Developer 343 Studios has confirmed that the upcoming Xbox Series X launch title, Halo Infinite, will support multiplayer for free and will support 120fps play.
— Halo (@Halo) July 31, 2020
This news comes on the heels of some criticism of Halo Infinite’s graphics by some gamers who didn’t feel they looked particularly next-gen. A detailed Digital Foundry analysis broke down how the new dynamic lighting system in Halo Infinite functions compared to the static lighting model used in earlier games if you want to dig into that particular topic, and the developer has responded as well.
To make a long story short: The game demo as shown used assets and models that were several weeks old and have, in some cases, already been meaningfully improved. The demo was also broadcast at fairly low quality for many people, and the scene itself may not have been ideal.
343 Studios acknowledges that some of the problems, like texture pop-in, were not the result of any of these factors. They write: “[T]he team is working as quickly as possible on plans to address some of the feedback around detail, clarity, and overall fidelity. The team is committed and focused on making sure we have a beautiful world for players to explore when we launch.”
The idea that the Xbox Series X supports 120fps playback in Halo Infinite is interesting given that Digital Foundry believes the lighting model used for the game is much more GPU intensive than the static, prebaked models previous Halo titles used.
Microsoft will have to have a method of supporting the vast majority of players with 60Hz televisions, so it’s possible the game integrates several quality modes, including a 60fps variant with higher quality visuals and a 120fps version with the graphics toned down a bit.
As for the free multiplayer, it sounds as if the rumors of Xbox Live Gold’s demise may be true. If Halo Infinite is free-to-play, then multiplayer is likely going to be free on the Xbox Series X platform. This is a significant improvement over being forced to buy a yearly subscription to a platform in order to access online features and it reduces the lifetime cost of the Xbox Series X.