Halo Infinite’s already kickass-sounding second season is starting to sound even more kickass. Developer 343 Industries detailed all the new modes en route in a blog post today, including one that sounds suspiciously like a battle royale.
Halo Infinite’s second season, which rolls out next month, is set to totally upend the multiplayer shooter. Two new maps, the small-scale Catalyst and the large-scale Breaker, will be added to the rotation. Those are in addition to a bunch of new cosmetics alongside a battle pass that allows you to earn premium currency to spend on said cosmetics (or, potentially, the premium battle pass for the following season). Meanwhile, weekly challenges are getting overhauled to remove the bullshit emblems, backgrounds, and other rewards no one cares about.
First, and the one I’m personally most excited about, is the addition of King of the Hill. A longtime Halo mode, King of the Hill has two teams jostling over control of a predetermined zone to see who can hang onto it the longest—pretty standard stuff. Infinite is shaking that mode up, however. Instead of a timer, capturing the hill now runs on a meter. Once a team fills up a hill’s meter, they score a point, and the hill everyone wants to capture jumps to a different part of the map. 343 did not detail how many points are needed to win a round. (You’ll still be able to access the tried-and-true classic King of the Hill in custom matches.)
Land Grab is another zone-control mode, and new to the series. At the start of each round, three neutral zones pop up around the map. The first team to capture all three gets a point, but unlike Strongholds—the other current zone-control mode in Halo Infinite’s casual close-quarters playlist—once a zone is captured, it can’t be re-captured by the opposing team. Takes 11 points to win the round.
King of the Hill will be in Halo Infinite’s standard Quick Play and Ranked playlists at launch, while Land Grab will be an event mode about a month after the season starts. Dedicated playlists for the classic Team Doubles (multiple teams of two face off in a deathmatch), Team Snipers (standard team deathmatch but both teams spawn with sniper rifles), and Rumble modes will cycle in and out through Infinite’s second season, which will also launch with three new modes that are just the type of thing I’d concoct if Halo Infinite’s custom matches actually allowed you full customization:
- Vampireball: It’s like Oddball except the person holding the ball isn’t useless. You can kill enemies with one melee attack (hell yeah), which also boosts your shield by 50%—even if it’s already full.
- Ninja Slayer: You spawn with an energy sword and a grappleshot (Infinite’s zippy grappling hook). That’s the only equipment you’ll find on the map, too.
- Rocket Repulsors: Same thing, except with rocket launchers and repulsors. Remember, you can use the repulsor to deflect rockets!
Which brings us to the “not battle royale but also kinda battle royale,” a brand-new mode called Last Spartan Standing. Set on the four Big Team Battle maps, Last Spartan Standing is a free-for-all elimination contest featuring 12 players. Each player has five lives and once you’re out, you’re out. You start with a lower-tier weapon, but if you score a kill, you can level-up to a higher-tier one—discouraging folks from simply hiding out in a corner. (There’s also a constricting “danger zone” that helps with that.) And random weapon drops occur throughout rounds.
So, yeah, it’s not a pure battle royale. (The lives thing, for instance. And 12 players is nothing on the scale of competitors like Fortnite, Apex, or PUBG.) But it’s close to one, and it certainly adds fuel to the fire that Halo Infinite is heading toward having a legit battle royale feature.
Right now, the studio Certain Affinity—which has worked in partnership with 343 since the days of the Halo: Combat Evolved remaster—is currently working on an unnamed project for Halo Infinite. This has sent fans into a tizzy of speculation. Earlier this month, dataminers uncovered files suggesting that Halo Infinite could feature modes with 100 players, that sweet-spot battle royale player count. (Update, 4/28, 12:00 p.m. ET: A 30-second clip from a 343 live stream, featuring a line of text with the number “100,” further fueled speculation. Some believe it’s proof of a forthcoming Halo battle royale. Others think it’s the start of an ARG, which the Halo series is no stranger to. Joseph Staten, currently the creative steward of Halo Infinite, tweeted cryptically about it after the fact, fueling further speculation. Staten hosted the stream.)
If Halo Infinite is to get a battle royale mode, it’s obviously far off. But now that all the elements are set to actually exist in the shooter, it’s seeming less like a pipe dream than ever.