“SOS ZETA HALO GRID.”
With this distress signal, Halo Infinite situates its story on the last remaining Halo ring. While 343 has kept silent about the story and gameplay thus far, we know that at the very least we’ll spend a lot more time with series protagonist Master Chief this time around, as he faces down Cortana’s Guardian invasion.
“In Halo Infinite, the game will focus on the Master Chief and continue his saga after the events of Halo 5,” said 343 Industries studio head Chris Lee. That emphasis on the iconic space marine comes directly from fan feedback about the dual protagonists of Halo 5: “The team also heard feedback loud and clear on the amount of time spent playing as the Master Chief in Halo 5,” Lee wrote. The focus on Chief has extended to tie-in material as well, with Silent Storm, a novel focused on the Chief, coming out on Sept. 4, 2018.
Meanwhile, Halo 5 and the tie-in novels have left us with plenty of questions that might connect to Chief’s story in Halo Infinite …
What Is Installation 07?
Speaking of the Halo ring, that iconic landscape in the trailer is from Installation 07, the only Halo ring left out of the original network of superweapons. In the in-universe story, the Halo rings were built to prevent the spread of the Flood parasite but were gradually destroyed in galactic conflict.
In terms of marketing, there’s no better way to indicate that Halo is back. With 343 returning to the brightly colored, smooth look of the original Halo trilogy, the horizon stretching up into a ring around the world is sure to be an integral part of the new game. After all, the unique setting is what brought a lot of fans on board in the first place, along with the gunplay and well-managed multiplayer. At the present moment in the timeline, Installation 07 is the site of a joint UNSC-Elite mission to make sure a Flood outbreak doesn’t recur.
What Does Cortana’s Invasion Mean for Humanity?
The biggest shock in Halo 5: Guardians was Cortana’s return from the grave to take over the universe. The Master Chief fought the Covenant and the Forerunners with the help of his AI partner for the first four main Halo games. Master Chief was unable to come to terms with Cortana’s plan for galactic domination in Halo 5, but now he’s witnessed the damage she’s caused, as her Guardian army invades Earth. It would follow for Master Chief’s quest in Halo Infinite to have something to do with talking her down.
In the novel Halo: New Blood, we learn that Cortana “took Earth offline,” and various other tie-in stories talk about the havoc the robotic Guardians have created under Cortana’s command. Might Infinite include some missions on Earth as well as on the ring installation? Capturing Cortana still seems like the most imminent task for humanity in the new era of Halo. Maybe a mission related to that will lead players back to our planet.
How Does the Chief Feel About It?
The plot of Halo Infinite looks like it will involve a new conflict on the surface of Installation 07, but the connection between Chief and Cortana is still the most significant emotional story in the saga. Don’t expect Chief to emote too much, but hopefully, the game will establish something about his response to the news that his companion is deathly serious about her plan to mobilize the galaxy’s AI against their makers. It’s also possible that the story might move away from the plot set up in Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, bypassing the story of Cortana and the alien Precursors for something more in the vein of Halo: CE’s human vs. alien war.
What Happened to Blue Team?
The Master Chief’s brothers and sisters in arms had a major role in Halo 5, but it isn’t clear whether they will be returning for Infinite. Halo 5’s campaign co-op allowed people to play as all four members of Blue Team, but it was sometimes dodgy, with characters who were supposed to heal the player just as often dying in the line of fire.
The squad of soldiers we saw in the first trailer doesn’t seem to include Blue Team, so maybe they don’t return. Chief and groups of marines would be a return to the original game’s mold. Blue Team have been around in the expanded universe material since the very beginning, though, so some explanation for their absence can be expected if they aren’t in the game proper.
Does Doctor Halsey Have a Plan?
The creator of the Spartan program has been many things over the years, from mother figure to war criminal to a rebel affiliated with the Elites. Now, she is missing one arm and reunited with the UNSC. There are several possible ways she could be involved with a plot focused on the Master Chief: as Cortana’s creator, she might have a way to stop her. She might have been involved with the creation of a new AI partner for Chief, as was seen at the very end of the Halo Infinite trailer.
What Happened to Fireteam Osiris?
Jameson Locke was set up in Halo 5 to be a foil to the Master Chief, but it looks like 343 is moving away from his story to focus on Chief. Locke and Fireteam Osiris are still out there, though. Hopefully, there will be some kind of closure for them. It might be easy to declare that they’re on board the Infinity, the massive human flagship, and leave it at that. But they also represent the “new generation” of Spartans, so if Halo Infinite wants to allow players to embody the Spartan-IVs or make a statement about the volunteer super soldiers, Locke and company are ready.