Inside Infinite October 2021 - Halo Waypoint News Article
Another month, another Inside Infinite blog diving into the details of Halo Infinite. This month, we heard from the Character and UXUI teams on their work across both Campaign and Multiplayer. This Inside Infinite is extremely lengthy and is filled with a ton of details. While only new information will be included below, I highly recommend reading the original article in its entirety.
"A render of UNSC Marines, which will join Master Chief as he battles across Zeta Halo. (Or, drives off a cliff.)"
In the Campaign Overview, we saw some Marines without any armor, having been imprisoned by the Banished. However, some Marines will feature full armor suits, complete with unique and varying accessories to set each of them apart from one another.
"Render of a Banished 'Spartan Killer', a formidable foe ready to face off against Master Chief."
This render depicts Spartan Killer Tovarus, a powerful Brute wielding a Banished Scrap Cannon. We've seen concept art for this Brute before, but now we finally get to see his in-engine model. He will likely be one of the boss enemies seen in the Campaign Overview, posing a formidable threat to the Master Chief.
"In terms of which part of the legacy we looked to for inspiration, we settled most around the Halo 3 / Halo: Reach timeframe and then incorporated the Banished aesthetic where it made sense along with the Halo Infinite art direction." - Steve Dyck
The character designs in Halo Infinite are heavily influenced by the designs seen in the original trilogy and in Halo: Reach, but there are some instances where these designs were combined with the Banished red and black to make certain characters more menacing.
"A render of an Elite - looking better than ever, still agile and deadly."
The Elite design has returned to the slimmer, more athletic one seen in Halo: Combat Evolved through Halo 3. They appear most similar to how they did in Halo 2: Anniversary, but with some unique details to distinguish them.
"As you fight the Brutes you will see all kinds of armor and debris flying off them from shoulder pad to thigh pads to helmets shooting across the map. Knowing this, we knew we had to design the armors in such a way that facilitated this. We designed the Brute techsuit with various attachment points so that we could modularize the armor plates so that they could be shot off. Funny enough, early on one of the challenges that we had with this approach was in certain cases, by the time you finished off a Brute he would be pretty much naked and bare. This is why they flaunt a full body techsuit." - Bryan Repka
The Brutes in Halo Infinite are unique in that they have different pieces of armor that can be shot off their techsuit. Different Brutes have different armor pieces attached to common attachment points, creating a unifying base design that can then be varied and expressed through armor attachments.
"Render of a Brute Berserker. Be warned, they are angry and they will charge."
The Brute Berserker is a special Brute without any weapon besides their fists. They charge at the player in a rage, stopping at nothing to take them down.
"Render of an incredibly detailed Brute. Craig did indeed get quite the glow-up!"
This render offers a look at the Brute Berserker without his face mask. He has quite a bit of facial hair and detailing, showing marked improvement from July 2020.
"For example, those new Fusion Coils the player can grab and throw can also be thrown by Brutes….at times a Brute may even toss a Grunt at the player... The evolution of the sandbox has given the player more options in combat. For example, the Grappleshot will pull you to a Brute, be deflected by a Hunter, and not attach to a Jackal but will pop their shield to the side so the player can get damage onto the body. Another evolution that may surprise players is some of our smarter AI will upgrade their weapon, when possible, by grabbing a better weapon off a rack, the ground, or even a Grunt Mule." - Steve Dyck
Enemy characters in Halo Infinite will exhibit a variety of new behaviors:
Brutes can throw Fusion Coils and Grunts.
The Grappleshot will pull a player to most enemies. When striking a Jackal, it will push their shield out of the way rather than attach, making a headshot easier. Finally, when striking a Hunter, it will bounce off and do nothing.
Smarter AI (e.g. Brutes and Elites) will upgrade their weapon when they encounter a better item on the ground, on racks, or on Grunt Mules.
"Render of two different Jackals. Shield or not, these wily enemies are no push-overs."
Here, we have two types of Jackal: the Jackal Sniper and the Jackal Raider. These familiar enemies have a design closest to their Bungie-era counterparts. The Jackal Raider has a personal energy gauntlet, colored yellow to indicate the Jackal's higher status, while the Sniper is outfitted with a Stalker Rifle and no energy shield.
"[W]e built all of our characters in a modular fashion so that we could mix and match and create large amounts of variants per species. For example, the player will notice multiple armor variants within the Brute minor role - Brute minors with very little armor and Brute minors with a lot of armor, small shoulder pads and large shoulder pads. As far as the color progression goes, like Steve mentioned, it is foundational to Halo and Infinite is no exception to that. Along with the modular swaps you will see multiple colors within the Brute minor rank helping to denote the strength and weapon that that character wields." - Bryan Repka
The enemies in Halo Infinite will exhibit greater variety than ever before. Within the Brute Minor rank, for example, there will be armor variants and color variants to help communicate which Brute Minors have the better guns and are thus higher priority than other enemies.
"Render of a Grunt Mule - the Banished equivalent of a Postmates weapon delivery service."
Although most of the Banished enemies will be using more classic colors, like blue for Elites and yellow for Grunts, a few of them will feature the customary Banished red, silver, and black. The Grunt Mule is one such enemy. Seen here with a Disruptor and multiple weapons on his back, the Grunt Mule picks up and carries weapons for nearby Banished troops to use against the Chief.
"From the start of Infinite one of the things we wanted to pursue were more 'Boss' or 'Mini-Boss' type characters. This evolved into conversations around how these could manifest themselves in the game. The Spartan Killers were an early theme around an elite force of Banished that could go toe-to-toe with a Spartan, and win!" - Steve Dyck
The Spartan Killers are Bosses that are designed to be a worthy foe for the Chief. These enemies include characters such as Jega 'Rdomnai, Tovarus, and Tremonius.
"We wanted to find a way to set this group apart from the rest of the enemies but at the same time make sure that we have cohesion within the group itself. We went with the black armor theme with splashes of red blades. Each Spartan killer is unique and has its own story and battle trophies." - Bryan Repka
The Spartan Killers will all have a unique black color scheme with red accents. In addition, each Boss will have its own story and "battle trophies," possible referring to special rewards obtained for defeating the Boss.
"One of the new enemies we just revealed in the Campaign Overview is the Skimmer. While I won’t give away everything about them, what I can say is they are a mid-tier combatant, sort of on the level with the Jackals and higher tier Grunts. They aren’t full flying enemies but have hover packs to allow them to move around quickly and provide unique challenges and opportunities to the player while on foot or in a vehicle. We didn’t want to pursue a full flying enemy as we found in an FPS flying enemies can get a little frustrating and disorienting as the player is forced to look up. Skimmers, like their namesake, move around by just skimming above the ground." - Steve Dyck
The Skimmers shown briefly in the Campaign Overview are not actually flying enemies in the sense that Drones and Watchers were. Rather, they hover just above the ground and move very quickly. They are on a similar level with Jackals and higher tier Grunts.
"A lot of work went into the unique way [the Skimmers] interact with vehicles, and I’m really excited about how that turned out. (Keep your tanks clear.)" - Bryan Repka
The Skimmers can move quickly and appear to have some anti-vehicle behaviors that prove particularly dangerous for slower vehicles. If you see them approaching, drop them quickly before they get too close.
"Render of two different Grunts. What they lack in intimidation, they more than make up for in wit."
The Grunt on the left is using armor similar to the Grunt Ultra from Halo: Reach. It will be interesting to see if their helmet needs to be shot off before they can be headshot like in that game.
"For the HUD, we removed the helmet geometry and shifted persistent elements out of the top corners – like grenades and weapons - to reduce eye fatigue, cognitive load, and Arena sweatiness, which were serious issues called out by Halo 5 players." - Vincent Hui
The Halo Infinite HUD has been modified from prior installments in the Campaign. In Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, there were parts of the helmet interior visible around the edges of the screen, varying depending on the Campaign character selected. In Halo Infinite, the helmet interior parts have been removed entirely, and the grenades and weapon indicators have been moved to a single tray in the bottom right, leaving only the shield bar at the top of the screen.
"I would say the biggest departure was our front-end menu designs, where we shifted away from the classic darker tone and Halo blues and embraced a flat, more minimalist approach that acted as a complement to in-game 3D presentation, rather than full-screen 2D UI experiences." - Chad Mirshak
The menus within Halo Infinite are designed to avoid drawing too much attention away from the focus of a scene. For example, when customizing armor, the focus is on the 3D armor being chosen, meaning the UI needs to present the necessary information and controls without being distracting. This led to the choice to use basic white and black selections, text, and other elements.
"[O]ur Campaign HUD is chock full of bespoke elements that make perfect sense for the sake of our story but don't have immediate application for Multiplayer - these include everything from mission trackers to holographic terminal interfaces, suit firmware upgrades, a fully realized 3D map, archives, even assassination dossiers (is your interest piqued yet?)... We are planning to bring some player-customizable elements into our HUD, so stay tuned!" - Chad Mirshak
Although it may seem obvious, there are a lot of HUD elements that only apply in Campaign (the same is true for Multiplayer as well). These include UI elements for holographic terminal interfaces, suit firmware upgrades (when purchasing an Upgrade in the Campaign), the 3D Tacmap, archives (likely involving the Database), and "assassination dossiers," which are almost certainly related to the Spartan Killers. In addition, there are plans to give the HUD some level of customizability after launch.
"In a variety of our cinematics, there are moments where the details taking place within the UI are just as important as our characters’ actions on screen." - Eric Dies
During the Discover Hope trailer shown at E3 2019, we saw a ton of details in the HUD when Master Chief's armor first comes back to life. This is not an exception but rather an intentional element of multiple cutscenes within Halo Infinite. The HUD is a narrative tool just as much as it is an informative tool.
"While the concept of VISR has long existed in Halo lore it had never formally been given a full realization pass, so we got to work to establish VISR OS as a grounded, in-world aesthetic, eventually evolving it past simple display elements and into a full-on interaction language that the player can navigate as an extension of Chief's primary visor display – both Eric and Omer jumped on board and did a great job of adapting and evolving that language into something that our players could use across a variety of channels." - Chad Mirshak
VISR OS is a term used to describe the common design language between various UNSC holographic displays, including those in menus, on weaponry, and within vehicles. It originally began with the MA40 AR design, but extended to other weapons and vehicles using holographic displays, at which point it became more of a standard for items in Halo Infinite.
"Examples of the unified 'VISR OS' seen through Halo Infinite"
The VISR OS ties together UI elements with in-game holographic displays, even including the small display featured on the XP Boost "item".
"Think of our cooler colors visualizing the equivalent of our 'Windows' operating system whereas the more neon green elements help to portray the equivalent of our 'DOS' back-end. This should help establish a clear hierarchy that will aid our users in identifying immediately relevant tactical information from more grounded, realization that expands upon the fiction of specific gameplay moments." - Eric Dies
In the HUD, cooler blue colors represent vital gameplay info, such as the motion tracker, shield and health amounts, and inventory data. Green colors represent narrative-building elements, such as the elements that appear when an Upgrade is purchased in Campaign.
"With the amount of content in the Campaign we ended up categorizing the content into five main sections:
TACMAP – An expansive map and mission tracker for players to explore and plan their approach.
UPGRADES – Master Chief’s equipment and suit upgrades.
FOB – The available support items from ‘Forward Operating Bases.’
TARGETS – A dossier of ‘High Value Targets’ to take down.
DATABASE – A compendium of narrative logs and collectibles found across the world of Zeta Halo." - Omer Younas
So far, we've seen the Tacmap and Upgrades tabs in the Campaign Overview. However, the FOB, Targets, and Database tabs have not been shown. The FOB tab contains the available items (weapons, variants, and vehicles) that can be called in at FOBs. The Targets tab contains dossiers for High Value Targets in the Campaign. Finally, the Database tab allows a player to view the collectibles they've gathered thus far on their journey across Zeta Halo.
"Screenshot of the TACMAP from the Halo Infinite Campaign."
The Tacmap here has been zoomed in enough to show most of the collectibles and other points of interest in the area around the Chief. The number of collectibles shown appears to apply to multiple nearby "islands", suggesting there will be other groups of islands that makeup their own areas. We may not have seen as much of the Campaign as we thought.
"Customation [sic] screenshot showcasing that when a player swaps their coating, the 3D Spartan and all item times update to embrace personal choice."
The above screenshot shows some of the helmets for the Mark V [B] Armor Core, as well as how all the items change in color when a different coating is selected.
"The Armor Hall in Halo Infinite is where your personal Spartan customization begins."
In this view, we can see the Mark V [B], Mark VII, and Yoroi Armor Cores, each of which is customized independently. The Mark V [B] Armor Core is Epic in quality.
"Halo Infinite customization details within the Armor Hall."
The Mark V [B] Armor Core offers many of the same customization sockets as the Mark VII Armor Core, including Armor Kit, Armor Coating, Helmet, Visor, Chest, Left Shoulder Pad, Right Shoulder Pad, Gloves, and Wrist.
"Examples of iconography created for Halo Infinite."
There have been many manufacturers for various in-universe items in Halo's past, but in Halo Infinite, manufacturers get a front-row seat in the customization menus. These manufacturer icons are used for all customization items in the game, shown directly to the player in an obvious way. Some of the iconography has been adapted from previous versions shown in other Halo media, bringing it all under a unified design language.
"New weapon manufacturer logos created for Halo Infinite."
Different weapons have their own logos, showcasing their in-universe names or model numbers. In addition, the logos evoke the design language of their manufacturer, with common themes across weapons made by the same company.
"I will echo the previous point that I want to leverage our UI presentation as not just a tool that guides our players through the experience but also as storytelling device that will allow us to expand upon the vast world that is being created. (Wink wink, nudge nudge.)" - Chad Mirshak
When discussing work that will come after release for the UXUI time, Chad Mirshak repeats that he wants to use UI not just for information and aesthetic but also for storytelling, which implies more story content to come after launch.
"Additional settings for player outlines are currently very high on our list since they will give players the opportunity to tune their own gameplay experience, have strong benefits for content creators, and make the game more accessible." - Vincent Hui
One of the top priorities for the UXUI teams post launch is additional variety and settings for player outlines in Multiplayer. We will be able to change the color of enemies, teammates, and fireteam members at launch, but more options will come after launch.
This Inside Infinite article provided some additional information from the Character and UXUI teams related to both Campaign and Multiplayer. Here's a summary of everything we learned.
Some Marines will have full armor, with varying details from Marine to Marine.
The Spartan Killers are Bosses with unique names, backgrounds, and "battle trophies." They are outfitted in black armor with red highlights.
Elites have returned to their slimmer original trilogy appearance but with some new elements.
Brutes have numerous modular armor attachments that can be shot off individually and vary from Brute to Brute.
Brutes have been visually improved to great degree since July 2020; they now feature facial hair and expressions.
Brute Berserkers have no weapon other than their fists, and they charge at the player with reckless, rage-filled abandon.
Brutes can throw Fusion Coils and Grunts.
Hitting most enemies with the Grappleshot will pull the player to that enemy, but the Grappleshot deflects off Hunters and shielded Jackals.
When struck by the Grappleshot, shielded Jackals will flinch, temporarily exposing their head for the player to hit.
Smarter AI, such as Brutes and Elites, will upgrade their weaponry when they find a better weapon on the ground, on a nearby rack, or on the back of a Grunt Mule.
Color and armor can vary within enemy roles (e.g. Brute Minor, Elite Mercenary), visually showing which enemies are tougher or have more dangerous weaponry.
Grunt Mules will walk around the map and pick up better weaponry to store on their back for other Banished troops to use.
Skimmers are not true flying enemies, but rather skim just above the ground. They are fast and agile, and they exist on the same level as Jackals and higher tier Grunts.
Skimmers are good at damaging and destroying vehicles, so keep them away from your tank!
The HUD was redesigned in Halo Infinite to free up screen real estate in the top corners and help make it easier to find all necessary information in one place.
Menus have been shifted from the cool blues of Halos past to flat white and blacks, which makes the UI itself less of a focus than what's behind the UI (e.g. the player's Spartan when customizing in the Armor Hall).
There are many HUD elements designed exclusively for the Campaign, including firmware upgrades (when purchasing equipment Upgrades), the Tacmap, mission objective markers, and more.
There will be assassination dossiers for high-priority targets in the Campaign.
The UXUI team has plans to add options for HUD customization after launch.
The HUD is used as a narrative tool within the Campaign, providing multiple opportunities for new details to be discovered upon replaying the game.
Holographic displays and screens belonging to the UNSC now feature a unified design language called VISR OS. This also applies to Campaign menus and the HUD, alongside weapons like the MA40 AR and vehicles like the Warthog.
In the HUD, blue elements are used to give gameplay-oriented information, while green elements function as the underlying software for the system and ground the HUD in the narrative.
The FOB tab in the Campaign Tacmap menu shows all the items available to be requisitioned at owned FOBs.
The Targets tab includes dossiers for high-value targets in the Campaign, including the Spartan Killers
The Database tab catalogs all the collectibles earned in the Campaign.
Many of the collectibles are shown with small icons on the Tacmap once the player zooms in far enough.
The SCOUT Helmet for the Mark V [B] Armor Core is Epic in quality.
The Mark V [B] Armor Core is also Epic in quality.
The Mark V [B] Armor Core offers at least the following Sockets: Armor Kit, Armor Coating, Helmet, Visor, Chest, Left Shoulder Pad, Right Shoulder Pad, Gloves, and Wrist. More are also available, but they were not shown in this article.
Each item manufacturer has had its logo either updated or created to fit in a general style for Halo Infinite.
Each UNSC weapon has a specific logo, created in a style representative of its manufacturer.
UI will continue to be used as a narrative tool beyond launch, yet another tease for post-launch story content.
Additional player outlines settings are a high priority addition after the launch of the game.