The news Halo players have been waiting for is now mostly here. That is, what can we expect from Halo Infinite technical previews? This afternoon, 343 Industries broke down the details. You can find the full post via Halo Waypoint and we’ve summarized the key details for you below. Let’s dive in.
First, as we’ve covered before, make sure that you are fully signed up to be part of the technical previews should you be interested. You can follow our guide here. Per 343:
Please note that registering as a Halo Insider doesn’t guarantee access to technical previews or pre-release hands-on gameplay tests (“flights”). The number of Insiders being invited, and the criteria by which these Insiders are selected, will vary given the specific scope and goals for a flight. For the tech preview, we have concurrency targets tied to our overall goals that will inform how many total Insiders should be invited. Within that pool of players, our first priority will be ensuring we have a broad distribution of platforms (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and different PC configurations) and then we will look at overall tenure in the program, prioritizing our longest standing Insiders, until we’ve allocated every invitation.
Now that you’re signed up, let’s get into the details. Here’s what players can expect along with the areas that 343 will be specifically monitoring:
We are specifically calling this a “technical preview” because we feel it best represents the goals we have, the build itself, and the experience that Insiders will have. As you’ll read below, our key driver and goal is truly technical in nature – we are looking to push our systems and services at a larger scale than we’ve been able to thus far as an important step towards ensuring we are as ready as possible when the flood gates fully open at launch this holiday. Feedback and other insights are certainly valuable, but first and foremost we are testing and stressing the technical side of Halo Infinite.
We also want to be very up front and transparent about the fact that we will certainly have some bumps and rough edges in this build. Our teams have been working hard to ensure that the build and experience is such that it can deliver on our goals, but this is very much still work-in-progress, and we expect some hiccups of varying degrees over the course of the technical preview. For further context, this technical preview is a couple months behind where the development team and ‘main’ game build currently is given the process and time it takes to go through all the gates and steps before releasing to the public.
- Stability: How stable is the game across various hardware specs and platforms? Is the game freezing or crashing at a certain time or on specific hardware? Getting a large-scale sampling of real-world hardware profiles is something we can only really accomplish via a large flight of this nature and as we launch on PC for the first time, this is a critical focus for the team.
- Online Services: Can all our interconnected online services function well at an immense scale? This is our largest bucket since it includes so many intertwined services that need to function in perfect harmony. Matchmaking, server scaling, playlists serving the proper content, challenges, stats (Post Game Carnage Report), Battle Pass progression & Store functionality, armor customization, partying up with friends, etc.
- Halo Insider / Waypoint vNext: Can our Halo Insider communication systems and flighting tools function at scale? How do the Waypoint vNext app (iOS & Android) and web experiences feel and function as extensions of the game?
The technical preview will contain different modes including bots which will help 343 measure effectiveness and allow for ample player feedback. Here are some of the details:
Halo Infinite is the franchise’s first foray into the world of multiplayer Bots. To provide a totally new multiplayer experience for players and to gather feedback on Bot behavior and online performance, we’ll be debuting the Bot Arena playlist, which puts 4 players against 4 Bots on Arena maps.
For this technical preview, the Bot Arena experience will feature Slayer across three maps in this build:
- Bot Slayer on Bazaar, Recharge, and Live Fire
To keep players on their toes and keep the experience engaging, we’re planning for a daily content offering that will evolve over the course of the flight based on the overall engagement of participants. We’re going to intentionally start things off slow to help everyone get acclimated but as the community gets up to speed and slays copious amount of Bots our goal is to crank things up to provide greater challenge and variety.
Bot Arena is a great place to familiarize yourself with Halo Infinite’s gameplay and maps in a stress-free environment. The Bots still have their quirks, which is why we’re flighting them, but they certainly aren’t pushovers. Be prepared.
Academy Weapon Drills
As part of the Academy experience, another first for Halo, Weapon Drills offer players a brand-new way to learn how each weapon functions before entering the heat of battle. Dropping you into a firing range area, that features moving and strafing Bots for target practice, Weapon Drills feature different levels of difficulty and a star rating system. The more damage you deal to the Bots, the higher you’ll score.
In this upcoming technical preview, we’re planning to include the following subset of Weapon Drills:
- MA40 AR
- MK50 Sidekick
- CQS48 Bulldog
- VK78 Commando
- S7 Sniper
- Plasma Pistol
- Pulse Carbine
There have been times at the studio when people would compare their best scores in these Weapon Drills. It always leads to some fun and healthy competition – especially when it comes to the BR and Sniper. Share your best Weapon Drill scores with us by tweeting us @Halo!
Battle Pass, Challenges, Menus, Customization
On top of the gameplay-focused experiences above, we also want to make sure that the game’s menu navigation feels intuitive. We’re especially interested in seeing how players move through the UI to unlock their Battle Passes, check their Challenges, use the Store, and apply their earned customization elements in the Armor Hall.
In order to allow Halo Insiders to unlock their Battle Passes and unlock various customization options, we’ll be granting invited accounts a set amount of in-game credits (cR). Players will be free to use their cR how they see fit, but customization items unlocked during technical previews will not carry over when the game releases later this year.
Similar to how we’re only flighting with a subset of Arena maps and modes, this technical preview will feature a truncated Battle Pass and a small fraction of the Customization options planned for launch. The key focus is to ensure the Battle Pass and Challenge unlocking systems and customization equipping systems are both functioning properly, and hold up at scale. The reasoning for having these Battle Pass, Challenges, and Customization systems in the flight is purely technical, and isn’t meant to be a showcase of our launch content – so please don’t read into it that much.
New Waypoint app and web
Lastly, in coordination with these Halo Infinite technical previews, we will also flighting our new Halo Waypoint web and mobile app experiences. Halo Insiders should be able to view their Battle Pass progression, Challenges, and even customize their Spartans. All Halo Insiders that were invited to the technical preview will be able to view, access, and take advantage of these experiences, which will be directly connected to their profiles in the flight.
We’re extremely interested in hearing what people think about the navigation and functionality on web, iOS, and Android. You can learn more about the updates coming to Halo Waypoint by reading our latest Inside Infinite here!
We know the largest question now is, “When is the technical preview!?” The release of this blog means we’re getting very close but flighting itself is a fluid process, we need to ensure we’ve successfully cleared our final gate before we’re officially a go. That said, we’ve been given the okay to say our first Bot-focused technical preview could happen as soon as next weekend. Prior to the flight starting, we’re planning a live stream where we’ll dive into the actual build and walk through nearly every facet of the technical preview. Stay tuned.
We’ll be hosting hundreds of thousands of Halo Insiders during the first technical preview and then, if all goes well, we’ll invite even more eligible Halo Insiders for the next flight. We want to start at a reasonable number of participants before potentially going to a much larger player pool, but our goal is to eventually get every eligible Halo Insider a chance to go hands-on and help us achieve our goals on the road to launch. Remember, if you don’t get in this time, please don’t despair – more opportunities will come.
And yes, the technical preview will be all good to stream and create content around. Feel free to share your experience with us and with others! We’ll have even more specifics to share about the technical preview as soon as we’re locked, so be sure to follow @Halo on Twitter for the latest news and info. Until then, stay frosty and thank you for your continued support, we can’t wait to take this next step together!