Halo Infinite is finally adding campaign co-op next month, developer 343 Industries announced today. This will begin with an early test, or “flight”, which will run from the week of July 15.
Microsoft is only testing campaign co-op online, so fans hoping to play split-screen co-op locally still have to wait an indefinite time in the future for that. 343 had always said he would be holding a test for the online co-op campaign in Julybut this is the first time it has been officially dated for the public.
Players must enroll in the free and open Halo Insider program to enter the flight. The test is part of a separate version of Halo Infinite, so any progress you’ve already made in Halo Infinite’s campaign will not be applied in the network co-op test, and any progress you make in the test will not move. with you to any existing campaign backup you may already have.
Some Halo fans were disappointed to learn that Halo Infinite would launch without a co-op campaign, and lead world designer John Mulkey said the open-world nature of Halo Infinite created “many new questions” for the team.
“How do we set up a shared world state? How do we keep the Fireteam together? How do we determine mission intent and direction? How do we keep the sequence from breaking the narrative?” said Mulkey.
343 created the “zone of operations” which is a maximum distance that players in a group can move away from each other. “If you stray too far from your Fireteam, you will receive a warning to return to the team. If you ignore this warning and continue, you will be killed for being away and respawn on your nearest teammate,” 343 said.
Players will be warned when they move 800 feet away from another player and they will be killed when they reach 1000 feet. “It’s an interesting balance to find because we want players to have fun fighting together, but we also don’t want the game to force you to be joined at the hip, so to speak,” said Bender.
“To give you an idea of this scale in the game: if the two of you want to reach a really big objective like the Banished Digsite, the AOO will definitely allow you to approach an objective of this size from opposite sides with room to spare,” Bender added.
Halo Infinite’s online campaign co-op will allow players to keep co-op campaign saves or isolated individual co-op saves.
“I’ve played a number of co-op games where ‘player 2 progress basically doesn’t matter, and I’ve always found that disappointing,’ Bender said.
All Halo Infinite campaign progress, whether you play alone or in co-op, will carry over and be saved to your profile. “I could play the Solo campaign, jump into a Co-Op session for a few hours, then jump back into the Solo game and all the mission progress, collectibles acquired, gear found, achievements earned, and improvements made in either session would be intact. Gone are the days of playing someone else’s game without gaining progress,” Mulkey said.
343 has also confirmed that the co-op experience will be the same no matter what platform you’re playing on, be it Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC or streaming. Cross-play is supported, and any combination of PC and Xbox that can accommodate up to four players at a time will work. In addition, all cooperative games take place on dedicated servers.
From Halo Infinite’s multiplayer menu, players can form a squad and select “Start Co-Op” to begin. 343 also clarified that everyone in a party plays as Master Chief.
As for upgrades and cores, these are tracked individually. If someone in a party grabs a core in co-op, all party members who don’t already have it will be credited. Cores can be spent independently, and core counts and upgrades will apply to each soldier.
“That means you get the benefits of working together, but you also have the ability to express yourself with your personal style of play,” Bender said. “If one of you wants to focus on improving your Drop Wall to protect yourself while your partner gets the Grapple hook melee buff to charge into enemy ranks, you can do that.”
343 has also confirmed that a new Mission Replay feature is coming to Halo Infinite alongside the online campaign co-op update. “Infinite’s more open-ended nature poses new creative challenges that didn’t exist when missions were split into their own discrete levels. You can just reload that level and play it again,” Mulkey said. “In Infinite, missions are locations in a much larger game space than other mission locations. We rely on the Tac-Map as your gateway to interact with individual missions.”
With the update, players can open their own tac-map and select a completed mission, then select “Play Again”. Players will be prompted to select a difficulty level and if they wish to activate skulls.
“Setting a mission to replay it resets it and teleports you (and your squad) to the location to complete the challenge. “, said 343.
Additionally, any buffs earned in later missions will carry over to previous missions, and Mulkey said the team is excited to see how players use higher level skills and buffs in early missions.
In other Halo news, Halo: The Master Chief Collection may soon add microtransactions.
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