The next Halo game is on its way, so prepare for big explosions, alien planets and sweeping dramatic music sung by enormous male choirs.
Microsoft teased the new game, Halo Infinite, at the company’s annual press conference at E3 2018 in Los Angeles, the world’s largest gaming show. We didn’t get to learn much about the game, except that it would continue the saga of Master Chief, the human super soldier who’s been saving the galaxy for two decades.
Halo is one of the most successful game franchises ever made, selling over 65 million copies and grossing more than $3 billion. It was originally developed by Bungie, which has ties going back to Steve Jobs and Apple. But now the series is helmed by Microsoft’s own 343 Industries, and its latest installment is on the horizon.
The company hasn’t said when it’s coming or offered many details. But here’s what we know so far.
Look, Halo is as much about shooting aliens as it is about this guy in a green battle suit whose face we’ve kinda never seen. He’s called Master Chief, or John-117, and you largely play as him throughout the series.
His story is the tragic tale of being kidnapped from his parents, experimented on by the government at a young age, turned into a super soldier through a questionably legal “Spartan II” military program and then let loose on the galaxy. Pretty much everyone in the game respects him in part because he always gets the job done.
If you think that sounds eerily similar to Captain America, just shush and let me play my game.
To make the story even more modern and tragic, Master Chief’s best friend is an AI named Cortana, who is often depicted as a computer-code-covered scantily clad woman. She keeps him company and helps push the plot forward during missions by asking questions out loud and suggesting new things to do. She’s so useful,that competes with Siri, Alexa and Google after her.
As with any good and loving sidekick, Cortana turned evil in the most recent game, 2015’s Halo 5: Guardians.
Look, catching you up on the crazy intricate storylines is near impossible. There is just so much Halo out there from the games, not to mention the novels, TV specials, comic books and whatever else.
At its most basic, Halo is a game about you against the universe protecting humanity at all costs.
OK, so what’s a Halo?
Halo gets its name from a weird alien device found in the first game. It’s a massive floating space ring large enough to explore for hours on end. It has beaches, forests, snow and everything else you’d expect on a real planet.
There are seven of them scattered around the galaxy but, lucky you, somehow you keep encountering them.
The Halo rings were created by an ancient race known as the Forerunners, and placed around the galaxy thousands of years ago. Together, all the Halo rings have the power to wipe out life in the universe.
Why destroy everything?
These rings are a last resort to combat a dangerous zombie-like menace called the Flood. According to the game’s lore, the Forerunners actually activated the Halos hundreds of thousands of years ago, wiping out all life in the galaxy — including the Forerunners themselves. But, surprise! Neither the Forerunners or the Flood really died though, and now you have to deal with them.
Wow, this is complicated
What do you expect from a multibillion-dollar franchise that’s spanned two decades? It’s not as if the Marvel Cinematic Universe is.
Why is it called Halo Infinite and not Halo 6?
This lack of a number is actually a big hint about what the game might be. Halo’s previous big non-number game, 2010’s Halo: Reach, was a prequel. But this time Master Chief is in the teaser, so it’s likely this game may be different somehow.
Maybe it’ll be a live-service game like Anthem, the action adventure game from Electronic Arts, or Ubisoft’s post-apocalyptic shooter Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, or Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic exploration game Fallout 76, or Microsoft’s cartoonish pirate game Sea of Thieves.
Or maybe Microsoft just got tired of using numbers all the time.
What about Red vs. Blue?
Nerd point to you. The tongue-in-cheek web series about the lives of Halo’s other Master Chief-looking super-soldiers isn’t the official cannon, but it’s still going strong.
Halo Infinite will be on Xbox and Windows PCs
One big thing we know is that. This is big news for Halo fans, as until recently, almost all Halo games were only available on the Xbox. But earlier this year, Microsoft said it would begin releasing Halo games on the PC as well, as part of its .
Wait, what about multiplayer?
One of the key things about Halo is its multiplayer aspect. In its review of Halo 5: Guardians, CNET sister site GameSpot made a point of saying the Halo’s multiplayer was the best it’s ever been in the last installment, even if the game’s main story was somewhat lacking.
“The franchise’s multiplayer is at its peak, with a mode I’m sure I’ll return to several times over,” GameSpot wrote at the time. “In some ways, Halo 5 is the boldest Halo yet.”
You wrote an entire article about Halo and didn’t mention the Covenant?
It’s hard to believe, but the race of aliens whose war with humanity at the beginning of the series helped make Halo a household name have become sort of background characters in the most recent games. Their weapons and vehicles are cool though, and flying around in a Banshee is probably still one my favorite things to do in a game.
This sounds interesting. When can I play?
Microsoft hasn’t said. Expectations are that it might launch next year as part of Microsoft’s upcoming. But, like Master Chief hanging on by a thread in a cliffhanger ending, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Microsoft will likely say more at its, at the .
First published May 31 at 5 a.m. PT.
Update, 8:12 a.m. PT: Adds details about launch date, or lack thereof.