focused on themes of "legacy" and "simplicity".
"We really want players to feel like they are experiencing a game that they remember fondly (Halo: Combat Evolved), but with modernized graphics of course," Dinges says. "Another good example is how we have taken the visual design of the Jackals and Grunts back closer to their appearance in Halo 3 and previous titles. We want players to feel a nostalgic familiarity with these designs, like meeting up with an old friend, as they experience all that Halo Infinite has to offer."
On the subject of simplicity, Dinges says the team's takeaway from Halo 5 was to steer away from "noisy" designs and head towards an artistic interpretation of the world rather than photo realism.
Gameplay director Troy Mashburn explains that "spiritual reboot" is also a concept that 343 have used to guide inclusion of new things like the grappleshot.
I've not done any serious Spartan-ing since Halo 3, and even I couldn't help thinking "really? why?" when the grappleshot was revealed. We're just going to have to trust 343 on this one, it sounds, because all three of this month's participants showed up to sing its praises.
"If you are a fan of using melee, like I am, you are going to love grappling towards enemies to land that powerful knockout blow. Sooo satisfying," Mashburn says. It will also let you reach all sorts of locations you wouldn't have been able to in past games, Dinges adds, which will open up neat vantage points. World design lead John Mulkey says that the grappleshot itself is fun, and so is combining it with other pieces of equipment that have their own functions. "I cannot wait to see the YouTube videos people share showing off moves we never even imagined."
Alright, fine. I'll reserve judgement on the grappleshot a bit longer.
As they approach launch this autumn, Dinges and Mashburn say that their teams are focusing on bug fixing, polish, and addressing user feedback from internal playtesting.
As ever, this month's Inside Infinite is pretty chunky, so there's plenty more from all three developers if you're in the mood for a read.