Modes - Technical Preview September/October 2021
Updated: Feb 9, 2022
The September/October Tech Preview saw the debut of objective and BTB modes. These modes differ from the classic Slayer mode in that the scoring focus is shifted away from kills toward things like capture zones and flags. There were two sets of modes in the Halo Infinite Tech Preview, Arena and BTB. The following sections are included in this article:
This article contains some sample matches from Nighterlev's Tech Preview playlists on YouTube. For complete videos of more than 100 matches played across both Tech Previews, please view their playlists:
Arena modes are primarily designed for 4v4 encounters, and they have a focus on equal starts and balanced matches. There were three Arena modes in the September/October 2021 Tech Preview: Slayer, Capture the Flag, and Strongholds. However, we know there will be more modes than these three at launch.
Slayer was featured in the July 2021 Tech Preview, and it has been in every FPS Halo game since Halo: Combat Evolved, so it is not an entirely new mode.
In Slayer, a player earns 1 point for their team by getting a kill. The first team to get 50 points by the end of the match or have the most points when the timer expires will win. The team with better map control and, as a result, more powerful sandbox items, will generally win, although there is always an opportunity to wrest back map control from the enemy team.
This video, courteously provided by Nighterlev, shows an example of a Team Slayer match on Recharge, played on PC during the second Tech Preview.
Capture the Flag
The Capture the Flag mode, like Slayer, has been in every FPS Halo game since Halo: Combat Evolved. It generally involves two teams trying to invade the opposing team's base, grab their Flag, and return it to their own base.
In Arena Capture the Flag, players can score by retrieving the enemy's Flag from their base and returning it to their own team's base. If their own Flag is away (currently held by an enemy or simply sitting on the map away from its spawn), then scoring is not allowed. The first team to capture three Flags wins.
If the timer expires, the team with the most captures wins. If a Flag is away at the end of the match timer that would change the outcome of the match if it were captured, then Sudden Death will activate. While the Flag is being contested or held, the Sudden Death timer will be paused, but if the Flag is uncontested for the duration of the timer, the match will end.
If the match ends on a tie, an Overtime round will begin. The winner of this round decides the match. To win the round, a team must be the first to capture the Flag. Sudden Death also applies to this Overtime round, but if the round ultimately ends in a tie, the game itself will end in a tie.
To return a stolen Flag, the current Flag carrier must first be killed. Once the carrier has died, there are two methods by which the Flag can return: 1) the Flag can remain untouched by the enemy team for a set duration, after which it will automatically return, or 2) one or more Flag owners can stand within a holographic circle around the Flag to return it faster.
If the Flag is not currently being carried by a Flag carrier, and it is away from its spawn, the Flag timer can temporarily be halted by an enemy player standing within its holographic circle. If an enemy picks up the Flag, the timer resets to its maximum value when they drop it.
A player can pick up the Flag just like any other sandbox item, and it has physics once it has been removed from its spawn. This allows players to use the Grappleshot on the Flag or to launch it with explosives. In the Tech Preview, it could also be pushed by vehicles, but this feature will be removed at launch due to how it invalidates team play. The holographic circle can also be seen in the above screenshot as a red ring around the Flag.
This video demonstrates the attacks available to the Flag carrier. When holding the Flag, the player can only melee with it. In the Tech Preview, the Flag took two melee hits to kill a Spartan, which is the standard number for most weapons. Flag carriers could not use equipment.
When carrying the Flag, players move at a reduced speed. Flag carriers can Sprint to move at the strafe speed of a normal Spartan. However, Sprinting while holding the Flag will reveal the player's location to the enemy team. In addition, being in an enemy's line-of-sight will also reveal the Flag carrier's location.
This video from Nighterlev shows a Capture the Flag match on Bazaar, played on PC during the second Tech Preview.
The Strongholds gametype was originally added in Halo 5: Guardians, and it is making a return in Halo Infinite as well. In this gametype, teams can only score by holding a majority of the zones on the map. Holding all the zones allows the team to score twice as quickly.
In Strongholds, teams score 1 point per second while they own two uncontested zones out of the three available. If a team owns all three uncontested zones, they earn 2 points per second. If a zone is contested, where an enemy player is present in the zone, it does not count in either team's total for scoring.
Each team starts with one zone under their control, and the third zone begins as a neutral zone. To capture a neutral or enemy-controlled zone, a player must stand within the bounds of the zone, as marked by holographic boundaries, for a short time. While in the zone, the player's Personal AI will appear above the zone's capture point. Standing in an enemy zone with any amount of capture progress causes it to become contested, which temporarily stops the zone from counting toward the enemy team's scoring.
If an enemy enters the zone before the capture is complete, progress will pause until the enemy leaves or is killed. If a capture is incomplete and all friendly players leave the zone or are killed, progress will stay until an enemy enters the zone, at which point progress is reset. Capture progress is accelerated when more friendly players are in the zone.
This video from Nighterlev shows a Strongholds match on Live Fire, played on PC during the second Tech Preview.
Big Team Battle
Big Team Battle modes are designed for large 12v12 maps with the whole sandbox available to players: weapons, vehicles, grenades, and equipment. Some modes have higher score limits or slightly adjusted rulesets compared to their Arena counterparts, while other modes are entirely new additions to Halo.
Big Team Battle Slayer is almost identical to Arena Slayer, where one point is earned for each kill.
The key difference from Arena is that the score limit has been increased from 50 kills to 100 and the time limit has been extended to 15:00 minutes. Otherwise, Big Team Slayer plays exactly like its Arena counterpart.
Capture the Flag
Capture the Flag is also similar to its Arena counterpart, requiring players to capture enemy Flags by invading the enemy base, retrieving their Flag, and bringing it back to their own base.
In Big Team CTF, teams must capture 3 Flags to win, just as in Arena. However, the time limit is 15:00 minutes, as opposed to 12:00 minutes for the Arena variant. In addition, to capture a Flag, a player does not need their team's Flag to be at their base. Captures are allowed at any time. Finally, each time a team successfully captures a Flag, the enemy team's Flag will respawn in a new location.
Other than the above changes, Big Team CTF plays exactly like Arena Capture the Flag, just with 12v12 on much larger maps.
Total Control is a brand new gamemode within Halo Infinite. In this mode, a set of three zones will spawn at once. Teams score points by holding all three zones while none of them have enemy capture progress. Scoring a point will prompt a brief 20-30 second cooldown period, in which a new set of three zones is selected.
The first team to score three points (controlling all three zones uncontested in a set three times) will win. Unlike Strongholds, all three zones start neutral. Players must capture each zone in order to claim it. Like Strongholds, capture progress is made while standing in a zone containing no enemy players, and it is accelerated by having multiple friendly players in the zone. If one or more enemy players exists within the zone, capture progress is halted completely.
To capture an enemy-controlled zone, players must first revert the zone to a neutral state and then capture it for their team. Both actions are performed by standing in the zone while no enemies are in it. Once a zone is captured, it can only be lost when an enemy neutralizes the zone. However, enemy capture progress on a zone will prevent it from counting as part of the total number of zones held, which can block scoring until the enemy progress is cleared.
Finally, if an enemy has capture progress on a friendly-controlled zone, but has not fully neutralized it, the progress can be cleared instantly by eliminating all enemies within the zone and entering it. On the other hand, if an enemy has capture progress on a neutral zone, their capture progress must first be reverted before friendly capture progress can be made.
The gamemodes in Halo Infinite are designed to ensure matches are fair and balanced, without favoring either team too heavily. One of the hallmarks of Halo's multiplayer gameplay is objective-based modes, such as Capture the Flag or Strongholds. While Slayer may be extremely popular, objective modes are just as important to provide variety while maintaining the competitive nature of Halo multiplayer. Here is a high-level summary of the different gamemodes.
In Slayer, teams score points by killing enemy Spartans.
In Arena, the kill limit is 50 points and the time limit is 12:00 minutes.
In Big Team Battle, the kill limit is 100 points and the time limit is 15:00 minutes.
In Capture the Flag, teams must invade the enemy base, retrieve their Flag, and return it to their own base to score a point.
Capture the Flag matches require teams to score 3 points to win.
The Flag carrier can only attack with melee, and their movement speed is reduced.
The Flag carrier can drop the Flag at any time by pressing the Switch Weapons button.
Sprinting while carrying the Flag increases the carrier's movement speed to match that of a normal player's walk, but it also reveals their location to the enemy team.
If the Flag carrier is directly seen by an enemy, their location will be revealed to everyone on the enemy team.
Sudden Death occurs when a Flag is away that would change the outcome of the game if it were captured. It is a short timer that only counts down if the aforementioned Flag(s) is uncontested and resets if the Flag becomes contested again.
Overtime occurs if the CTF game would otherwise end in a tie. This is a special round that is won by the first team to capture a Flag. If this ends in a tie, the whole game will be regarded as a tie.
In Arena, the player's Flag must be at home to capture the enemy Flag and the time limit is 12:00 minutes.
In BTB, the enemy Flag can be captured even if the player's Flag is away from home and the time limit is 15:00 minutes.
In Strongholds, teams must hold a majority of the three zones uncontested to score.
The first team to reach 200 points wins. There is no time limit.
One zone starts under the control of each team, with a third neutral zone between both teams' spawns.
If a team holds two uncontested zones, they will score 1 point per second.
If a team holds all three uncontested zones, they will score 2 points per second.
If an enemy stands in a zone controlled by your team, they will block it from counting towards scoring. This is known as contesting.
To capture a zone, a player must stand in the zone with no enemies present.
If an enemy enters a partially captured zone, capture progress will stall.
If an enemy has capture progress on a zone, this progress can be instantly reset by removing all enemy players from the zone and stepping into it.
Personal AI appear on Strongholds you are in to help you capture them (a purely cosmetic feature).
In Total Control, a new BTB gamemode, teams must control all three zones in a set uncontested to score a point.
The first team to score three points wins, and the time limit is 15:00 minutes.
All three zones start out neutral.
If an enemy has capture progress on a zone, you cannot score until the progress is cleared.
To capture a zone, a player must first neutralize the zone, then gain control of it by standing in the zone without any enemy players being present.
If an enemy has capture progress on an owned zone, it can be reset instantly by removing all enemy players from the zone and stepping into it.
If an enemy has capture progress on a neutral zone, it can be reverted over time by removing all enemy players from the zone and stepping into it.
If an enemy steps into a zone while it is being captured, the zone will become contested, preventing any further capture progress.
Once a team captures and holds all three zones in a set uncontested, a new set of three zones will spawn after a 20-30-second cooldown.