In the first of a series of ‘Inside Infinite’ posts dedicating to keeping gamers updated about Halo Infinite’s progress, 343 Industries this week revealed that the Sandbox content meant for launch is playable in-game. The dev team is now focusing on bug-fixing in the last stretch before the game’s release in Fall 2021.
If you’re wondering what the Halo Infinite Sandbox is, Lead Sandbox Designer Quinn DelHoyo explains that it “refers to all of the vehicles, equipment, weapons, and objects that the player will interact with.” The sandbox “also includes all of the player systems and ‘verbs’ like jump, run, health values, shield recharge times, etc.”
The wide-ranging interview then delved deep into the Sandbox team’s responsibilities, their progress so far, and perhaps most importantly, their philosophy for how the game should play. To this end, DelHoyo and the rest of the team elaborated on a ‘Combat Doctrine,’ a series of principles that guide their gameplay decisions.
For example, the ‘Dance’ principle emphasizes that the game’s combat should feel fluid and responsive: a “cerebral dance that feels like a symphony of combat choices.” This principle aims to make “players feel combat is in their hands to win or lose.
Other principles include an emphasis on ensuring that each tool in Master Chief’s arsenal feels unique and impactful. The ‘Lone Wolf’ principle, meanwhile, requires that players feel useful and self-sufficient in a fight without the need for teammates or AI companions. A more detailed account of the team’s design philosophy can be found in the Inside Infinite post.
Other interesting tidbits from the post include comments by Game Foundation Architect Danielle Giannetti, who revealed that the game’s engineers have been hard at work optimizing the game engine so Halo Infinite won’t have to face some of the many inter-generational issues that plagued Cyberpunk 2077’s release.
I’ll let him explain the technical details himself:
For Halo Infinite, we rebuilt the engine multi-threading solution to ensure high execution efficiency across all platforms and PCs, instead of running optimally just on Xbox One. We used this new system to transition the renderer to a massively parallel multi-threaded framework to support the increased cost of all our new rendering features and achieve high graphics efficiency on PC CPUs of various size as well as Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One X/S hardware. In practice, this means that we are doing our very best to make sure Halo Infinite runs optimally on any device you may choose to play on!
That should (hopefully) translate to better performance for all gamers. The emphasis on parallelizing workloads should allow the game to take full advantage of the larger number of CPU cores on a high-end gaming PC, for example. “PC as a first-class endeavor is another aspect to Halo Infinite that we are actively taking into account,” noted DelHoyo.
Meanwhile, senior Lighting Artist Josh Marvel expressed his excitement for incorporating into the game new graphical elements built over the past six months. He also noted that the game’s developers are also “refining the lighting and environment art.” Given the poor reception to the game’s visuals in the gameplay trailer revealed back in July last year, that certainly sounds promising.
And last but not least, DelHoyo also confirmed that 343 Industries would be launching a public beta before the game’s official release, what the team is calling a public flighting. “All of our launch content is in-game and being played daily but it takes a strong effort to get something from 90% to a full 100% ship quality,” said DelHoyo. “So, we are pushing hard to squash bugs and tune our toys so they are in a good spot as we get closer and closer to launch (and public flighting before that).”
Go check out the full post on the Halo Waypoint website, which includes not only a lot more details about the game’s development but also a whole bunch of in-engine renders of the game’s marquee weapons.