2020 is almost here, so we’ve asked GameSpot’s staff to share which games they’re looking forward to most in the new year. New consoles are going to dominate the headlines, but at the end of the day it’s all about the games, and there are a ton of exciting ones to look forward to. When you’re done reading this entry, follow along with all of our other end-of-the-year coverage collected in our Best of 2019 hub and our Most Anticipated of 2020 hub.
2019 was a big year already for Halo with the release of The Master Chief Collection on PC, but 2020 is shaping up to be the most important year for Halo and Xbox since 2001. The newest entry in the sci-fi shooter series, Halo Infinite, releases in Holiday 2020 as a launch title for Microsoft’s next-gen console Xbox Series X. This is notable for a number of reasons, including the fact that it’s the first time since 2001’s Halo: Combat Evolved that a Halo title has released at launch with new Xbox hardware. After the Xbox One stumbled at the start against the PS4 back in 2013, Microsoft has a massive opportunity to hit the ground running with Xbox Series X by making Halo Infinite the must-have title that fans have been hoping to see for years now.
While Halo no doubt remains popular and stands today as one of the best-known FPS games ever, the series has lost some ground to its contemporaries. Halo Infinite represents a chance for Microsoft to reclaim Master Chief’s former glory, and I’m excited for it. Microsoft has only so far released a cinematic trailer, so there is little to go on as it relates to official details. What we do know, however, is that Master Chief is not only coming back, but he will be more front and center this time, which is good news after Halo 5’s story moved away from the famed super-soldier.
Microsoft has also teased a new art style for Halo Infinite that is said to be emblematic of the original Halo’s visual flourishes. That’s also exciting to think about. On top of that, Halo Infinite runs on Microsoft’s brand-new Slipspace Engine, which is said to offer and unlock all manner of new gameplay possibilities that could apply to innovations in the campaign and multiplayer spaces. Speaking of multiplayer, head-to-head combat has always been the Halo franchise’s bread and butter, and I am excited to see what Microsoft cooks up. Halo 5’s big innovation was Warzone, the MOBA-style mode that offered the biggest shakeup to the core gameplay formula in many years. The multiplayer world has evolved substantially since 2015’s Halo 5–battle royale, specifically, has impacted how people think about multiplayer shooters–and Microsoft has an opportunity to prove again that Halo can be the trendsetter and trailblazer in FPS games.
The Halo franchise hasn’t had a steady, well-rounded release in a long time. Halo 4’s multiplayer was a let-down, while Halo 5’s story came up short with how it over promised and under delivered. Halo Infinite must introduce meaningful and exciting innovations across campaign and multiplayer, and as always, surprise fans with what they aren’t expecting. Microsoft has given the team at 343 Industries extra time to release Halo Infinite, and I am terribly excited to see the promise of what five years of development will amount to. There will be doubters who say Master Chief is a relic of time gone by, but I say: bet against Master Chief at your peril.
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