Microsoft has given gamers a first look at Halo Infinite’s gameplay.
The firm said that the game’s map was more than twice the size of that in the sci-fi franchise’s last two entries combined.
It also promised “more complex visual effects” than before on its forthcoming Xbox Series X console.
However, some gamers voiced disappointment at the quality of the graphics shown within the demo in their social media reaction.
This may in part be down to the art style of Halo Infinite, and the live stream being broadcast in high definition at 1080p.
A trailer uploaded soon afterwards in 4K showed the detail and lighting to much better effect.
There was a more positive response to the addition of new weapons, which include a grappling hook as well as a futuristic revolver pistol.
Microsoft is also promoting the game as having much faster loading times than before – a feature Sony also made much of at its PlayStation 5 unveil,
“There’s a huge community around Halo, people really love Master Chief, but it also reaches a wider audience with people who may not finish the story, but spend hours in multiplayer,” commented Ellen Rose, presenter of the Outside Xtra gaming show.
“If Xbox nails it, it could really help shift sales of the new Xbox Series X.”
Microsoft also confirmed another of its big name franchises would come to the new console in the form of Forza Motorsport 8.
It was described as being in the early stages of its development, so is unlikely to be released alongside the device.
Other games unveiled included:
- Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga – a sequel to the Bafta-winning original, which will be set in Iceland this time round
- Grounded – a third-person action game in which the player’s character has been shrunk and must fight insects in their backyard
- State of Decay 3 – a second sequel to the survival horror game, which featured a zombie deer in its trailer
Over the current generation of games machines, the Xbox One comes third in terms of global sales, behind Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Nintendo’s Switch
But one expert said it had fared much better in terms of market share in the UK.
“There’s a love for the Halo brand among UK consumers, and their tastes are generally more aligned with the US [where the gap is also closer],” commented Piers Harding-Rolls from Ampere Analysis.
“So, I expect it to be pretty close between the two next-generation platforms here. But when you look at continental Europe and other global markets, the disparity is likely to be significantly in the PlayStation 5’s favour.”
Both Sony and Microsoft have invested in exclusive content by acquiring third-party games studios in recent years.
However, they are now pursuing different strategies.
Sony plans to release several of its new games only on the PlayStation 5. By contrast, Microsoft generally intends to launch its forthcoming first-party titles on both PCs and the new Xbox Series X, and often the existing Xbox One as well.
As yet, neither company has revealed how much their new consoles will cost, despite both being set to go on sale before the end of 2020.
They may both be holding off in the hope the other will go first, allowing the second party to tweak their strategy accordingly.
However, Mr Harding-Rolls suggested the companies would be wise not to wait for too long,
“The coronavirus has created pressure on spending, so I think there would be an advantage to giving people the ability to pre-order,” he said.