Earlier this summer, developer 343 Industries hosted what was basically a beta for Halo Infinite, the story of one man’s quest to fall in love with a computer. It was bonkers. This week, over on Halo Waypoint, 343 detailed what’s in store for Infinite’s second beta (and, to a lesser degree, the game’s December 8 release). It sounds even wilder. Here’s everything you can expect.
We’ve known Halo Infinite will feature Big Team Battle, Halo’s staple big-scale competitive mode, for a while. Now, we know what it’ll look like in Infinite. The key is that it’ll feature two teams of 12 players, a significant increase over the teams of eight that were present in Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. Vehicles and heavy weapons will play a prominent role. And yes, you’ll be able play Big Team Battle capture the flag.
The intention was to capture “that classic [Big Team Battle] pacing that we all love while increasing the possibility for fun player engagements in all parts of the map,” 343’s Fernando Reyes Medina said.
Halo Infinite’s Big Team Battle will be playable during the don’t-call-it-a-beta’s second weekend.
During the technical flight, you’ll be able to play Big Team Battle on the Fragmentation map. Based on its brief appearance in Halo Infinite’s E3 trailer, Fragmentation bears a notable resemblance to Valhalla, the classic map that first appeared in Halo 3 (and served as a backdrop for several seasons of Red vs. Blue).
Fragmentation isn’t the only large-scale map. The fittingly named Behemoth, a dusty desert seemingly devoid of much cover, will host Big Team Battles, but only in the full game (unless 343 changes direction between now and next week).
Halo Infinite’s first run only included 12 weapons. Its second will blessedly throw more into the mix. This week, 343 only showed off one new one—the fierce-looking banished shock rifle, to which I say: gimme, stat—though several dozen weapons are to be included in the final Halo Infinite armory.
The first weekend is this upcoming one, starting Thursday, September 23. The second weekend is next weekend, starting Thursday, September 30. In an effort to test server capacity “against the highest concurrency possible” (aka, see how servers weather a bunch of players at once), 343 is only opening matchmaking during set windows. The schedule is the same across both weekends.
On Thursday, you’ll be able to download the latest build and mess around in the non-competitive training modes, like weapons drills. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, you’ll be able to play matchmaking from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET and 8:00 p.m. to midnight ET. (During the off hours, you’ll still be able to poke at weapons drills and training and such.) On Monday, the flight will close at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Arena (Halo’s standard four-vs.-four mode) will be playable on both weekends. You’ll be able to choose if you want to compete against other humans or have another go against the shockingly human-seeming bots, who made up the bulk of competition during the summer’s technical test. Big Team Battle—which will feature three as-of-yet undefined modes—is planned for the second weekend only.
Progression in Halo Infinite is defined by, in addition to a standard XP grind, daily and weekly challenges. Some of them seem like a piece of cake (“win a quick play match” or “kill ten enemies”), while others are a bit more of a challenge (“grapple to and commandeer three enemy vehicles”). Once you finish all of your weekly challenges, you’ll open up a so-called “Ultimate Challenge,” which rewards you with a rare cosmetic option upon completion.