The new Xbox console is codenamed Project Scarlett, it’s releasing in “Holiday 2020”, and Halo Infinite is a launch title.
That barrage of massive news was announced by Head of Xbox Phil Spencer during the Xbox E3 2019 press conference, where he emphasised that the new console, which is being developed by the team responsible for the Xbox One X, is designed for “one thing and one thing only – gaming”. That, I’m sure, is Xbox making the point that they are steering the direction of the latest Xbox console completely away from the direction that they originally intended for the Xbox One, which they originally promoted as an “all-in-one entertainment system”.
Phil Spencer’s introduction led us into a promotional video featuring numerous members of the Xbox team who gave us some more details on the spec of the console. It’s going to be using a custom CPU that’s developed by AMD, and will offer up to four times the power of the Xbox One X. It’s also going to have an SSD which should drastically reduce load times, with the video claiming that it was showing up to 40x performance improvements over the current generation. The console will also support frame-rates of up to 120 fps and 8k visuals, with variable refresh rates and next-gen ray-tracing also mentioned.
And of course, the video confirmed that the console will be launching in “Holiday 2020”.
So, what about games then? Well, we have one confirmed so far, and it’s a big one. Halo Infinite will release as a launch title for Project Scarlett, but it will also release on Xbox One and PC.
The presentation also gave us a short cinematic trailer for Halo Infinite, which showed a pilot rescuing a stranded Master Chief who he finds floating in space. Sadly there was no gameplay on show, but there were some luscious graphics to see and some bloody lovely music to listen to. Check the trailer out below:
While not much is currently known about the story of Halo Infinite, developer 343 Industries has published a blog post about the game, confirming that it is intended as a “spiritual reboot” that has a “vision set firmly in the future, but a foundation rooted deeply in the things our team and our fans have fallen in love with – the scope, the scale, the heroism and the moments of spectacle and wonder that brought players together on couches, at basement LAN parties, on Xbox Live and in esports arenas for years”. Speaking in the blog post, 343 said:
“The Master Chief is our hero and Halo Infinite will continue his decades long saga. While we plan to introduce important new characters — like the resilient Pilot you already met in the video — this story is the Master Chief’s. The universe will continue the continuity of Halo 5 and in that sense contain the adventures that led up to this moment, but in the pursuit of our “spiritual reboot” and the launch of a new console, we also want to make sure that this is a perfect starting point for new players too. This story will mark the beginning of a new chapter and challenge for the Chief, but it will also respect and continue threads that led to this point. If you’ve never played a Halo game before, this will be a great place to jump into the story. You’re arriving in the middle a universe at war, with a sense of history underlying your entry into the world. But it will also feel fresh, full of potential, and new adventure. We will weave in context and guideposts to understand your place in a new universe. But if you’ve invested in Halo for all these years, you’ll feel immediately at home – and some of our story moments will spark a different resonance for your investment.”
It’ll be interesting to see how that will work and if 343 Industries can pull it off, but there is one thing that I’m sure about – I bloody love Halo and I can’t wait to find out.
Halo Infinite, which will also be available on PC and Xbox One, will launch alongside Project Scarlett in “Holiday 2020”.