Halo Infinite’s Drive co-op preview boots off in July

Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries is finally going to kick off a public test of its long-awaited network campaign co-op mode in July, the developer announced Thursday.

The studio also plans to test the ability to replay campaign missions, which wasn’t in the game at launch.

The beta for both features is targeted from July 11 to July 22. If you own the campaign part of Halo Infinite or are an active Xbox Game Pass member, you can experience it by signing up as a Halo Insider. On Xbox, you’ll also require the Xbox Insider app.

If you’ve already played Halo Infinite’s campaign, anything you’ve accomplished won’t transfer over. For this test, you’ll be downloading a new campaign build and starting the game from the beginning. Any progress as a group will carry over to solo play, but gains from the test won’t transfer to the retail game when the updates are officially released. Crossplay is fully supported so you can play with buddies across Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, and PC. Up to four players will be capable of teaming up at a party.

We don’t know precisely when campaign co-op and mission replay will be available publicly, but in a roadmap released in April, 343 Industries said it’s targeting a “late August” launch for the features. According to that roadmap, the open beta of Forge mode is targeted for September.

In video rounds with online gaming functionality, also dubbed cross-compatible play, crossplay, cross-platform play, or crossplay describes the ability of players using additional video game hardware to play with each other simultaneously. It is commonly applied to players using a game on a specific video game console to play alongside a player on a distinct hardware platform such as another console or a computer. An affiliated concept is cross-save, where the player’s progress in a match is stored in separate servers and can be resumed in the game but on a different hardware platform.

Halo Infinite is a first-person 2021 shooter game created by 343 Industries and published by Xbox Game Studios. It is the sixth mainline access in the Halo series and the third in the “Reclaimer Saga” following Halo 5: Guardians (2015).

The campaign tracks the human super soldier Master Chief and his battle against the enemy Banished on the Forerunner ringworld Zeta Halo, also comprehended as Installation 07. Unlike earlier installments in the series, the game’s multiplayer portion is free-to-play.

Infinite was scheduled for release as a launch game with the Xbox Series X/S on November 10, 2020, but was deferred to August 2020. Following a public beta release of the multiplayer component on November 15, 2021, overlapping with the franchise’s 20th anniversary, the campaign was unleashed for Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on December 8, 2021.

Halo Infinite received typically favorable reviews from critics, with some deeming the game a return to form for the series. Praise was directed towards its visuals, gameplay, open-world design, soundtrack, and story.

Cross-play is linked to but distinct from the concept of cross-platform development, which uses software languages and tools to enable software deployment on multiple platforms. Cross-platform play is also a particular concept from the ability to allow a player to play a game on different hardware platforms. It is often only having to purchase the title for one system to access it on other systems and keep their progress in the game through cloud storage or similar techniques.

Cross-platform play, while technically possible with today’s computer hardware, generally is restricted by two factors. One factor is the difference in control strategies between personal computers and consoles, with the keyboard-and-mouse commands typically giving computer players an advantage that cannot be readily remedied. The second factor connects to the secure online services used on consoles designed to provide safe and consistent surroundings for its players that need the businesses’ cooperation to open up for cross-platform play.

Halo Infinite is a shooter with the most gameplay-abiding place from a first-person perspective. Players use several weapons and vehicles usually found in the Halo series, such as the Warthog. In addition, the game features several new abilities for the player character Master Chief, like the Grapple Shot, which allows him to pull himself towards foes or retrieve items.

The campaign mode features a semi-open world network, the ringworld Zeta Halo; players can freely research elements of the setting, which are segmented off each other and initially impassable.

Sprinkled throughout the environment are Forward Operating Bases, which can be cleared of enemies and captured. Captured bases serve as fast-travel points. Also found across Zeta Halo’s cover are other points of interest, such as “high-value targets” to destroy, Marine squads to recover, and Banished propaganda towers to eliminate.

Completing these side goals earns the player Valor, which is used to acquire new weapons and vehicles players can reach from Forward Operating Bases. More linear environments within the ring’s surface add to the traditional Halo mission design. These “dungeons” move the story and cannot be replayed once finished. Collectibles found in the environment, like audio logs, furnish additional story details.

Infinite attributes a multiplayer component, with deathmatch, capture the flag, and other modes obtainable in standard 4-versus-4 and Big Team Battle variants; the latter spots the player count in matches from 16 up to 24.

New to multiplayer are ability pickups, which permit a player to activate an extraordinary power a limited number of times, like active camouflage, dashing, and “repulsor” charges that can strike enemies and projectiles back. Infinite also holds a set of training modes for new players. For example, players can try weapons in weapon drills or play against computer-controlled bot players in practice matches.