The second Halo Infinite flight was this weekend. Over the course of a few days, there were several sessions where PVP was the primary focus. I got to jump in and play some familiar maps with game modes other than the iconic Slayer. And while Halo Infinite continues to impress me, what I think is most heart-warming is seeing players I’ve not gamed with since 2004 jump online and send me a message to come play some Halo.
Halo is in my blood. I started playing it when I was but a pre-teen, back when pre-teen wasn’t even a term. I got Halo: Combat Evolved as one of the first games with my Xbox console when it launched in Australia. A few years later, I was in line at midnight at my local Electronics Boutique, waiting to pick up my copy of Halo 2. Fast forward a month or two, my home is getting broadband internet (something like 256 kbit/s down), and I was online on Halo 2, meeting and chatting with people from the United States of America for the first time in my life.
For over three years, I played Halo 2 online every day of the week. I played custom games, matchmaking, I even ventured into lobbies where some modder was showing off crazy hacks (flying Warthogs around Relic). During all of this, I was making mates and adding people to my friends list, people whom I would form life-long bonds with.
Cut to 2021, and Halo Infinite is finally coming out. But before then are a series of test flights to put the game and its servers through its paces. And so as I’m playing these flights and praising what 343i has managed to achieve after Halo 4 and Halo 5, I’m looking through my friends list and seeing a handful of names I remember from when I first ventured into the world of online gaming, and they’re playing Halo Infinite.
Not only are they playing Halo, they’re sending me messages and asking me to come and play with them. Because it’s not just me who remembers them fondly, they remember me fondly. And so almost 20 years later, across a lifetime of events that shaped me into the person that I am, I’m slinking back into the rich fields of nostalgia and waxing poetic with a bunch of mates I remember from my teenage years.
Halo Infinite is more than just a chance for 343 Industries to reclaim the mantle of responsibility. It’s an opportunity for this player to connect with some old friends, to sit back and reminisce about the life and laughs we shared. So when I say Halo Infinite is good, it’s not just good to play, it’s good for my soul.