The latest Inside Infinite blog gives more info on the development of Halo Infinite’s campaign world Zeta Halo, as well as more work-in-progress 4K PC screenshots and concept art.
In the Inside Infinite blog post, campaign art lead Justin Dinges says there were two important goals for developing Zeta Halo: “first, to visually show what is happening in current times with the violent occupation of the Banished forces and how it has shaped the landscape of the ring. And second, to create mystery and intrigue around Zeta’s past and ultimate purpose.” According to gameplay director Troy Mashburn, you’ll see “memories of past battles scars the surface, and evidence of bigger events can be seen in the fractured chunks of the Ring floating in the sky.”
What’s really interesting is that world design lead John Mulkey says Halo Infinite will offer more in the way of exploration and discovery: “there are missions that will pull you through the “Golden Path” of the primary narrative, but more than any previous game, we are breaking down the walls to create a more open play space offering exploration and discovery… I often describe the experience offered by Zeta Halo as “Halo unleashed” because it is all the experiences and stories you love from Halo presented in a world where you have so much more freedom to explore and discover unexpected adventures.”
We get a closer look at Zeta Halo in those screenshots, with the devs explaining that the setting is inspired by the Pacific Northwest. Dinges explains how they worked to merge aspects of a real-life biome together with a sci-fi world. “We have introduced the idea that just below Zeta Ring’s organic surface is a forerunner framework of millions of vertical hexagons that make up the ring’s structure. And, due to the extreme damage that Zeta has endured, these hexes are exposed and displaced creating a dynamic landscape that gives us a unique visual and allows for some really fun gameplay,” Dinges says, adding that this "incorporates sci-fi elements into a “real-life biome” for an experience which “aims to be the best of both worlds.”
The blog finishes with a reminder that it’s not an open-world game but “a Halo game; a sandbox shooter where our goal is to make you feel like the most powerful actor in a rich, emergent, sci-fi combat simulation… It’s the most open and adventure-filled Halo game ever. It’s the Halo game we could only dream about making 20 years ago. And we can’t wait for you to explore it.”