Halo Infinite Proves the Series’ Future Is Open World

Halo went on a bit of a hiatus after 2015’s disappointing Halo 5: Guardians. When Hello Infinite was finally revealed, fans learned it would be ditching the non-linear levels of Halo games past for an open world. At the time, many were skeptical of this new direction especially when they saw the gameplay reveal. Fortunately, Infinite not only works well in an open world, but it also shows that Halo should stick to this format for all future installments.

Halo has always let gamers play how they want, but they have never been able to fully explore the locations of previous entries. With its open world, Halo Infinite takes the wonder players felt when they first crash-landed on Instillation 04 in the original game and expands that into a massive sci-fi sandbox. 343 Industries’ first open world game creates a truly fantastic sandbox for players, which bodes well for the future Halo titles that follow its formula.

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Anyone who has played a Far Cry game will recognize Infinite‘s map. The world is filled with different missions that Master Chief can tackle in any order. For instance, capturing Forward Operating Bases and eliminating High Value Targets are the main objectives for players to tackle. They play out like mini Halo levels that players can tackle any way they want, and they reward Valor points so players can unlock new weapons, troops, and vehicles. It creates a wonderful feedback loop of capturing a FOB, unlocking a new weapon or vehicle, and utilizing it to capture another FOB.

Future games could greatly expand upon these foundations. Instead of taking on small camps of soldiers at FOBs, players could also take giant bases like the Covenant Spiers or Supercruisers. It would drive home the point that players are a one-man army against the Covenant. Halo is known for featuring a massive set of pieces in its campaigns, and this would give players the opportunity to create their own.

Halo Infinite‘s storytelling is vague at best. It is told mostly through audio logs and dialogue, leaving a ton of room for improvement. 343 could easily take a page out of Breath of the Wild‘s book. With BOTW, Nintendo was able to tell a surprisingly compelling story by leaving it vague, and it rewarded players who explored deeper into the world with more story bits. Future games could keep the story vague, but reveal additionally details and lore as the player completes more objectives. Doing so would allow Halo to continue the epic sci-fi story it is known for while letting players feel like they are making their own stories.

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The crux of Hello Infinite‘s open world is without a doubt the Grappleshot. It is the culmination of the freedom offered by the open world, offering so many options in combat, exploration, and traversal. This should absolutely be a default ability in future games, but Halo needs to introduce more abilities that let the player create a playstyle all their own.

Of course, 343 should create new abilities and experiences with each new game, but they could also bring back classic abilities. There are a ton of abilities from previous Halo games that would be amazing in an open world. While abilities like Sprint, Smart Scope, and Clamber, have all been turned into basic mechanics in Infinite, abilities like the Jet Pack and Hardlight Shield would be incredibly useful if they made a return. Even Armor Lock and the Bubble Shield would allow some interesting gameplay twists.

The open world of Hello Infinite shows that the godfather of shooters can still breathe new life into the genre. 343’s first open world game may not be perfect, but it has so much potential. If Halo manages to stick to the open world, it will be the best last hope for shooters.

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