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Spoilers for all Halo games preceding this one will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

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"You have one bullet against an entire army! What can you do on your own?"
"I told you. It's enough."
Echo-216 and Master Chief
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Halo Infinite is a direct sequel in the Halo series to Halo 5: Guardians, developed by 343 Industries and published by Xbox Game Studios. First announced at E3 2018 at Microsoft's press briefing by showing it will use a proprietary engine dubbed "Slipspace", the game's campaign mode was released on December 8, 2021 on Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S, while the beta multiplayer mode became free-to-play on all platforms in November 15, 2021; all progress, however, carried over to its official release alongside the campaign.

Almost two years after humanity suffered a crushing blow at the hands of the Created, the still-reeling UNSC struggles to get back on its feet and counter Cortana's forces, while also dealing with attacks from the Banished, led by the Brute Atriox. However, they have recently tracked down Cortana's location to the newly-discovered Installation 07 ("Zeta Halo"), and intend to corner her there. UNSC Spartan John-117 "Master Chief," Cortana's former partner and friend, takes part in the operation to capture her, embarking with a fleet led by the UNSC Infinity, the pride and flagship of the entire UNSC Navy.

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Things do not go as planned.

As the UNSC reaches Zeta Halo, they are ambushed by a massive Banished fleet, led by Atriox himself. The situation spirals out of control as the Infinity is severely damaged and compromised, and Master Chief is seemingly Thrown Out the Airlock by Atriox. In a span of minutes, Humanity's most powerful ship, and their most powerful soldier, are defeated.

Master Chief awakens in the back of an adrift Pelican by its pilot, the vessel's sole occupant who informs John that six months have passed; in that time, the survivors of the Infinity and her fleet landed on Zeta Halo and got locked in a losing battle with the Banished occupying the Ring, but an unknown cataclysm has occurred that has destroyed one of the sections, and caused the entire structure to slipspace jump itself—and everything around it including the embattled UNSC and Banished—into an unknown region of space, stranding them all.

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With no way to return home, and the Banished out to hunt him down to the end, Master Chief launches a one-man counterattack on the ring, with the reluctant help of the Pelican pilot, where he'll reunite humanity's scattered forces and discover more secrets of the Forerunners. Some of Zeta Halo's secrets, however, were probably best left forgotten, and Master Chief's battle to retake the ring is opposed by Escharum, the mentor of Atriox himself, who sees Chief as his Worthy Opponent and would like nothing better than to face him in a final, climactic battle.

The multiplayer component is available separately from the campaign and is free-to-play, following your Spartan-IV recruit as they train under the mentorship of Commander Laurette Agryna. New features include the ability to choose a personal AI who can relay objective updates to you mid-game, an expanded 12 vs. 12 Big Team Battle mode, and a suite of new practice features such as a firing range and the ability to play against bots.

Two novels exist which serve as prequels to this game. Halo: Shadows of Reach follows Blue Team on a mission to recover technology that could counter the Created while fighting off Banished forces, while Halo: The Rubicon Protocol chronicles the actions of stranded UNSC forces in the early stages of the Zeta Halo conflict.


Halo Infinite provides examples of:

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    General Tropes 
  • Abandon Ship: A UNSC log details how the Spartans abandoned the Infinity, with Sorel telling the rest of the squad that the ship is doomed, and to begin evacuation to the Ring.
  • Airborne Mook: Infinite introduces the Skimmers; small, imp-like creatures equipped with hover packs resembling wings. Partially averted in that Skimmers aren't considered true flying enemies such as the Drones (Yanme'e) or Promethean Watchers; instead, their hover packs allow them to "skim" across the ground. Brute Captains are also equipped with Jump-Packs, and Sentinels are also occasionally fought.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: In the concluding cutscene for the level "Pelican Down", Chief reunites with the Pilot after destroying the Anti-Air Cannons and disposing of the Spartan Killers Hyperius and Tovarus. Emerging from a hidden compartment within a separate downed Pelican, the Pilot is an emotional wreck; of the three Condor wreckages he had scoured, all of their slipspace drives had been destroyed and, with them, his aspirations to escape the installation. He confesses to Chief that he isn't a pilot or soldier, but he stole that pelican because he was so terrified and living with that knowledge leaves him in agony. He questions Chief's ability to empathize, but Chief explains his failure with Cortana and the weight that has on him.
  • Action Survivor: The Pelican pilot who finds Master Chief, Echo-216, is something of a deconstruction. He DOES NOT like being drawn in Chief's heroics and, while obedient and reliable, it is obvious being stranded for six months alone has not done well for his mental health. He eventually confesses that he actually stole the pelican during the attack in order to escape, and has been living with that guilt the entire time.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Banished's contingent of Skirmishers consists entirely of female Ruutian Jackals.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The game ends with Chief, The Weapon and Echo-216 heading off to continue fighting the Banished on the ring.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The new "AI Scan" mechanic; at the push of a button, a 360-degree environmental scan is emitted in a fairly generous radius around the player's current position. Dropped/unused weaponry/grenades/equipment, unoccupied vehicles and mission/gamemode objectives caught within this scan will be briefly highlighted on the player's HUD, displayed as blue, holographic silhouettes that can be seen even through obstructing geometry. This allows the player to immediately ascertain the combat tools available around them, without the game relying on distractingly obvious or permanent HUD outlines.
    • Much like other games that feature such systems, Infinite's Ping mechanic allows the player to mark locations, weapons and objects of importance to allies, with the ping icon turning red in the presence of an enemy.
      • When the player is driving a vehicle capable of accepting multiple passengers (Mongoose, all Warthog variants, etc.), honking the horn while moving at slow speeds or when stationary pings the vehicle's location to the driver's allies, along with the number of vacant seats available on the vehicle.
    • New to the series are Banished ammo stations for each of the game's 5 ammunition types (Kinetic, Plasma, Shock, Hardlight and Power), from which the player can restock their held weapons of the corresponding ammunition type. This reduces instances where the player is forced to either scavenge ammo from that exact specific weapon or be forced to exchange it for a different gun.
    • In a series first, plasma weaponry can now be recharged from dropped instances of the same weapon, eliminating the need to constantly swap out the same weapon due to one having more reserve ammo than the player's currently-held one.
    • A number of driveable vehicles have spots for passengers, particularly the Mongoose with a seat on the back for a (rear-facing) passenger. Assuming you don't flip the vehicle, the passenger will simply remain glued to the seat, regardless of what gyrations you happen to put the vehicle through.
    • When clearing out areas with high numbers of enemies, once you've whittled them down far enough you will get waypoint markers for those who are left. This helps you to officially clear out locations so that the next checkpoint will trigger without having to find those enemies who got stuck on a rock and don't know what to do.
    • Drivable vehicles now feature a "Doomsday mechanic" where, upon their health reaching zero, the vehicle starts glowing red before ultimately detonating, giving the driver and passengers a few precious seconds to decide whether to bail from the vehicle or go out in a blaze of glory. Note that this mechanic only initiates so long as a certain damage threshold is not exceeded; doing so with a particularly high-damage weapon (Skewer, Rocket Launcher, etc.) will often bypass this sequence and immediately destroy the vehicle.
    • Enemy one-hit kill attacks have largely been removed, at least on Normal difficulty. Even without shield upgrades, as long as your shields are full you can survive an energy sword or gravity hammer hit or even a direct plasma grenade stick. A direct hit from a Wraith's mortar cannon will still kill you, but you'd have to be pretty stationary to get hit by that. The flip side of that is that Red/Major/Officer rank or higher Brutes or Elites can also survive previously one-hit-kill attacks such as plasma grenade sticks or even direct rocket launcher hits.
    • Shielded enemies have a more obvious shimmer even when not being attacked, to help clarify which weapons would be advisable. Brute shields are red and look more saturated in their lower body, while Elite shields have a white electrical streaking effect.
  • Apocalyptic Log: You can find Audio Logs scattered around the world that tell parts of stories from UNSC, Banished and even Forerunner perspectives. It is a Foregone Conclusion that very few of them end well.
  • Arc Words: Throughout the campaign Chief regularly hears what sounds like Cortana saying "If you knew how you’re going to die, how would you live your life differently?" It isn't until the end we fully understand the context. When separated from the Forerunner Domain and at Atriox's mercy, Cortana had a Heel Realization where despite all of her grandstanding of protecting humanity she was only setting herself up for failure. In the first and last time we hear her utter it, it's prefaced by the line "Would you humor me?" She asked that question to Atriox (who responded he would change nothing), which gave her the motivation to make things right. She was the one who caused the damage to the ring and prevented the Weapon from being deleted, knowing she wouldn't survive past this.
  • Armored But Frail: Elite bosses have very powerful shields but are relatively squishy once those shields are down (though they do have somewhat more health than regular enemies). Brute bosses, in contrast, have average shielding but can survive multiple rocket launcher shots even with their shields down. Elite bosses typically are faster and utilize cloaking devices to compensate.
  • Art Evolution: More of an art merger; the overall artstyle of the game has been revamped since the first two games of the Reclaimer Saga, combining art/design aspects from both the Bungie and 343 Industries eras of the Halo series. Promotional material, especially the Gameplay Premiere demo and Gameplay Trailer of the Campaign from July 2020, showcase a lot of these changes in detail.
    • The overall art design and presentation is more vibrant, colourful and brightly lit, with sharper shadows and cleaner textures compared to the muted colours, softer lighting and grittier detailing the series had been leaning towards before.
    • The original Mjolnir Mark IV, V ([B]), and VI GEN1 armours seen in the Bungie games featured thickset bodysuits that acted as a near-seamless intermediary between the armour and flexible joints. This contrasted heavily with the Mjolnir Mark VI GEN2 introduced in the Reclaimer Saga, which resembled slim bodysuits with armour pieces bolted over top. Among several criticisms of this redesign was that, while Master Chief himself was okay, the unique designs in the Spartan customization were indistinct (the bodysuit altered between smooth/textured materials and incorporated some of the player's armour colours, making it difficult to distinguish where the suit ended and the armor began). The Mark VI GEN3 featured in Infinite takes several ideas from GEN2note , but would otherwise be seen as a direct continuation of the Mark Vi GEN1 (the bodysuit is all a rubberised black, allowing the coloured metal armour to stand out better). An In-Universe justification is that the new armour allows for modular adjustments of its capabilities.
    • The shield animation for the Mjolnir armor in all prior games was an indistinct golden glow emitting away from the character; elites had a few more varieties of color but the same basic idea. This game redesigns the look of the Mjolnir armor shield to be crisper looking golden hexagonal patterns that form a barrier tightly across the entire body. This actually resembles deployable equipment from previous games like the bubble shield. Elite, Skirmisher and Grunt shields have a blue/white coloring with an electrical pattern, while Brute shields are red with a horizontal ringed design that gets more saturated towards the feet.
    • UNSC weapon design philosophy is a return to that of the earlier Halo games, and their insistence on weapons looking practical, slightly beat-up and like a natural evolution of modern-day weaponry. 343-era games had focussed on UNSC weapons looking more futuristic (the Battle Rifle or Shotgun) or technologically advanced (the Railgun or Hydra) than before. This game leans back towards Bungie's vision for the most part: It returns several long-running weapons such as the Battle Rifle to their classic looks, tweaks newer weapons like the Hydra to look a bit more practical, and introduces a host of new weapons which look like they could roll off a real-world production line in a decade; the MK50 Sidekick would not look out of place alongside a SIG Sauer, while the VK78 Commando is intended to be outdated by in-universe standards.
    • The technology utilised by Covenant Remnant in Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians emphasised a more organic, insectoid aesthetic (even more so than traditional Covenant technology), with bulbous silhouettes and layered carapaces being the most dominating aspects. In contrast, the Banished is a faction built on the principles of reclaiming and repurposing any and all technology they acquire, irrespective of age or former affiliation. The end result is all forms of Covenant technology from across the franchise's history being married under the Banished's signature homebrewed up-armaments and red/silver theme.
    • In general, the alien species within the Banished return to a more classic design orientation, though not without abandoning key design aspects introduced in later titles:
      • Remnant Grunts were considerably stockier than past iterations, with Halo 5's Grunts bearing a more outwardly crustacean appearance than the slimmer, lightly-insectoid Bungie grunts or Halo 4's pseudo-reptilian Grunts. The low-ranking Storm Grunts were of particular note, given their bugged-out eyes and their odd methane nose-tube rebreathers, which replaced the traditional pacifier-like gas masks. Banished Grunts merge several elements from all grunts across the series; the slimmer overall build and beady eyes of the Bungie Grunts, reptilian scales from 4 and crustacean skin from 5. This also applies to their combat harnesses, with Grunt Imperials being seen alongside traditional gasmask-wearing Grunt Minors and Reach Grunt Ultras.
      • Remnant Jackals were represented by the Ibie'shan sub-species of Kig-Yar, which were noticeably more reptilian and lizardlike than the avian Ruutian subspecies seen in the Bungie games. Banished Jackals return to being comprised of Ruutians, though they are now capable of speaking in broken English like the Ibie'shan in Halo 5.
      • Remnant Elites were more animalistic and lightly armoured, resembling lumbering trolls with pale skin, a hunched-over posture and misshapen mandibles. To better distinguish themselves from the Brutes, Banished Elites utilise their slim, athletic and dark-skinned builds from Halo 2: Anniversary, paired with the heavier armour, upright stance and more defined foot structure from Halo: Reach.
      • The Brutes closely evoke their appearance in Halo 3 in terms of alien design and armor. The armor generally comes across as more functional, strapped together over a leather undersuit and downplays the ceremonial look for something that more closely resembles samurai.
      • Banished Hunters are identical appearance-wise to their Halo 5 counterparts, but now sport a more vibrant colouration of Halo: Combat Evolved for both their armour and exposed skin.
    • Traditional Covenant weapons are a mix of 343i's sleeker designs with the aesthetics of Bungie's. The Plasma Pistol is directly based on the model from 5, but with a new color palette that harkens back to the classic purple tones of the Covenant of Combat Evolved and 2. The Pulse Carbine (a successor to the Storm Rifle, which in turn replaced the Plasma Rifle) follows a very similar design logic, while the Needler is a fusion of just about every design that came before it.
    • Forerunner architecture in the Bungie-era games sported heavy emphasis on enormous brutalist megastructures, simplistic shapes combined with sharp angles, detailed textures, a fabrication aesthetic alongside technological details like holograms, circuitry and energy pulses that imply greater, unfathomable purpose. While predominantly a dull gunmetal color, chromes, copper and brass were also included for variety, while the lighting was relied on more to set the right tone for a level. Reclaimer-era Forerunner architecture retained the brutalist aspects, but placed greater emphasis on grooves and indentations within the shapes, streamlined to a more uniform aesthetic: multi-layered models conveying a more "techno-organic" appearance, near-exclusive use of chrome metals saturated in orange or blue lighting and added parts of a design that floats nearby rather than being directly attached. Infinite's aesthetic is more reminiscent of the Bungie era, though it doesn't shy away from all facets of the Reclaimer-era's aesthetic. Complex, multi-faceted geometry is subtly complemented by more detailed texturing, lighting is utilized at varying intensities for added variety, the structures have a sharper metallic sheen to them and unusual gravity physics are still hinted at.
      • The In-Universe explanation for the Forerunner design differences seen in Halo 4 was that they dealt with different subsets of Forerunner architecture. The Bungie-era focused on the Halos and the Ark, while the Reclaimer-era took us to shield worlds and outposts, which were managed by different facets of the Forerunner society. Given that Halo Infinite returns to a Halo installation (after not setting foot on one since 3) if anything this tracks with that original statement.
    • Forerunner weapons in the Bungie games were limited to the Sentinel Beam, which was less a traditional weapon as it was salvaged from the charred remains of destroyed Sentinels and possessed a rather inscrutable profile. The Reclaimer saga's Promethean arsenal was comprised of fairly standard FPS weapons in principle (pistol, assault rifle, precision rifle, shotgun, sniper, rocket launcher), with little difference from their UNSC counterparts beyond superficial damage quirks, ornamental chrome aesthetic, orange Hard Light projectiles and the occasional Secondary Fire. Infinite's Forerunner weaponry possess radically unique design aspects compared to the Promethean arsenal, fulfilling more unorthodox/esoteric combat weapon roles (chiefly exemplified by the Heatwave's ricocheting projectiles and wielder-adjustable firing pattern). Their designs are also very minimalist to the point of barely resembling handheld firearms at first glance, and fire purple-coloured Hard Light with subtle orange tinting.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Infinite has been praised for having some of the more competent allies in the series:
      • Marines will dynamically upgrade their held weapon when given the opportunity, scavenging superior guns off of dead bodies or weapon racks.
      • When mounting vehicles, Marines will choose seats in accordance with the type of weapon they wield; so long as at least one other Marine is present in the player's squad, a rocket launcher-wielding Marine will prioritise a Warthog's passenger seat over its gunner seat.
      • When following the player as part of a squad, Marines have remarkably good pathfinding in the open world and can follow your cliff-jumping, grappling hook Spiderman swinging ass halfway across the map.
    • The Banished demonstrate a considerable number of AI upgrades compared to previous enemy factions:
      • Much like Marines, Brutes and Elites will also dynamically pick up better weapons laying around on the battlefield. Brutes go one step further, grabbing nearby fusion coils or even suicide grunts that wander into their path and lobbing them at enemies.
      • Certain ranks of Brutes and Elites now carry two weapons and can switch between them on the fly during combat. A key example is Brute Snipers, who will swap from their Skewer/Shock Rifle to a Mangler/Disruptor to more effectively combat the player in close quarters. Elite Ultras and Generals will also draw an energy sword if the player closes in on them, much like how Ultras did in Halo 2 (without becoming enraged or discarding their primary weapon, at least).
      • Breaking an Elite Ultra's or General's energy shield will cause them to engage active camouflage, throwing enemies off their position while they fall back to recharge their shields.
      • In a touch of realism, any enemy equipped with some form of energy shielding (Jackals, Skirmishers, Elites, etc.) has shields may not have it active if encountered at ease outside of combat. As soon as they are alerted to an enemy presence, they'll switch their shields on. So you may stumble across an encampment and get a chance to snipe a high-ranking enemy with their shields down before the alarm is raised.
  • Artificial Limbs: Escharum's Dragon, Blademaster Jega 'Rdomnai, is an Elite with a prosthetic left arm. The lore around the character says he was part of a special team who was maimed in combat. The Covenant was anti-prosthetic and fellow Elites felt he had lost his honour, but he instead found himself allying with the Banished, whose entire premise was rejecting the needless dogma of the Covenant.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Some aspects of the friendly marine A.I. are still in an "early access" state.
      • They will happily stand in burning plasma residue until they die (and will blame you for "killing" them) and generally don't seem to recognize temporary environmental hazards.
      • When at FOBs, they also have a nasty habit of standing on the vehicle deployment pad, failing to steer clear of any incoming vehicle drops. This will typically result in the marines getting crushed beneath said vehicle drop, especially larger ones like Scorpions.
    • Enemies piloting vehicles will automatically bail from them upon suffering enough damage to enter the "doomsday" state... including Banshee pilots, who won't bother with descending to a safer altitude first and end up plummeting to their deaths.
    • Occasionally, Jackals and Grunts armed with Needlers will fire at you from beyond the weapon's maximum range, not seeming to notice the projectiles disappearing in midair before they could possibly hit you.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • Spartans in full armor are supposed to weigh about 1,000 pounds, which realistically would cause significant damage to the environment just by walking, let alone some of their acrobatics, and past gameplay will show them being pushed by a gentle stream. Cutscenes in this game make a point of showing how durable and heavy Master Chief is, as he gets batted around he will whip warthogs around on impact and go straight through trees from his density and inertia. When Chief kneels beside Echo-216 in one scene, the ground visibly shakes a little.
    • If the player grapples anything that isn't either something that can be picked up/held or is otherwise an invalid grappling target, Chief will always be pulled towards the grappled target, regardless of whether its weight is exceeded by Chief's own. Lampshaded by a rare dialogue snippet that occurs when grappling a Grunt:
      Grappled Grunt OK, there is no WAY that I weigh more than you!
  • Ascended Meme:
    • Multiple references to "Craig", the Fan Nickname for the pre-release iteration of the Brutes:
      • The top of the Tower has a shrine near the IWHBYD skull featuring a makeshift guitar (which will play music if you melee it), a greatest hits album with the original Craig image on the cover, and a mock tour poster.
      • One line from Banished propaganda towers:
      Glibnub: Hey, we got a Craig out there? I keep hearing about some loser named Craig.
      • There's even a rock formation which strongly resembles "Craig"'s face being struck by Chief's fist.
  • Attack Reflector: A new piece of equipment showcased is the Repulsor, which if timed right can reflect projectiles right back to their sender. The "A New Generation" trailer showcases a Spartan sending back a charged Plasma Pistol bolt this way, setting the target up for an easy headshot.
  • Audience Surrogate: Even from the few trailers alone, we know that the Pelican pilot's main priority is to get the HELL away from the Ring as quickly as possible, and he's predictably sour about being roped into the Chief's usual heroics. He's also terrified of being left alone to fend for himself while Chief goes to "shoot his way out", as most of the audience would be.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: This game introduces the Razorback, a new vehicle that resembles an up-armoured Troop Transport Warthog and serves a similar role, though with the added benefit of a rear-mounted rack from which Support or certain Power Weapons can be stored onto, with two additional slots for fusion coils. The turret is removed and replaced with seating for four additional passengers. Especially if they are properly armed, having five allies with rocket launchers easily outstrips the firepower of a turret gunner and one passenger.
  • Badass Boast: Marine companions are most likely to be giving them this time around.
    Marine: (sniping an enemy) Did you see that? Hope you were all taking notes.
  • Balance Buff: To make them viable in the large open-world environment, all weapons, even unscoped ones, can now be zoomed in slightly (similar to many mid-00 games like Doom³, Just Cause, F.E.A.R.), etc. Automatic weapons also deal bonus damage on headshots, similar to Halo 5. Weapons such as the MA40 Assault Rifle benefit greatly from these balance buffs.
  • Bash Brothers: As Master Chief clears out forward operating bases and rescues the various marine squads scattered across the open world, they will pick up weapons and assist you in clearing out Banished fortifications. It is basically the second level of Combat Evolved, "Halo", ramped up to be an active part of the entire game. Even more, they will follow you a surprising distance away, to where you think you have to One-Man Army through a territory only to find back-up right behind you.
  • Bayonet Ya: Following the trend set by the Brute Shot since Halo 2 and each subsequent instance of Brute weaponry, nearly all Banished-original weapons incorporate a blade into their design:
    • The Ravager and Skewer feature large, sword-length blades extending forward from the foregrip.
    • The Mangler features two long blades that extend downwards from the barrel, resembling a pair of fangs.
    • The Shock Rifle features a more subtle blade that curves around the edge of the foregrip, similarly to the Brute Shot.
  • BFG: The Banished Skewer; a muzzle-loaded Anti-Tank sniper rifle that fires rocket-sized spikes capable of one-shotting infantry/light vehicles and severely crippling anything tougher. Clearly crafted for the larger frames of Jiralhanae, this typically under-arm-held hunk of metal is so cumbersome that other species are forced to use it shoulder-mounted.
  • Big "YES!": The Pilot's ecstatic response to successfully powering up the Chief's suit.
  • Bookends: The game begins with Echo-216 awakened in his seat by the Pelican's alert system saying the ship made contact with something ("Signal detected"), and that it was a UNSC tag and friendly. During the mid-credits, Echo-216 is once again awakened in his seat by the alert system, and once again it's a friendly UNSC tag. Only this time, Master Chief is there, too. Whatever it is, it's not revealed.
    Echo-216: Chief... you're not going to believe this...
  • Boom, Headshot!: Similar to Halo 5, headshots from automatic weapons now deal extra damage, whereas in previous Halo games only precision weapons could score headshots.
  • Boring, but Practical: As you gain Valor and eliminate Banished High-Value Targets, you'll unlock an arsenal of all kinds of impressive weaponry, but few can beat the accuracy, simplicity, high ammo capacity and close-to-long range capabilities of the humble BR75 Battle Rifle, which will serve you well as a primary weapon throughout the entire campaign.
  • Boss Battle: Previous Halo games have played with boss encounters, particularly Halo 2 and the recurring Warden Eternal of Halo 5, but this game integrates these fights extensively into the overall narrative. The game features numerous named enemies who are mostly part of the Banished hierarchy and have unique weapon combinations and movement but still behave relative to the alien species they are a part of, with a health bar indicating how close they are to defeat (something previously only seen in co-op multiplayer Spartan Ops and Warzone). Most are really quite straightforward, as their health and shields are maybe three times more than a regular enemy rather than being complete bullet sponges. Bosses in Infinite come in two varieties:
    • Narrative bosses, which are fought exclusively in tailor-made arenas during campaign levels and, excluding Adjutant Resolution and the Harbinger, are distinguished by their armour being coloured either gold or red and black (the latter which denotes affiliation with the Hand of Atriox or "Spartan Killers")
    • High-Value Targets, which are fought exclusively in the open world (giving the player a few more options on how to approach them) and all of whom wear dark maroon armour.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: Given the proliferation of actual boss enemies in the campaign, that makes these examples more notable. In some cases, the only difference between them and the official boss enemies is the lack of a health bar and dedicated arena to fight them in, so one may take you completely by surprise in the open world.
    • Hunters, by tradition, are relatively slow-moving enemies but have a ton of health and heavy firepower, with some red variants that are even more deadly.
    • Brute Chieftans are especially dangerous, their resilient energy shielding combined with heavy armour allowing them to withstand multiple tank shells worth of ordinance. They will typically deliver swift player deaths in two flavours:
      • Scrap Cannon Chieftains will mow down anything in their path using their high damage-per-shot scrap cannons, be it player or vehicle. They're able to lead their shots effectively enough to knock out even those that liberally employ the Grappleshot and Thruster.
      • Gravity Hammer Chieftains sport surprisingly high mobility for their bulk; a deadly combination with their one-hit gravity hammer. If you don't pay attention, they'll also employ a *homing* lunge where they will leap from 50 feet away, even adjusting their trajectory slightly in order to hit you.
  • Boss-Only Level: The Spire mission only has two combat encounters; your first fight against Hunters at the entrance and a boss fight against the sub-Monitor Adjutant Resolution in the control room.
  • Broken Bridge: The space in the open world which can be freely explored gradually expands as you complete story missions. It is possible to get to other areas early with some trickery, but otherwise, the four main landmasses in this game are disconnected, with bridges extending to connect them either once you're reached them in-story, or via a switch if you've crossed the gap.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • With the reintroduction of a more clearly defined colour-based ranking system, a lot of legacy Covenant ranks mark their definitive return either in full (Grunt Ultras, Elite Officers/Ultras/Generals) or under Banished-appropriate renames (Grunt Conscripts are equivalent to Minors, Elite Mercenaries to Minors, etc.).
    • While Halo Wars 2 already marked the Jiralhanae's return to the franchise proper, Infinite still holds the honour of seeing the Brutes return as enemies in a mainline FPS Halo title since Halo: Reach. The Chopper and Spike Grenades also return, having been absent since Halo 3: ODST.
      • Brute Minors are depicted almost exactly as they were in Reach, with no energy shielding and roughly the same level of durability. Slightly higher ranking Brutes wear Power Armor that functions similar to that of the Halo 3 Brutes (though it doesn't fly apart once the shields are down).
    • After having been supplanted by the Ibie'shan (reptilian) Jackal subspecies in 4 and 5, Ruutian (avian) Jackals return in their infantry/marksman roles since Reach.
    • Skirmishers make a surprising return, having previously been exclusively seen in Reach. Subverted in that the ones in Infinite are explicitly depicted as Ruutian females instead of T'vaoans.
    • Sentinels make their grand return as proper enemies in a Halo game for the first time since Halo 3. In addition, the gold-plated Sentinels also make a surprising return, last seen as a one-off enemy type in Halo 2.
    • Offensive Bias, the super-intelligent and hyper-lethal Forerunner A.I who commanded the final battles with the Flood and was last heard from in the terminal entries of Halo 3, is revealed to be stationed on Zeta Halo to keep watch over the Endless.
  • Bus Crash: Potentially several established characters are now dead following the Great Offscreen War, but none are explicitly identified. The closest to such a case is Spartan Locke, whose helmet is worn on the shoulder of one boss character, which was also revealed beforehand in a Mega Bloks set, but is never commented on in-game.
  • Call-Back:
    • The E3 2019 trailer recalls Cortana's Halo 3 speech.
      Cortana: I chose you because you were special. I knew we would be perfect together. And I was right.
    • The Weapon echoes Roland's Armor-Piercing Question from 5: "What did she [Cortana] do that was so wrong?" In her case, however, she's just looking for exposition.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: One of the objectives you can fulfil is the destruction of Banished Propaganda Towers, which broadcast messages from a Grunt communications officer. Their propaganda messages are a mix of the communications officer giving some insight into life in the Banished's forces and demoralising remarks towards the scant UNSC remnants still on the ring. As the player progresses, these reports gradually devolved into hilariously transparent attempts to cover up the Master Chief's dismantling of the Banished's garrisons and leadership.
  • Central Theme: The game revolves around coping with tragedy, for Master Chief, for Echo-216, for The Weapon, for Cortana, even for Atriox and Escharum.
  • Character Tic: The Weapon's Badass Fingersnap, which leads to the Awful Truth for her: she's an exact clone of Cortana, who at that point has become a genocidal maniac.
  • The Chosen One: Lampshaded by Escharum telling humanity that pinning all their hopes on a single hero is idiotic.
  • Closed Circle: It's unclear on the Banished side, but it seems that no UNSC ships with functioning slipspace drives remain, leaving everyone stranded on Zeta Halo. Besides the opening level raiding a Banished ship that you eventually destroy, the entirety of the campaign takes place in one Wide-Open Sandbox and roughly one day. The "return to battlefield" notification for going out of bounds has a Freeze-Frame Bonus where you can see that it is apparently enforced by the Cole Protocol. Since the Chief is carrying an AI, it appears that the Cole Protocol has been updated to automatically terminate AI and their carriers if they leave their expected operational zones as a countermeasure against the Created. The Multiplayer dialogue suggests that the rest of the UNSC lost all contact with the Infinity and Master Chief, and are continuing as normal.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The sub-Monitor in charge of the Spires, Adjutant Resolution, has many of the strange mannerisms that 343 Guilty Spark had. Chief is unsurprised and totally prepared for his sudden but inevitable betrayal.
  • Collapsing Lair: At the very end of the game, the Silent Auditorium begins collapsing after the Harbinger is defeated.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The open map has color-coded objectives depending on difficulty, MMO-style.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Mangler, a new weapon that functions as a Banished pistol (and filling the same niche that the Punch-Packing Pistol of previous games did), takes its visual design and silhouette from the Mauler.
    • The Razorback, a new Warthog variant vehicle that serves as an armored troop transport, was first mentioned in the Halo universe all the way back in I Love Bees as the vehicle Jan went for a joyride in.
    • The Unspoken trailer takes place on board Anchor 9, a major location in Halo: Reach.
    • In the intro, Atriox delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle to Master Chief and declares his face to be the last thing he will ever see, similar to the final encounter between Sergeant John Forge and Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee.
    • The three passwords for activating The Weapon’s failsafe deletion protocol are "RED FLAG, 034, and Samuel".
    • In one of the UNSC audio logs, while torturing a captive Marine the Harbinger references the Gravemind in Halo 2.
    Harbinger: Quiet! I shall talk and you shall listen.
    • In a later log, Lucas Brown, the unfortunate victim of the Harbinger's "talk" rambles his serial number as a Madness Mantra—Keyes would repeat his name, rank, and serial number to try to keep ahold of himself while being subsumed by The Flood.
    • The HVT profile for Ik'novus the Devourer mentions him having served in the Covenant under Thrallslayer, a.k.a. the "Brute Chieftain" leader introduced in Halo Wars.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Storyline bosses can't be killed instantly with headshots, even after you shoot off their helmets. Headshots do some extra damage against them, but you'll still need to pump lots of rounds into them to kill them. This doesn't apply to the assassination target HVTs, who can still be taken out with headshots barring the usual energy shields or helmets.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: The Banished may share the same species as the Covenant, but are a completely different force in terms of their attitude and approach.
    • The Covenant Empire was a long-lived religious hegemony whose every aspect of being revolved around the worship of the Forerunners; a conglomeration of starkly different species rife with corruption and infighting, held together by the promise of spiritual ascendancy through "The Great Journey" through activation of the Halo rings. The Banished are a rapidly rising power comprised of outcasts, mercenaries and others who had grown disillusioned with the Covenant's lies, structured under a ruthlessly meritocratic ideology that values strength regardless of origin or species.
    • The Covenant held the Forerunners to such a zealous degree of worship, that interactions with their technology were heavily restricted and subject to layers of religious bureaucracy; a fatal flaw that stymied technological advancement within the empire and was frequently leveraged by the opposition, contributing to their downfall as the lies of the "Great Journey" started falling apart. The Banished bear so little reverence for the Forerunners that they gladly use/abuse their technology in ways that the old Covenant would have deemed heretical, ultimately affording them increased flexibility when dealing with foes.
    • With humanity as their sworn enemy, UNSC weaponry was viewed by the Covenant with considerable disdain, to the degree that the usage of it under any circumstance was deemed as an act of heresy. While the Brutes didn't entirely adhere to this doctrine (as demonstrated by their prolific usage of M90 Shotguns in Halo 2), the Banished take this one step further by fully incorporating UNSC technology into their war machine and actively hoard and repurpose their weapons accordingly, with many infantry units fielding Commandos, Bulldogs and even SPNKrs into combat.
    • Further highlighting the Covenant's fanatical dogma, the Spartan supersoldiers (Master Chief in particular) had garnered enough infamy within the Covenant military to afford them the mythical title of "Demon". While the moniker hasn't completely worn off (Elites and the occasional Grunt will still refer to Chief as "The Demon"), the Banished are more likely to label Chief as simply "Spartan" or his full title with an air of respect, reflecting their near-absolute dismissal of myth and superstition.
    • In terms of aesthetics, Covenant equipment and vehicles feature "organic"-looking designs with smooth curves in varying shades of pink, purple and occasionally blue. Banished technology compounds on the aesthetic of brute technology, with decidedly more angular designs complemented with sharp edges/blades/spikes, dominated by a colour palette of black, silver and red.
    • Halo 4 and 5 featured Jul 'Mdama's Covenant Remnant, who maintained the rigid caste system of the original Covenant and sought to continue the war against humanity despite their dwindling resources and support. They were never seen as anything more than a nuisance who required the Prometheans as semi-allies to not be completely steamrolled by the revitalized UNSC forces and the Arbiter's Swords of Sangheilios. In contrast, the Banished are introduced as smashing the UNSC in the aftermath of Halo 5's ending, taking advantage of the chaos sown by the Created War to emerge from the shadows and properly stake their claim in the galaxy.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Master Chief's Virtual Sidekick is "The Weapon", a Replacement Goldfish for Cortana and a Naïve Newcomer. This exaggerates the Chief/Cortana relationship as he is the impulsive action hero while The Weapon is befuddled by his exploits. Furthermore, she's dressed in formal military attire compared to Cortana's various near-nude appearances. Similarly, the pilot Echo-216 is not a seasoned soldier like many of Chief's allies but a regular person who is being asked to do things well above his training and abilities.
  • Crow's Nest Cartography: The map features Forward Operating Bases, which once liberated reveal surrounding points of interest, serve as gathering points for Marines, let you set up your weapon and vehicle loadouts and serve as Fast Travel points.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Atriox beats the everloving stuffing out of Master Chief in the opening cutscene.
    Master Chief: Atriox beat me. Surgically. Precisely. Brutally.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Though he still loses the fight badly, Chief still gets several good hits in on Atriox, enough to actually stagger him backwards briefly. Not to mention that he comes very close to shooting him in the head with a pistol before Atriox smashes it out of Chief's hand with his energy mace.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Throwing grenades is now on the left shoulder button, while activating your power (grapple, shield, etc.) is on the right shoulder, while melee is a right thumbstick click.
  • Degraded Boss: Adjutant Resolution is your first Forerunner enemy, attacking you within a large Sentinel body. Though regular Sentinels are quite different to Adjutant Resolution, the basic tenant of their eyes being their weak point carries over.
  • The Determinator: While he will sometimes pause to acknowledge the emotional struggle Echo-216 is having or trying to be supportive to The Weapon, Master Chief is laser-focused on the mission and barely hesitates when any manner of obstacle comes their way, from an enemy carrier to being shot down by anti-aircraft guns.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • The very beginning of the game has you do the traditional "look at the lights in four directions" tutorial. If you take your time to look at the lights, the Pilot will sport increasingly confused and annoyed expressions on his face.
    • The game takes a page from Halo: Reach in how the game engine renders the cutscenes directly instead of using a separate animation file (which allowed your personalized Noble Six to appear in the cutscenes). This means various environmental changes occurring through gameplay will be subsequently represented in cutscenes, such as nearby crates and enemy bodies being affected by cutscene events like activating a gravity lift or dropping a new vehicle. Also, for the first time since the original version of Halo 2, cutscenes will show Master Chief carrying whatever weapon the player currently has equipped, rather than just the default assault rifle.
    • A few of the Banished Outpost missions will give The Weapon different dialogue depending on what other missions you've completed.
      • Upon destroying Annex Ridge, The Weapon will comment on how it will disrupt Escharum's attempts to research the ring. If you've beaten the game, with Escharum dead her comment will change to a more generic one that doesn't reference him.
      • Ransom Keep and Forge of Teash (both being maintenance depots) are linked, with the completion dialogue for each making reference to whether you have completed the other one yet. If you have also completed Excavation Site, then The Weapon will make the link between the maintenace depots and the Banished's excavation efforts a bit clearer.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: The Banished are generally barefooted, including most or all of the Grunts, Jackals (including Skirmishers), and Brutes. Mentioned in a propaganda broadcast by a Grunt when he called out humanity's "stupid shoes". Technically counts for the Skimmers and Harbinger, despite their unusual limbs. Elites and Hunters are the usual exceptions, despite the latter technically not having any feet.
  • Downer Beginning: The game opens with a massive battle on the Infinity near the Zeta Halo, where it is clear the Banished are wreaking havoc and Master Chief himself gets overpowered by Atriox and thrown out into space. Chief's armor put him into stasis, where he is found and revived six months later and it is made completely clear that they lost the battle for the ring.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The apparent entire UNSC and the Created are nearly completely wiped out in the Great Offscreen War, just in time for John to re-assemble survivors of just the former to fight the emerging Banished. The latter, on the other hand, only exist in recordings and characters' impressions of AI.
  • Due to the Dead: There was a significant battle at the start of the campaign that resulted in a near-total loss for the UNSC Infinity. Before you even take control of Chief in gameplay, you see him flying through space and bouncing off dead Banished before seeing him stop and be much more careful around dead marines. And multiple points during the campaign you will come across dead Spartans and pause for a moment to find out their name and respectfully adopt any gear they left behind.
  • Dwindling Party: The game's audio logs include a narrative of several Spartan-IV's mounting a resistance against the Banished on Zeta Halo, who by the time the Chief has returned have mostly been picked off. Of the roughly twelve named Spartan-IV's in the logs, just three of them aren't confirmed dead by the conclusion of the logs, and two of those Spartans are unaccounted for after going on extremely risky missions.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Cortana used her Guardians to obliterate the Brute homeworld of Doisac to punish Atriox and his Banished for defying her. Much of what the Banished do before and during the events of Infinite is motivated by revenge — and since humans created Cortana in the first place, they receive much of the Banished's wrath as well.
  • Easter Egg:
  • Enemy Chatter: While not new to the series, Infinite elevates the concept by introducing comprehensive, structured conversations discussing live-game events between multiple speakers, as opposed to generalised, one-sentence responses affording the illusion of team communication. This video demonstrates the system in action.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: There is the mainstay of the motion tracker built into the HUD. The new Threat Sensor equipment acts as a real-time sonar, painting enemies standing in its 360-degree "bubble" on the user's HUD, even those concealed by solid objects or active camouflage.
  • Equipment Upgrade:
    • The Chief can collect "Spartan Cores" around the world, which are used to upgrade the various pieces of his armor. Upgrades shown in the Campaign Gameplay Overview include the ability for the Grappleshot to stun enemies it latches on to via electrocution, and the ability to enter Active Camouflage after using the Thruster.
    • Defeating Enemy Target minibosses on the map will grant Chief an upgraded version of the usual weapon that can be summoned at FOBs, such as a Needler that has a targeting reticule, or a Mangler with more powerful shots.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: At the beginning of the game, Chief observes a holographic display of a Pelican, surrounded by countless personnel tag markers with "UNSC Infinity" listed beside them. A pulse is emitted from the Pelican's hologram, simultaneously changing all of the tags to read "DECEASED".
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: HiddenXperia and other Halo sites have observed that Escharum is dressed as a Samurai in the July 2020 Campaign Gameplay Premiere, and even looks like a classic Samurai, which would explain his No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction attitude.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Lampshaded by Echo-216 and The Weapon.
    Pelican Pilot: Is everyone trying to kill you?!
    The Weapon: It kinda seems like it. Beat Oh, you were being sarcastic! (to Chief) He's fun! I like him!
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: Cortana dies a villain, but is rational enough to realize the path she chose has not led to the universal peace she envisioned but rather has unwittingly resulted in Atriox having both the means and the will to destroy all life in the galaxy. This leads to a case of Death Equals Redemption, in which she uses her final moments to ensure Master Chief and the Weapon will have the means to stop Atriox.
  • Evil Virtues: The Banished were members of the Covenant Empire who were exiled for heretical behaviour, which drove them to become La Résistance against the Covenant but was never really a player during the Human-Covenant War. After the empire dissolved with the deaths of the High Councilors, a large majority of its former constituents felt betrayed by the hegemony's dogma. These veterans gradually flocked to the Banished, viewing the now-burgeoning faction as offering a new path to power, especially as humanity was able to regroup and position themselves over Jul 'Mdama's Covenant and they were scared for their own self-preservation. There are many moments in the game where despite their violence and brutality Escharum talks of never wanting to be subservient to tyrants like the Prophets again, which is not much different than the desperation humanity has had to deal with for the entire Halo saga.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Barring the Cold Open and Chief and the Weapon spending a few days in a Year Outside, Hour Inside-style teleport in the ending, the game takes place over about a single (Earth) day. Lampshaded at around halfway through the campaign when the Pilot remarks on how much the Chief has accomplished in just six hours.
  • False Reassurance: The Weapon shows concern when she knows the Harbinger is on to her entering the systems. The Chief reassures that he'll "take care of [her]". Whenever it looks like she's losing control, he starts inputing the failsafe codes to activate her deletion program. She wasn't pleased about it when he almost goes through with it.
  • Foreshadowing: Eagle-eyed players may notice that The Pilot seems to be wearing a mechanic's jumpsuit underneath his flight gear. This is the main hint that he isn't actually a UNSC pilot.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the VISR activation sequence in "Discover Hope", the Cool Code of Source features a list of valid Xbox Game Pass Ultimate codes that attentive viewers could redeem.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Unlike previous Halo games, marines no longer take damage from your attacks. They are not, however, immune to being splattered by vehicles you are driving.
  • Game-Over Man: Whenever the Chief gets killed the enemy will give out a one-liner about it.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The main FPS games in the series have always tried to mitigate the issues of video game convenience by trying to integrate the lore and narrative into the foundational principles of the gameplay (only two weapons, Powered Armor provides the HUD inside the helmet). In the transition to a more open-world environment, the game had to make several concessions to factor into what will make the story and gameplay functional, varied and tactical over justifying every detail possible. Most notably is how at Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) you can call in vehicles and Echo-216 just appears in the sky with the vehicle immediately, as well as spawn marines for backup; the In-Universe justification for vehicles, however, is that Echo-216 has been spending his time scavenging and consolidating vehicles for Chief. The unlimited use of equipment (subverted in the multiplayer) includes physical items like the threat sensor and drop shield that only needs to recharge rather than restock.
  • Genre Shift: Halo Infinite is an open-world game in the vein of the Just Cause series, rather than a level-based first-person shooter like the previous Halo games.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Both Chak 'Lok and Jega 'Rdomnai are fought in enclosed spaces where they will use their Active Camoflague to strike the player and run away, letting their shields recharge if the player isn't actively hunting them down. The Threat Sensor helps a lot in this regard.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Skimmers are extremely fragile, and will die from one or two shots, which is good since their weaponry tends to pack some punch.
    • The UNSC Wasp is a VTOL attack craft that packs a considerable wallop with its machine guns and missile launchers, but goes down very quickly if you don't make concerted efforts to avoid enemy fire, exploding after only a couple of hits from heavy weapons.
  • Go for the Eye: Sentinels have their weak point be their central "eye". Adjutant Resolution also reveals its eye after destroying each of its Sentinel mech's arms.
  • Good Costume Switch: Cortana leaves a message to Master Chief apologizing for everything and has notably switched from her more armored appearance when she started the Created War and back into her original Combat Evolved look.
  • Good News, Bad News: As usual for a Halsey-AI, The Weapon employs this a few times. For example, good news: yes, she can shut down the Spire, which is repairing Zeta... but bad news: oops, there's more than a dozen of them... but good news: they're waiting for startup confirmation, but bad news: the Spire they're currently on is going to explode.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The gauntlet-mounted Grappleshot, a new addition to Master Chief's arsenal. It fires a small, barbed metal dart attached to a cable, which embeds itself into a target before reeling back into its launcher. This offers multiple options, if embedded into the environment or a large enough enemy Master Chief will be pulled towards the impact point, allowing both gap-closing maneuvers as well as aerial advantage. If embedded into smaller objects it acts as a ranged retrieval strategy, grabbing weapons, equipment or even fusion coils that are otherwise out of reach. Shooting a Jackal's shield with it also staggers the Jackal and leaves them vulnerable to gunfire.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Brutes will very rarely chuck suicide grunts at you through the air.
  • Ground Pound: The Grappleshot can be upgraded to give the Chief the ability to do this. Functionally it's a successor to the Ground Pound from Halo 5: Guardians with a lot more flexibility; the Chief will charge towards whatever his Grappleshot is attached to and hit it with great force, dealing a good amount of damage to anything close. This ability can be upgraded further to have an additional EMP shock in a wide radius around the landing point, making it a great Herd-Hitting Attack option too.
  • Grumpy Bear: One Marine will constantly gripe and tell the other enthusiastic Marines to shut up and do their job. His voice is unmistakable, and when he's accompanying the Chief, expect a lot of dour commentary.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: Like how the plot of Halo 5 had relatively little to do with the plot of Halo 4, the plot of Infinite is largely removed from the plot of Halo 5. The big Robot War shown in the Cliffhanger ending of Halo 5 has already been resolved by the time Infinite takes place, with the Banished now as the dominant power bloc of the galaxy and the focus of the game is on dealing with them.
  • Hand Cannon: The Brute Mangler may as well be considered a shotgun.
  • Heavily Armored Mook:
    • Halo 4/Halo 5 style Grunts wear heavier armor than regular classic Grunts; they can survive about 50% more damage and are somewhat bolder. However, they're still Grunts and die quite quickly, especially to headshots.
    • Some Grunt Ultras are equipped with energy shields about half the strength of an Elite Mercenary's. Again, they're still Grunts and thus pose little threat, but you are forced to waste your ammo taking them down.
    • Brute Berserkers, Officers, and Chieftains wear heavy armor that dramatically increases their overall durability. Knocking off their helmets and killing them with headshots is by far the most effective way of dealing with them.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: A sub-monitor for Zeta Halo, Adjutant Resolution, approaches Chief and the Weapon when they arrive in the Spire and is very friendly and helpful to them at first, before they discover the Spire is designed to repair the Halo and want to disable it. Resolution quickly turns hostile, attacking Chief with a Mini-Mecha type of Sentinel he can pilot. He survives that encounter and attacks Chief again later in the campaign with an upgraded form. He survives AGAIN, but once alerted to what Harbinger was doing and the threat of the Endless he turns back to their side and helps them reach her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: It's revealed that after she was disconnected from the Domain by The Weapon that Cortana had a Heel Realization, and at the mercy of Atriox she caused the explosion that damaged the Zeta Halo, prevented The Weapon from activating their deletion protocol and left numerous helpful guides to give Master Chief and The Weapon a fighting chance against the Banished. She also left a message apologizing to be received after her death.
  • Hero Killer:
    • The explicit role of the 'Hand of Atriox'; as if their sobriquet of "Spartan Killers" wasn't already an obvious giveaway, they are a Banished unit specialized in the elimination of UNSC Spartans.
    • This goal is also shared with the 'Bloodstars', who are effectively hero killers in-training. Originally a former Covenant Spec-Ops unit, the Banished have since reorganised the 'Bloodstars' as a secondary unit of Spartan Killers, specifically to screen for candidates worthy of induction into the 'Hand of Atriox'.
    • In a more general sense, the Banished as a whole have made strides to demythify Master Chief and the Spartans; the lingering habit of referring to Spartans as "Demons" is either mocked or greatly discouraged, and the messages from Propaganda Towers pull no punches in tearing down their heroic image.
  • High-Tech Hexagons:
    • All over Zeta Halo are clusters (and sometimes sheer walls) of big, hexagon-shaped metal pillars coming out of the ground, looking not unlike basalt. It is eventually revealed that they are part of Halo's infrastructure, and also its method of repairing itself (give or take a few million years).
    • The Mjolnir shield impact and recharge animation is refined to show tiny hexagons covering the entire body.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Banished Skewer evokes this, as it's more of a harpoon gun that shoots spikes of equivalent size to a SPNKr Rocket that will knock Spartan corpses and vehicles backwards a good distance.
  • In Medias Res: Moreso than any prior Halo game, A LOT has happened between the end of Halo 5 and the beginning of this story. Rather than having a large Info Dump at the first convenient time, much of the game allows the details to be revealed gradually over the course of the story and in more natural conversations, as Chief has to unpack a number of mysteries from his last mission on Zeta Halo and what happened while he was in stasis.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Escharum delivers one at one of the Banished-occupied AA guns, mixed with Bring It and Last Dance.
    Escharum: The UNSC lost this war months ago. Your people are broken. Scattered. Hunted. Defeated... by me. I wish I could tell you it was difficult, but it wasn't. (laughs) We are one step ahead, always. The ring is already under our control, soon the Auditorium as well. The Harbinger and the Banished share the same goal — we fight together to honour the will of Atriox, but... without challenge, I grew... weary. Lost. Alone... buuut... here you now stand. This is my last fight, a true test of legends, OUR story that will outlive us both. SET A FIRE IN YOUR HEART, SPARTAN! BARE YOUR FANGS! FIGHT HARD! (grinning) Die well.
  • The Immune: The Endless are dangerous because they're unaffected by the Halo rings when fired to wipe the galaxy clean of life.
  • Improvised Weapon: Fusion Coils, the series' interpretation of Exploding Barrels, can now be picked up and thrown by players, making them the first interactive environment gameplay used in Halo.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Zeta Halo has a day and night cycle which you can experience during gameplay, and this will also adjust the locations of enemy positions and patrols. This is also perhaps one of the few times in gaming where the use of Video Game Time is completely justified: The shape of a Ring World Planet naturally means that the length of each day is also much shorter than usual.
  • Internal Homage: The game's cover art is heavily inspired by the cover of Halo: Combat Evolved.
  • King Mook: Infinite introduces these into the campaign overworld via the "High-Value Targets"; boss versions of regular enemies with higher health and shields and even their own health bar, holding position small plot of the shattered ring. They're much tougher than Boss in Mook's Clothing enemies like Elite Ultras or Brute Chieftains from previous games and effectively act out this trope for specific enemy types/ranks and the weapons they may wield:
    • Briglard - Grunt Mules
    • Bipbap - Grunt Ultras
    • Barroth - Jackal Snipers
    • Writh Kul - Jackal Skirmishers
    • Thav 'Sebarim - Elite Ultras
    • Okro 'Vagadun - Elite Spec-Ops
    • Inka 'Saham and Ordo 'Mal - Elite Generals (on foot and Wraith driver, respectively)
    • Arthoc, Zeretus and Balkarus - Brute Captains (Ravager, Rocket Launcher and Plasma Turret, respectively)
    • En'Geddon and Ik'novus - Brute Chieftains (Gravity Hammer and Scrap Cannon, respectively)
    • Myriad - Hunters
    • Skimmer Alpha - Skimmers
  • Late to the Tragedy: Master Chief is awakened to find Installation 07 already having a chunk blown out of it, and humanity has lost the war with The Banished. Played with, as the game shows that while the player is late, John-117 had already been involved in many things going on, including missions involving the Weapon and its creation.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Whereas the Covenant Remnant in prior games largely averted this trope, the Banished play this straight to the letter; enemies now sport their traditional rank-based colours, and any instance of a given rank sharing multiple colours is done purely to distinguish the type and strength of the weapons that given rank wields.
  • The Leader:
    • Hudson Griffin, the first Spartan found by Chief, was the leader of his Spartan squad and the remaining Marines. So much so that his lieutenants begged him to not go on the Suicide Mission, because he was needed to rally the remaining humans on Zeta.
    • With the UNSC atomized by Cortana and its leadership either MIA or KIA, Master Chief is now effectively this for the survivors on Halo.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • A Marine may call the AR a "crappy weapon", recalling the Real Life fan wars about which rifle is the best rifle (AR vs. BR).invoked
    • A Marine may also ask the Chief if his armor is Gen 6 or Gen 3, and shrug, saying he can't tell anymore.
    • Grunts on a whole, continuing their Medium Awareness, double down on this. For example, this one happens once you complete the campaign from the propaganda towers:
    Glibnub: Okay okay, you beat us. But did you do it on LEGENDARY? Hah!
    • A Marine may yell at an Elite, "Jul'Mdama called! He said 'I'm dead because I SUCK!'", which angers the Elite — referring to the fan annoyance at Jul'Mdama being an Anti-Climax Boss who's taken out in a cutscene in Halo 5: Guardians. invoked
  • Magnetic Hero: Master Chief starts off in the worst position possible, but sets out to locate any survivors still out on the ring. In doing so he manages to reconfigure Banished strongholds into UNSC forward bases staffed by the soldiers he rescued and provide him with additional weapons, gear and vehicles to keep pushing the fight ahead.
  • Megaton Punch: The 'First Strike' upgrade for the Grappleshot allows Chief to deliver a powerful melee strike to any enemy he grapples onto. The impact will send Brute Minors or anything weaker flying into next week, severely damaging and staggering anything tougher.
  • Meta Twist: The game sets up the expectation that the Banished are trying to activate Installation 07, or at least be in a position where they can use the threat of doing so to subjugate the galaxy. This is a sensible suggestion given that Halo has had plenty of stories about villains trying to activate Forerunner artifacts for their own ends, but here it turns out that the Banished are instead interested in uncovering the Endless, an ancient race imprisoned on the ring by the Forerunners that are implied to have Reality Warper abilities, and that Halo's main purpose is of little interest to them.
    • That said, Escharum still intends to fire the Halo once it's rebuilt to clean the slate in honor of Atriox's last orders (especially in light that the Endless are the first race to be explicitly immune to the Halo Array, so it would affect only their enemies if anything), but it's more of a secondary goal if anything and even admits that he doesn't care if he actually succeeds, so long as he dies a glorious death in battle. It still fulfils the Meta Twist with firing the Halo as a negotiable goal rather than the endgame of most plans.
  • Mook Debut Cutscene: There's a few of these in the game, including for the Brute Berserker and the Skimmers.
  • Mooks but No Bosses: Features the hardest aversion of this trope to date in a franchise infamous for it.
  • More Dakka: The overheat mechanics first implemented in Halo: Reach have been removed from turrets and vehicle-mounted weapons, allowing you to spray limitless streams of lead/plasma at the Banished, although removed turrets still have a limited ammo capacity.
  • My Greatest Failure: Master Chief feels responsible for Cortana's descent.
    Master Chief: (to The Pilot) I should have protected Cortana. Stopped everything from going wrong. I failed her. I will not fail you.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the 2019 trailer, the Pelican pilot starts the usual diagnostics of Master Chief's armor, but Chief cuts it short.
    • In the Campaign Overview, when Chief commandeers a Scorpion, they have an exchange that recalls Johnson delivering a Scorpion and telling Cortana "I know what the ladies like!"
      The Weapon: Could be useful, if you like that kind of thing.
      Master Chief: Oh, I like it.
    • The CQS48 Bulldog features a SolCore logo on the weapon. SolCore was Bungie's original name for humanity's central government and military command all the way back in the Cortana Letters before the UEG and UNSC were established in later lore to be filling those roles.
    • The game's marketing campaign is heavily inspired by the one for Halo 3. The game's tagline, "Become", takes from "Believe", and both focus on the stories of minor characters in the UNSC's war effort.
    • When Echo-216's Pelican is caught within Warship Gbraakon's gravity well in the opening cutscene, Master Chief matches the pilots panicked declaration of "we need to run" with "no, I need a weapon".
    • The loading screen tips refer to the fusion coils as "noob cubes", a reference to the complaint about Fuel Rod Cannons in Halo 2 being "noob tubes".
    • An Elite may yell at Chief, "I'm ready! Are you?", a reference to Emile's Dying Moment of Awesome in Halo: Reach.
    • A Grunt being attacked may scream "If you came to hear me beg, you will be satisfied!"
    • A Marine voice line involves asking what's under the Chief's helmet and jokes that it's another helmet. In the ending of Combat Evolved, that was exactly the case (just not visible under normal circumstances).
    • The name for the achievement unlocked after finding all Banished logs is "Know your Enemy".
    • During the Dénouement:
      Echo-216: So, what do we do now?
      Master Chief: We finish the fight.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Parodied during the Dénouement:
    The Weapon: We still don't know your name! We can't keep calling you "Echo-216"!
    Echo-216: (grinning) No, you can't. Esparza. Fernando Esparza.
    The Weapon: It's nice to meet you, Esparza. Fernando Esparza.
  • Nerf: A number of weapons and vehicles are altered from their traditional depictions in prior games in order to maintain Competitive Balance. It created a new learning curve for players who may not have been aware of these differences.
    • For the first time since Halo 3, the Plasma Pistol's Secondary Fire overcharge doesn't stun vehicles. It still breaks enemy shields and its base damage is a little higher to compensate, but the reason is that an entirely new subset of shock weapons can now serve that purpose, which also accounts for the grappleshot making hijacking easier.
    • The Bulldog is this to the traditional M90/M45 UNSC Shotguns used prior, though purely in terms of damage; the Bulldog deals reduced damage, making it a two-hit kill against fully-shielded Spartans instead of a one-hit kill. Despite this, the Bulldog has received a litany of Balance Buffs in to compensate. Fired pellets have a tighter spread and increased travel distance, which sees the Bulldog become the first to avert the Short-Range Shotgun rule since Combat Evolved's M90. The Bulldog also possesses a drum magazine instead of a tube magazine, allowing all of its shells to be reloaded simultaneously instead of individually. All of these balance changes allow the Bulldog to be properly viable beyond melee range, giving the Energy Sword and Gravity Hammer more breathing room as the game's dedicated close range one-hit killers.
    • The Rocket Warthog, as first released in the multiplayer of Combat Evolved's PC port as the model M12A1, was effectively a triple-barreled SPNKr turret that fired individual rockets at a slow rate and required reloading every three shots. When the vehicle was reintroduced in Reach as the model M12R, its turret was rebalanced to always rapidly fire its rockets in a volley of six before reloading, with the rockets themselves being considerably weaker, but faster and capable of locking onto aircraft. Despite Infinite also using the M12R, its turret has been reworked to behave more akin to the M12A1; rockets are once again fired single-shot but without the need to reload. Rocket Warthog rockets land a median between the SPNKr and the Hydra in both damage- and blast radius-wise, are fired at twice the rate of the M12A1 but at half the speed of previous M12R iterations, while also retaining the ability to lock onto aircraft. This balance makes using the Rocket Warthog a more tactful endeavour, with more emphasis being placed on aiming at or ahead of targets instead of laying down wild suppressive fire, making the vehicle a sidegrade to the standard Warthog as opposed to a direct upgrade.
    • Since its introduction, the Scorpion has allowed up to 4 NPC allies to sit on the armored treads and provide additional cover fire for the vehicle. The ride-along feature for NPC's was removed for Infinite, likely because the sheer firepower would make the Scorpion near unstoppable and would negate the tactical advantage offered by the Razorback.
  • Nintendo Hard: According to developer interviews, the difficulty in Infinite was tuned higher than in past Halo games. The boss fights can be particularly challenging, motivating players to master their new equipment quickly.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: Escharum expresses to Master Chief in a holo-message that now that the UNSC fleet has been decimated, there's no Worthy Opponent for him anymore. His urgency is due to the fact he's dying, and he desperately wants to die in a blaze of glory, not simply expire from sickness and old age.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: While Escharum does like big, grandiose speeches boasting of his superiority, this comes after the Banished have definitively won against the UNSC forces and there are only pockets of resistance on the ring. The sheer violent and destructive attitude is evident across the environment, littered with junked equipment and bodies of dead soldiers. While Harbinger does question Escharum for not pulling out all the stops by deploying his army, his response was Chief had bad odds to begin with and was making progress anyway, so he instead sent his available "Spartan Killers" after him.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: The HVT assassination target Bipbap the Vanquisher has multiple UNSC marine squad kills in his name and is described by Weapon as "the universe's deadliest Grunt". He's a King Mook Grunt Ultra who wields a Calcine Disruptor, possesses energy shielding slightly stronger than that of an Elite Ultra or General (capable of withstanding a little over a full mag of assault rifle fire), and his health is about double that of a regular Grunt Ultra, But at the end of the day he's still just a Grunt and you can melt him incredibly quickly.
  • Nostalgia Level: The entire open world is this. It was made to resemble Halo: Combat Evolved's second level named "Halo".
  • "Not So Different" Remark: After Escharum dies, Master Chief says of him "He was just a soldier. Hoping he'd done the right thing. Questioning his choices." It's heavily implied Chief was referring to himself, too.
  • The Oner: This game adopts the style of presenting cutscenes with as few camera cuts or perspective shifts as possible, with smooth transitions in and out of gameplay.
  • One-Word Title: The campaign is divided into seven acts, each of which have a one-word titile: "Ringfall", "Lockdown", "Connections", "Graveyards", "Reformation", "Reckoning", and "Endless".
  • Ontological Mystery: The game's main heroic cast each have their blind spots when it comes to their knowledge of the conflict on Installation 07, and much of the game's narrative involves their interactions slowly revealing the state of the Halo universe to the player. The Chief has been knocked out for six months after a surprise Banished attack at the start of the game and missed what has happened in the meantime. The Pilot is aware of what happened but doesn't know about the Chief's mission that he still intends on completing. The Weapon is knowledgeable about both her mission and the nature of Installation 07 but is naive about the threat of the Banished.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future:
    • Forerunner Weaponry seem to have embraced this design philosophy, in contrast to the sleeker, more ornamental Promethean weapons of the previous 343I games. The Heatwave is about as boxy and metallic as weapons could ever get.
    • The UNSC's arsenal (to a more subdued extent) has also trended towards boxier shapes than before, creating an aesthetic that combines 'beaten-up and practical' with 'retro-futuristic. The MLRS-2 Hydra is the most obvious example of this, especially when compared to its bulbous and complex predecessor from Halo 5, the MLRS-1. Other good examples include the VK78 Commando (a weapon intended to be antiquated in-universe) and the CQS48 Bulldog (alongside the Halo 3 Shotgun for comparison).
  • Overheating: This returns for the energy-based Covenant and Banished weapons, though built-up heat now passively cools off at different rates depending on the weapon (with the Stalker Rifle, in particular, having zero passive cooling). Weapons still automatically vent upon overheating, though all plasma weapons now incorporate the manual venting system of the Plasma Repeater, which is the fastest method of cooling said weapons. Notably, enemies now have to contend with their weapons overheating as well.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: A Surprisingly Realistic Outcome of how a normal person faced with overwhelming odds feel when there's a Super Soldier One-Man Army doing all the heavy lifting.
    The Pilot: I'm not a pilot. I'm not even a soldier, a marine. I'm a fraud! I stole that Pelican! I stole it! You know why? Of course, you don't. Have you ever been scared? So scared that you... I'm worthless. You should leave me here with the rest of the garbage.
  • Perpetual Smiler: The Weapon has a default expression of a bright but slightly asymmetrical smile. At first, given the situation they are in, this comes across as a Stepford Smiler since she was left alone for six months by herself and her insistence that she was supposed to be deleted a long time ago. But it starts highlighting her more as a Naïve Newcomer who is not accustomed to the gritty war story she is involved with, while also contrasting her with Cortana who was always more worldly and sly.
  • Piñata Enemy: Grunt Mules carry two random weapons on their back for transport, which they'll drop when you kill them. They can be carrying anything from basic assault rifles to Forerunner heavy weapons.
  • Playable Epilogue: After completing the campaign, Chief will return to the open world section to allow the player to continue exploring and capture any missing FO Bs.
  • Point of No Return: The open-world actually only takes up the first 2/3rds of the game, with the entire last 3rd being back-to-back story missions in either indoor locations or isolated islands. You don't return to the open-world area until finishing the game. This point is marked by when you descend into the 2nd Spire looking for the Control Spire.
  • Product Placement: The woman working on Chief's armor in the "Banished Rise" trailer wears a Hololens 2.
  • Put on a Bus: A considerable number of franchise-staple weapons and enemies don't appear in this game.
    • The traditional M6-series Magnum and M90/M45 tube-fed Shotgun is absent for the first time, replaced by the MK50 Sidekick and the magazine-fed CSQ48 Bulldog respectively. The Railgun, Spartan Laser, DMR, SAW, and SMG (again) are also absent from the multiplayer beta.
    • The Storm Rifle, Carbine, and Beam Rifle have been supplanted by functional equivalents in the Pulse Carbine, Stalker Rifle, and Shock Rifle respectively. The Plasma Caster and Fuel Rod Gun (the latter for the first time in the seriesnote ) are also gone.
    • The Prometheans have been near-entirely removed, with the only vestigial acknowledgement to them being the Forerunner Heatwave (its bouncing projectiles making it a spiritual successor to the Scattershot) and the Sentinel Beam (and even this is a stretch, given that its model takes design cues from the Halo 2/Halo 3 Forerunner Sentinel Beam than it does the more Promethean-inspired Safeguard Sentinel Beam from Halo 5: Guardians' multiplayer).
  • Pyrrhic Victory: What the UNSC and Banished both achieved against Cortana in the prologue and backstory of the game - the UNSC managed to compromise and weaken Cortana’s defences so that her empire crumbled following their deployment of the Weapon, but got annihilated by the Banished in the meantime, who had already lost the Jiralhanae homeworld of Doisac, and who would soon lose Atriox (for a while, at least.)
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Chief is hunted throughout the game by a group of Banished "Spartan Killers" known as the Hand of Atriox, each with their own unique appearances and fighting styles, similar to the Orc Captains in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and its sequel.
  • Ranged Emergency Weapon: The MK50 Sidekick, Infinite's answer to the UNSC Pistol sidearm archetype in place of the traditional M6-series Magnums. The weapon mechanically emulates the Gunfighter Magnum variant introduced in Halo 5: Guardians; it deals low per-shot damage, has reduced accuracy and is bereft of a Smart-Scope zoom, but more than makes up for that with its lightning-quick draw and reload animations, higher rate of fire and retention of its ability to instant-kill unshielded enemies with a headshot. As its name implies, this makes the Sidekick the perfect backup weapon to switch to when your primary weapon's magazine is empty, or if you need to quickly put down an unshielded opponent.
  • Ramming Always Works: Utilised by Atriox to great effect against the UNSC Infinity, with multiple Banished dreadnoughts seen slamming into the UNSC supercarrier in the opening cutscene.
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: A friendship example: after Chief and the Weapon shut down the main Control Spire on Zeta Halo, their frayed relationship from Chief's failed attempted deletion of her comes to a head and she demands he leave her in the network. However, right after this, Echo-216 is kidnapped by Jega 'Rdonmai and they drop everything to rush to rescue him, and in the process learn to trust each other again.
  • Revisiting the Roots: Halo Infinite advertises the campaign as taking place on a single Halo ring and having a very large map to roam around in, restricting the adventure to exploring this setting rather than the galaxy hopping adventures of previous mainline games. The majority of the game is rescuing isolated soldier squads, leading the charge against enemy strongholds and investigating the mysteries of the Halo ring, exactly the story of the original Combat Evolved. The visual design including the Mjolnir armor, human weapons, alien enemies and Forerunner structures are also depicted more like they were in the original Halo games, as opposed to how they appeared in Halo 4 and Halo 5.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The Mangler is introduced in this game as the first true revolver in Halo. It functions as this game's Punch-Packing Pistol.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After The Reveal that Cortana destroyed Doisac, the Jiralhanae homeworld, the Brutes start shouting about getting revenge when attacking.
  • Running Gag: The Grunts constantly call Master Chief a "cheater" during the game.
  • Scavenger World: While the UNSC is officially stranded on the Ring, the Banished have been experiencing their own resource problems, forcing them to cannibalizing each other's gear for their own purposes. This has resulted in the ring being utterly littered with destroyed and hacked up materials ranging from crashed pelicans and abandoned warthogs to burnt-out Skiff husks and entire UNSC frigate wreckages. Many of the Banished outposts look unlevel, unstable and sloppily planned out, and there are numerous camps sites where individuals and entire squadrons tried to stay hidden.
  • Scenery Gorn: Zeta Halo has a notable section of the ring structure completely broken apart, which is where the majority of the campaign takes place. The underlying framework of the ring is visible in many places as hexagonal pillars. Different areas are crash sites or boneyards of everything from mongooses and warthogs to entire UNSC ships. The excavations the Banished have done also have no concern for the natural beauty, leading to scorched earth as forests are burned to the ground.
  • Scenery Porn: Installation 07 can basically be regarded as "Installation 04 Remastered", and it looks gorgeous. The Wide-Open Sandbox is truly massive and can take an especially long time to travel from one end to another even in a vehicle, all while cruising through majestic forests, rivers and of course seeing the Halo ring in the sky.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In the game's first mission, you'll learn that the Banished retrieved and revived something unlike anything else ever seen from the depths of Zeta Halo, which was apparently built as a stasis archive for sentient beings. This turns out to be the Harbinger. The Harbinger herself is seeking to revive mysterious beings called the Endless, which the Monitors warn are even worse than the Flood.
  • Secret Test of Character: Cortana asks Atriox if he knew he were to die if he'd change his life in any way. Atriox says no, which finalizes Cortana's Heel Realization.
  • Secondary Fire: Most weapons are able to be zoomed in slightly in order to help their usefulness in an open world environment. The Heatwave and Hydra do not have this but will instead switch to an alternate firing form. The Heatwave can switch from a horizontal particle spread to a vertical one (presumably depending on if you are hoping to catch multiple targets on the ricochet versus just targeting one) and the Hydra can switch from direct fire to a target lock that will track enemies at the cost of slightly less damage.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The E3 2018 teaser featured a species of the genus Megacerops, resembling Brontotherium. Considering the world is a Halo ring, it's unknown if it's a parallel alien species or a population transplanted from (or in the past to) ancient Earth. A species of Irish elk seemed to have been depicted as well. In the game itself, there are parrot-like birds and burrowing groundhog-like creatures that bear little resemblance to existing Earth phyla.
  • Self-Healing Phlebotinum: Infinite reveals that given enough time — millions of years — the Halos will heal themselves without help; the hexagonal metal columns are the equivalent of human bones knitting themselves back together. There are Spires that will accelerate the process to a days/weeks timeframe, though.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Escharum and the Harbinger are both killed, and Cortana's fate has been resolved, but the Harbinger appeared to have successfully set in motion a plan to awaken the Endless, a mysterious force which the Monitors warn is even worse than the Flood.
    • In The Stinger, Atriox is revealed to be alive and has the means to access the cylixes for what is presumed to be The Endless. If the game is completed on Legendary difficulty, additional dialogue between Despondent Pyre and the Grand Edict reveals that Zeta Halo has one more safeguard in place should the Endless escape: Offensive Bias.
    • Late in the game Adjutant Resolution realizes that Installation 07 has Classified Information he was never privy to, and starts to do his best Guilty Spark impersonation, saying that he needs to discover everything he wasn't aware of about the ring, and make use of the information in ways no one anticipated.
    • A Deleted Scene, presumed to be the intended mid-credits sequence, has Echo-216 alerted to a friendly UNSC signal, with the former smiling and breathlessly telling Chief, "You're not gonna believe this..."
  • Simple, yet Awesome:
    • The Hydra MLRS is a rifle-sized micro-rocket launcher and about the closest you can get to a Boltgun in the Halo universe. It's considered a kinetic weapon rather than a power weapon, allowing you to restock ammo for it at the much more common kinetic ammo stations. Yet it does close to missile launcher level damage (it can kill a Brute Chieftain in 6 shots, compared to about 3-4 for the missile launcher), with noticeably faster projectiles that also travel in a straight line instead of the harder-to-aim arc of a grenade launcher.
    • The Grappleshot is a tool you have from the very beginning and easily proves to be the most versatile and helpful equipment to have throughout the game, in large part due to the exploration needed in the open world. Using Advanced Movement Techniques allows you to evade fire, whip around corners, scale sheer inclines, retrieve gear and stun enemies. While the other equipment options are useful, a skilled Grappleshot user just doesn't need anything else.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • This game introduces a new "Shock" damage type, of which the Disruptor, Shock Rifle, Dynamo Grenade and Shock Coils are classified under. These weapons deal relatively low damage but can inflict damage over time and produce Chain Lightning to nearby enemies, or there are objects like dropped weapons to act as a bridge. They also inherit the EMP-effect that the Plasma Pistol had in previous games, being able to disable vehicles with sustained fire.
    • The Grappleshot features two upgrades that focus on shocking enemies; "Voltaic" (Grappleshot stuns grappled enemies for several seconds) and Reachfall (Increases damage and radius of the First Strike shockwave blast. Enemies within the blast will be stunned).
    • The "Direct Current" upgrade for the Drop Wall adds shock damage to any projectiles fired through the Drop Wall.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Subverted with the CQS48 Bulldog, a new drum magazine-fed, pump-action shotgun that takes the place of the traditional M90/M45-series shotguns featured in prior games. Whereas each shotgun from Halo 2 onwards was hampered by a sub-10-foot range, the Bulldog trades in its ability to secure one-hit-kills at close range in PVP for consistent two-hit-kills up to roughly 30 feet away.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Smash Mook: Brute Berserkers will charge, roaring, directly at the player and attempt to pummel them to death. They're kind of a Downplayed version, as they're only about as tough as Officers, with an up-armoured and shielded version existing as a straighter example.
  • Soft Reboot: The game has been described as a "spiritual reboot" of the series by its developers. It directly continues on from the events of Halo 5: Guardians, but it also takes a Revisiting the Roots approach to its gameplay and narrative while establishing a new status quo for the Halo universe moving forward. Indeed, the events of Halo 5 and its aftermath are discussed in cutscenes and audio logs (mostly in regard to Chief trying to discover Cortana's ultimate fate), but the game feels more inclined to start something new, making it feel like we missed the actual Halo 6.
  • So Proud of You: Master Chief tells Echo-216 "Good work, soldier" during the Dénouement, which carries some weight because Esparza is a non-com engineer who was pressed into duty.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: Glibnub's reaction to finding out Master Chief's name.
    Glibnub: We're afraid of a guy named John?!
  • Spring Jump: While not its primary use, the Repulsor can be used to do this.
  • The Stinger: The post-credits scene shows Atriox observing the awakening of a crypt of Endless. If you completed this scene on Legendary, this scene features an additional voiceover of a pair of Forerunners discussing the Endless' initial imprisonment.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: Similar to Halo: Reach, which was previously the only game in the main series to not feature a number. Though it's played straight this time around, since Infinite is a direct continuation from Halo 5's story (the developer explicitly stated it was Halo 6) whereas Reach was a spinoff title and a prequel to CE. Funnily enough, Bungie's pre-Halo Marathon series did the same thing back in the day, following up 2 with Infinity.
  • Stealthy Mook: Spec-Ops Elites are back and fill a role reminiscent of the Elite Zealots from prior games with a greater emphasis on using Active Camoflague to close the gap between them and the player.
  • Subsystem Damage: Damage done to a vehicle can hurt its performance. The E3 2021 Multiplayer Showcase demonstrates how a Warthog can have its wheels blown off, impacting its handling. Technically not the first time this was possible in a Halo game note , but more readily apparent.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Similar to the Didact, the Harbinger's technology is so advanced her abilities might as well be magic. Unlike the Didact, the Harbinger is at least still at a level that the Master Chief can challenge her in a straight fight.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • "The Weapon" is a new AI designed to be functionally identical to Cortana in every way, except serving precisely one purpose in order to break her control over the Forerunner Domain, and then be deleted. As the mission changed, Master Chief picks her up to serve the exact same Mission Control and Voice with an Internet Connection role Cortana normally plays. She isn't an exact copy of Cortana, though, as she is younger, less familiar with Master Chief's style and the responsibilities she is asked to do. However, this is later played straight with the reveal that the Weapon is a literal copy of Cortana with her memories erased, as only an AI as powerful as Cortana could defeat her and the UNSC at the time didn't have the capability to create a new one.
    • The Skimmers, technically a brand-new alien species introduced to the franchise for the first time in years, are pretty blatantly this for the Drones of the Bungie games. Their physical differences are used to justify a redesign of the flying enemy niche in avoidance of the disliked qualities that caused Drones to be phased out of the series.
    • A sub-monitor called Adjutant Resolution is revealed to be in charge of numerous Spires deployed around Zeta Halo. He is initially very friendly and helpful, albeit rather eccentric, but when Chief and The Weapon realize the purpose of the Spires was to rebuild the Halo they immediately begin plans to disable it, which causes Resolution to become hostile. This is almost exactly the same story arc that Guilty Spark served in the original Halo Combat Evolved, and to some degree the entire original trilogy.
    • Echo-216 is a named Pelican pilot who acts to exclusively shuttle Master Chief to wherever he needs or extract him from danger all throughout the game, just like Foe Hammer in the first game.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Among the 15 High-Value Targets encountered and fought in the overworld, the Skirmisher, Writh Kul, is the only female.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Infinite applies a radical alteration to the series' weapon damage/ammunition type system, expanding on the series traditional kinetic vs plasma dynamic by including more distinct types of damage and ensuring each is mechanically unique. These damage types extend to grenades and even several varieties of fusion coils, as well as Universal Ammunition stations that can replenish weapon reserves for each type. As of the campaign release, there currently exist five damage types:
    • Kinetic weapons deal increased damage to armour and unshielded targets, and are typically magazine-fed, reloading their entire magazine in one animation. Performing a Tactical reload (reloading the magazine with ammunition still in the magazine) offers a faster animation than a Dry reload. Weapons belonging to this category include the Assault Rifle, Sidekick, Commando, BR, Hydra, Needler, Mangler, Frag Grenade, Spike Grenade and Blast Coil.
    • Plasma Weapons deal increased damage to energy shielding and are battery-powered, building up internal heat when fired. Exceeding a plasma weapon's heat tolerance causes it to overheat, temporarily disabling the weapon while it automatically vents the built-up heat. The player can manually vent plasma weaponry of heat buildup, which is faster than an "overheated" vent and effectively acts as a tactical reload. Weapons belonging to this category include the Plasma Pistol, Pulse Carbine, Stalker Rifle, Ravager, Plasma Grenade and Plasma Coil.
    • New to the series are Shock Weapons, which build up a static charge within targets they damage. Upon reaching a crescendo, charged targets will be temporarily immobilised, receive Damage Over Time and afflict Chain Lightning to other enemies nearby. Charged Vehicles will receive an EMP effect, disabling movement and onboard weaponry. Shock Weapons are powered by battery packs reloaded akin to a magazine, though no distinct advantages are offered between performing a Tactical or Dry reload. Weapons belonging to this category include the Disruptor, Shock Rifle, Dynamo Grenade and Shock Coil.
    • Hardlight Weapons have been considerably overhauled from their Reclaimer Saga incarnations. As opposed to being kinetic weapons with an orange coat of paint, Hardlight weapons now over-penetrate enemies and possess esoteric physics/attributes (cosmetically they will disintegrate enemies and vehicles once enough damage is dealt). Hardlight weapons possess both an internal energy supply and a "magazine"; reloading the weapon has the player rack a portion of the weapon back to transfer energy from the former to the latter. The process can be interrupted by firing the weapon, and the animation length is dictated purely by the "magazine's" capacity prior to reloading. Weapons belonging to this category include the Sentinel Beam, Heatwave and Hardlight Coil.
    • Power Weapons aren't a damage type in and of themselves, but rather a separate category of weapons. While they technically belong to the above damage types (i.e. the S7 Sniper is clearly a Kinetic weapon, the Cindershot a Hardlight weapon, etc.), their distinction prevents players from easily replenishing them from the more common varieties of Universal Ammunition crates and upsetting game balance. Weapons belonging to this category include the Sniper Rifle, Rocket Launcher, Energy Sword, Gravity Hammer, Skewer and Cindershot.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: It's revealed that Zeta Halo has a previously unknown race of beings called The Endless being held captive in Cylices, individual containment slabs that the Forerunners used to preserve races from the destruction that would be caused by the Halo Array, but were intended to stay in containment forever. The Forerunners tried to wipe all records of their existence because they are potentially a threat comparable to the Flood. It's hinted they are immune to the effects of the Halo Array (which would give them the ultimate trump card against any other race in the galaxy after the Flood is dealt with) and may have Time Travel abilities.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Cortana "speaks" to Chief in her last appearance, but she actually just recorded a message to him. She actually lampshades it.
    Cortana: They'll pair you with another A.I. Maybe even another Cortana model if Halsey lets them. It won't be me... but you know that, right? But that doesn't matter.
    The Weapon: It's just another echo.
    Cortana: She's right, John. Just another echo. (Beat) Sorry, I'm just messing with you! I just had... a feeling that's what she would say.
  • Technologically Advanced Foe: When Master Chief first encounters Harbinger, she emits an energy pulse that locks his armor down. This at first feels very similar to the Didact's own abilities in Halo 4, which were too powerful to for the Chief to even attempt to engage him, but the Weapon is able to override Harbinger's lockdown this time around. While still a difficult enemy with a Flash Step ability, Chief at least has a chance against Harbinger in a straight fight. She is connected to the Endless, a mysterious race locked away by the Forerunners for being a danger equivalent to the Flood.
  • Throw-Away Guns: You can pull out your reserve weapon more quickly by dropping your current weapon than by switching. This can be done to quickly draw a backup weapon after your first weapon runs out of ammo, or to quickly bring out a precision weapon for a headshot after stripping your opponent's shields with your first weapon. The game gives you a medal ("Hold This") for killing another player with your remaining weapon soon after dropping your first weapon.
  • Time-Passage Beard: In the trailer, the Pilot goes from having short hair and a trimmed beard to shaggy hair and a bushy beard to show how long he's been marooned.
  • Tokyo Rose: The Propaganda Towers mostly are there to tell the Marines that all the Spartans are dead, so soon they will be too.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Elites are noticeably tougher than they were in the most recent Halo games, returning to their higher threat level seen in Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo: Reach.
      • The red-armoured Officers are much tougher here than they were in previous Halo games, on par with Ultras and Spec-Ops/Generals in toughness; their shields are sturdy enough to survive being stuck with a plasma grenade, even on Normal difficulty.
    • Brute Chieftains are far tankier than they were in previous Halo games; their shields are only about as strong as an Elite Minor's, but with their high health and heavy armor it can take almost 4 full mags of assault rifle fire to bring one down. They're also larger than in previous games, being almost twice the size of a human.
    • Grunt Ultras can now sometimes be equipped with energy shields. Said shields are only about half as strong as those of an Elite Minor, and once the shields are down they die about as quickly as any other Grunt, but still it's an improvement.
    • The hitboxes on Jackals has been adjusted so that it's much more difficult to shoot their hands through the slots in their shield in order to stagger them when using an automatic weapon. You either need to zoom in with a precision weapon, or simply stagger them by hitting their shield with the Grappleshot.
    • Marines and other NPC characters in previous games were not completely useless, but generally a Red Shirt Army to not interfere with your character as a One-Man Army. Their primary benefit was providing a distraction to the enemy and their infinite ammo qualities made them valuable when you gave them a rocket launcher for certain sections. The game mechanics of rescuing squads of marines and being able to spawn more at Forward Operating Bases means they will never be completely killed off while playing, but also that their infinite ammo is very useful when they actively search for power weapons on the battlefield and you can load up a Razorback with five allies firing rockets, lasers, skewers and snipers at the enemy.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: A clever aversion in the 2020 demo footage, which lists the Master Chief's objective as using "the weapon" to destroy the AA guns, presumably meaning The Weapon AI.
  • Turns Red: The traditional Halo trend of certain enemies going for a Desperation Attack when they're vulnerable returns, with a few new quirks thrown in.
    • Elite Ultras and Warlords will activate Active Camouflage when their shields are popped, making them even more dangerous to combat and throwing enemies off from their position, giving them more of a chance to recharge their shields when they enter this state.
    • Rarely, if a low-ranking Brute is the only one left alive of their squad, they will enter a berserk state much like they did in Halo 2, charging enemies to pummel them to death in melee combat.
    • Hunters will become enraged if their bond brother is killed, causing them to charge the enemy with reckless abandon. What differentiates this behaviour from other games, however, is that enraged Banished Hunters are less likely to be baited into performing melee attacks. Instead, these Hunters will opt with firing their assault cannons at the target of their ire, even at point-blank!.
  • Universal Ammunition: As a concession for the more open-ended gameplay loop, you can now find ammo crates scattered around the map, each of which correspond to one of five ammo types: Kinetic, Plasma, Shock, Hardlight and Power. That all Plasma, Shock and Hardlight weapons can draw from their respective crates makes a certain amount of sense, but Gameplay and Story Segregation is clearly in effect for Kinetic crates (which can serve weapons of clearly different calibers such as the Sidekick and Commando, as well as a more alien weapon like the Mangler and Needler) and especially the Power crates (which ranges from the Sniper Rifle to the Rocket Launcher to the Skewer).
  • Uncertain Doom:
    • Following the destruction of the Infinity, the fates of Halsey, Lasky and Roland are unknown. One of the USNC audio logs reveals that Lasky manages to escape the ship but whether he survives the ensuing six months is unknown.
    • Considering that Atriox and his forces are not at the Ark, the outcome of his skirmish with the Spirit of Fire is unknown as well.
    • The fates of a few of the SPARTAN-IV's from the audio logs are left unaccounted for. This includes Vettel (Last known to have tried to rescue Griffin from the tower; he evidently failed to do so but with no sign of what happened to him afterwards), Horvath (Last heard wandering the ring in search of UNSC survivors), and Kovan (Was present at the UNSC Mortal Reverie crash site when it was overrun by Banished forces, and went MIA). All of those Spartans have the same gloomy armor coating description as the ones who are confirmed dead ("A Spartan's duty does not end with death."), but their fates are still open-ended enough to receive further exploration in the future.
  • The Unreveal: The Weapon never announces aloud what the new name she's picked out for herself after Harbinger's been defeated.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Much like how the Didact ultimately turned out to be a Big Bad Wannabe who achieved none of his goals and only ended up unwittingly setting Cortana down her Start of Darkness, Cortana ends up doing the exact same thing, with her attempt to take over the galaxy failing completely, only serving to weaken the UNSC to the point that the Banished are able to finish them off and take over as the galaxy's dominant power. She also gets outplayed by Atriox, who takes control of Halo from her and only succeeds in pissing him off by destroying his homeworld in an attempt to teach him his place. Cortana has a My God, What Have I Done? moment when she realizes her actions have resulted in Atriox having the ability to destroy the galaxy and nothing left to lose.
  • Used Future: The aesthetics of human technology are made a bit more raw and seen heavy use compared to the sleeker sci-fi designs fielded in the previous 343 games. This is even reflected in promotional material, as early reveals of Master Chief showed his armour as nearly pristine, while the final game has the paint job worn down to the bare metal in places. Banished technology, similar to Brute technology featured Halo 3 and Reach, also looks more like it was forged by a blacksmith's hammer.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Whatever the Endless are, they're apparently bad news.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The final battle against the Harbinger takes place in a huge gold-hued Forerunner chamber filled with weapon racks that just screams FINAL BOSS.
  • Virtual Sidekick: Master Chief gets a new Smart AI companion referred to only as "The Weapon", who was created in a plan to impersonate and lock Cortana down for retrieval and subsequent deletion. As demonstrated in the Multiplayer tutorial mission and certain audio logs, Dumb A.I.s have seen widespread integration into the Spartan program; one audio log involves a Spartan getting annoyed at the Captain Obvious behavior of their AI while in the middle of a tough firefight.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The first boss enemy of the game, Tremonious, comes after two levels of facing off against fairly standard troops and is flanked by two Jackal Raiders armed with Manglers. While not an especially tough boss compared to what comes later, he sets the stage for needing to adjust your strategy just a little as his mobility, aggression and weapon choices are unique to him.
  • Weak, but Skilled: While previous games always had some enemies that were about equal or greater in strength or speed to a Spartan, this game exaggerates that aspect in regards to Master Chief. Atriox, a dangerously powerful brute, casually bested Chief in close combat and throughout the campaign Chief comes across numerous boss enemies who, on paper, have superior abilities. But Chief's years of experience and intuition allows him to turn the tables and come out ahead, coupled with some assistance from The Weapon.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The monitor for Zeta Halo, Despondent Pyre, is briefly encountered when entering the Conservatory but was swarmed by Skimmers and taken lower into the complex. By the time Master Chief and The Weapon find Pyre, she had been pulled apart by the Harbinger looking for access to Halo's archives. A sub-monitor, Adjutant Resolution, is introduced shortly after and was apparently brought online because Pyre had been destroyed.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: While previous games had a very linear story, Infinite seeks to break down traditional levels and have the player traverse really large unbroken spaces. Like Halo 3: ODST, a map HUD is offered to help the player plan how they will attack enemy strongholds in the order they want. The map itself is genuinely enormous, seamlessly venturing between the forested landscape and Banished outposts on top and into Forerunner structures below.
  • Wham Episode: The game as a whole restructures the Halo universe. Doisac is destroyed, Cortana seemingly permanently dies and is replaced by "the Weapon," and the UNSC armed forces are scattered, bereft of much of their advanced technology due to the Created, with Atriox emerging as the primary force in charge of the universe.
  • Wham Line:
    • Memory fragments of Cortana has her arguing with the monitor of Zeta Halo, who warns her about a serious threat on the ring. While initially implying it to be the Flood, Cortana says "You and I both know there are worse things than the Flood within this Ring.
    • In the Legendary Ending a narration from two Forerunners discussing the Endless plays alongside the standard ending featuring Atriox awakening them. They imply the Endless are immune to the Halo Array, and the very last line is "Offensive Bias has been deployed," which is some MAJOR lore from the Halo 3 terminals.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The opening, in which Atriox hands Master Chief's ass to him, the first time in the series that anyone has ever seen Chief being the victim of a Curb-Stomp Battle, and how easily he was taken out.
    • In a memory fragment of Cortana, she holds an ultimatum to Atriox to submit to her. He refuses, and she deploys multiple Guardians to destroy Doisac, the Brute/Jiralhanae homeworld. This drives the point of just how graphically destructive Cortana's war became.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The specific fates of any previously introduced character are not explained, except for Cortana. While Master Chief comes upon several dead Spartans, they are all unique to this game and not previously introduced. Audio Logs do indicate characters such as Captain Lasky, Commander Palmer, and Dr. Halsey were in the process of evacuating, but their current whereabouts are unknown.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When it looks like The Weapon is about to be compromised by the Harbinger in the network, Master Chief activates her deletion protocol. She manages to override it and survive, and is quite angry afterwards and much colder to him for a while after. This came after she showed hesitation in accessing the network, to begin with, and he promised to take care of her.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Give a Marine a lower-tier weapon and they will let you know they're not pleased with the trade.
  • When All You Have is a Hammer…: As usual for Master Chief; when something attacks the Pelican, the pilot frets Here We Go Again! and says they've got to get out of there, John simply says, "I need a weapon."
  • The Worf Effect: The opening cutscene of the game shows the Infinity being assaulted near Zeta Halo and Master Chief himself is attacked and tossed out into space by Atriox. While the Didact from 4 was able to toss him around with the use of force field technology, he has never been overpowered by an enemy in a "fair" fight like this before. The Infinity was also the epitome of the UNSC technology utilizing reverse engineered Forerunner technology, making it just about the most dangerous ship in the galaxy short of an actual Forerunner vessel, and it too was definitively taken down by the Banished.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Escharum is dying with an Incurable Cough of Death but still manages a good fight with Master Chief.
  • Worthy Opponent: The Big Bad of the game, Escharum, views Master Chief as a worthy foe to shake up his own boredom, bemoaning how easy it was to defeat the rest of the UNSC and that he's looking forward to a proper challenge. After being defeated, Master Chief gives him an ounce of respect and allows him to say his final words. When the Pilot wonders why he would bother to humor someone as monstrous as Escharum, Master Chief responds that he was ultimately just a soldier, one who hoped he did the right thing.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: In the ending, Chief and The Weapon escape the collapsing Silent Auditorium by going through a teleporter that mysteriously appeared before them. On the other side, they discover not only that it took them to the opposite side of Zeta Halo, but that it took them three days to do so whereas it felt near-instantaneous from their perspective.

    Multiplayer Tropes 
  • Advanced Movement Technique:
    • This game introduces the "curb slide", performed by sliding just before you drop down a short height, which if done correctly can give you a big speed boost.
    • The Grappleshot is not merely a zip line that directs the player from point A to point B; you have control over the angle of approach after tagging the target AND the grappled target need not be stationary for it to work. Thus you can throw a grenade at a vehicle, tag it with the Grappleshot and be launched straight up in an open sky environment.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Infinite takes a lot of cues from the Halo: Reach style of armor unlocking and customization options. Credits, labelled Cr, are earned while playing the game to purchase custom appearance options while there are also rewards from achievements and microtransactions options.
  • Art Evolution: The character customization for multiplayer got a significant overhaul, partially just due to more modern hardware but also that multiple generations of Mjolnir armor designs are represented as separate categories, giving you the option of several pre-set armor designs you can switch you at will rather than just tinkering with a single model. At launch the options involved the Mark V(B), the Mark VII and Yoroi. Mark V(B) mostly contained armor variants in Bungie-era games, while the Mark VII is meant to be the next generation model In-Universe and mostly has updated versions of armor offered in the 343-era. Yoroi is a feudal Samurai inspired armor meant to not be an in-canon design, with future seasons to offer similarly bizarre options. Unique among all previous games is that the chest, forearms and legs of each category is exactly the same, with the customization options focusing on different helmets and shoulders while the rest can have different types of gear placed over top to change the base look to varying degrees (previous customization involved more fundamental differences in the armor).
  • Artificial Brilliance: For the first time Spartan bots are included in multiplayer, both as a training tool and as Anti-Frustration Features when a teammate drops out mid-match. While perhaps not as unpredictable as a player-opponent, the first impression from players was they are remarkably good at retreating when under fire, navigating the maps in a realistic manner and know-how to go for the heavy weapons.
  • Artificial Limbs: A new feature to the game's customisation is the ability to give your Spartan prosthetic limbs. This is a comprehensive expansion of the [R] armour variants in Halo: Reach, which only offered a single prosthetic right arm based on specific armor permutations. Now all four of your Spartan's limbs can be prosthetic, with options for hand, transradial (lower arm), transhumeral (full arm), and transtibial (full leg) prosthetics.
  • Battle Royale Game: "Attrition" is an extremely scaled-down example: Each team has a shared pool of lives, and once they are used up players must be manually revived by a teammate, which when combined with a shrinking arena does a good job of recreating the endgame pacing of team-based modes in other Battle Royale games on a miniature scale. It helps that scavenging the battlefield for better weapons has always been a key feature of Halo multiplayer.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: For the first time in Halo history, this trope is Averted. Teams are no longer red vs. blue, and instead, Spartans will keep their own personal armor colors, with colored shield impacts and HUD outlines during gameplay for team recognition. The default outlines are yellow for squadmates, blue for allies and red for enemies, though these colours can be customised to your liking. This was a creative way to solve the dilemma that personal armor colors were non-existent in multiplayer modes where team colors override it.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • As seen at E3 2021, the game's multiplayer component, as well as the map "Live Fire", is set at the Avery J. Johnson Academy of Military Science, a nod to the original trilogy's ever-beloved Sgt. Johnson. Also on "Live Fire", you can find that Jun is the mascot for the academy's "World Class Sniper Unit".
    • The maps "Bazaar" and "Streets" are set in Old Mombasa and New Mombasa respectively, and both maps feel like a general homage to both of those games. The New Mombasa Space Elevator still dominates the skyline, though now visibly in the midst of reconstruction following its toppling during the events of ODST. "Streets" also features an MTA subway station and an NMPD police station as key areas of the map, a nod to the role both organisations played in the setting of ODST.
    • "Launch Site" is set in a Sabre launch site as a big nod to Halo: Reach, in particular the multiplayer map "Countdown".
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: The game's first major unlockable armor permutation set is the Yoroi armor, which is a classic set of samurai armor given the MJOLNIR treatment.
  • Gimmick Level: Some of the Big Team Battle maps this time around feature some kind of interactive map element unique to them. So far, "Fragmentation" features a vault containing plenty of equipment and weapons to use, but needs to be hacked into first by your Personal AI.
  • Green Hill Zone: "Live Fire" is set at a UNSC training facility nestled in a Pacific Northwest-style mountainous forest. This relatively serene and safe environment is also the setting for the tutorial.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: As per Inside Infinite, the difficulty levels for bots are labelled "Recruit", "Marine", "ODST" and "Spartan".
  • In Memoriam: In-Universe, the Spartans' off-books military academy has been named the Avery J. Johnson Academy of Military Science.
  • Internal Homage: The map "Streets" contains a Slipspace Invaders arcade cabinet; the player, as an 8-bit Sabre, fights off waves of 8-bit Banshees, Seraphs and Phantoms in that exact order - all in one big send-up to the Anchor 9 space battle from the Halo: Reach mission "Long Night of Solace".
  • Justified Tutorial: As showcased at E3 2021, the multiplayer tutorial takes the form of your Spartan being inducted into the Spartan Training and Qualification Program.
  • Large Ham Announcer: Jeff Steitzer is back once again as the general multiplayer announcer, celebrating your multi-kills and objective scoring with just as much enthusiasm as he has before. Depending on what Personal AI you chose, they can also ham it up while giving you updates on objectives and the state of the match.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • At the start of every match, the player's team will stand in a pose, with the camera zooming into the head of the player's Spartan before switching to a first-person perspective. This particular perspective shift is a deliberate nod to Halo: Combat Evolved, specifically the cutscene where Chief inserts Cortana into his suit at the beginning of the first mission, The Pillar of Autumn.
    • Since team colors are relative and freely changeable, the red and blue teams are replaced with the Cobra and Eagle teams; a nod to Halo: Combat Evolved, where those logos were used on the red and blue flags respectively. The Cobra and Eagle logos are directly based on the logos from that game to boot.
    • Many weapons scattered around the map are now spawned upon wall-mounted weapon racks. These are deliberately based on the moving weapon racks found throughout the Halo 2 level "Cairo Station", and more specifically inspired by the announcement trailer for that game which opens with the Chief grabbing a Battle Rifle off a rack that opens from the wall.
    • The description for the "Bleached Bone" armor coating includes a deep-cut Development Gag reference to Keelbugs, a cut creature from Halo: Combat Evolved which would've cut up corpses and flew away with the pieces as a way of justifying Everything Fades.invoked
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: You can choose your Spartan's voice and body type separately from each other, with neither choice having any impact on gameplay. In fact, there are only three body types available that reflect slightly skinnier or larger builds (impacting just the bodysuit as the armor remains the same size and shape), they are not divided by gender since the heavy armor and helmet masks any assumptions anyway.
  • Rewards Pass: Fitting for a game released around this time, this is one of the main means of unlocking new customisation options for your Spartan-IV. Unlike many similar systems, your battle passes will never expire, and passes from past seasons will always be available to purchase and put progress towards.
  • Silliness Switch: The game introduces the concept of "Fractures", which provides a means by which certain cosmetic additions can be designated as not strictly in-canon. The samurai-inspired Yoroi armor is the first example of this.
  • Sniper Scope Glint: Returning from Halo 5: Guardians, scoped weapons used by opponents will give off an obvious reflective glare when the scope is being used; the color of the glint depends on the weapon, making it possible to tell at a glance what they're aiming at you.
  • Virtual Sidekick: New to this game is the ability to select a 'Personal AI' from a selection of many, each of which has their own personalities and will update you as the state of the match changes. In modes involving controlling territories, the player who seized a territory will see their AI occupy it with them.

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