Halo Infinite may well be one of 2020's most anticipated releases, alongside the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 and a number of other upcoming games. It's not hard to see why, given the intrigue behind it and Microsoft's ambiguity thus far. Frankly speaking, Halo Infinite could go in any number of directions given its release at the launch of the next generation of consoles and the conclusion of Halo 5: Guardians.
Shrouded In Mystery
Indeed, Halo 5: Guardians left off on a nebulous note. However, it also left off on a controversial note. As Forbes pointed out, the game has players take control of Spartan Locke and Master Chief as they both, essentially, chase after Cortana who has been driven mad by power. It was similar to Halo 2, but less intriguing. As such, and spoilers ahead for those who haven't played Halo 5: Guardians, Cortana is ultimately found by Master Chief and Spartan Locke but nothing is done about it.
So this leaves open the question of what will occur in Halo Infinite. Reports have been vague, save those about the game's huge budget, but little of substance has been revealed. The game also had an interesting showing at E3 2019, but, once again, the trailer didn't do much other than show viewers Master Chief's whereabouts at some point within Halo Infinite's narrative. As such, predictions on Halo Infinite's story are quite up to how one views Cortana's power trip at the end of Halo 5. She could well continue on a destructive path, leading to a tragic death at Master Chief's hands. Or she could be saved by Master Chief, as was the case in Halo 3. Of course, either outcome would merit the term "derivative" being used to describe the sequel trilogy's arc, but this would be a sensible conclusion to a familiar setup. Everything appears telegraphed, but it is possible for 343 to pull a fast one.
All of this is most reminiscent of Halo 2's progression into Halo 3, where players saw the ramifications of Cortana being corrupted and trying to psychologically torture Master Chief. However, Halo 3's continuation into Halo 4 was quite a different situation. With Halo 3, players thought they'd been given the series sendoff, with Master Chief having "finished the fight." Such was not the case, and we got to see a thawed Master Chief in Halo 4. He awoke to fight the Guardians, which were an equally threatening force to the Covenant. Halo 4, mostly creatively, found a way to bounce back from what could have been the series' conclusion and led to high-quality entertainment in doing so.
Right now, it's hard to tell how Halo Infinite is ultimately shaping up. It isn't entirely promising to hear of the creative director's departure a year before its release, but Halo Infinite can nonetheless explore a number of possibilities outside those mentioned earlier. The game's budget indicates a massive scale for the game, which gives 343 a lot of breathing room in development. It provides the team with a lot of narrative freedom and ways to revitalize the familiar first-person gunplay. It also means they could get lost and deliver more confusing and controversial twists. Based on the information and footage available, Halo Infinite seems infinitely intriguing, but players' hype is relative to the buildup, which there hasn't been much of.
Halo 5: Guardians didn't exactly have a groundbreaking finale, so the foundation laid for Halo Infinite's continuation isn't incredibly tight. However, there is still much room for clever maneuvering. The game could pull something very experimental, perhaps exploring Master Chief's past, or it could follow the road much traveled. If the footage indicates anything, it's that Halo Infinite's possibilities are endless and our expectations should be adjusted accordingly.