Update: 343i has now confirmed that the first Halo Infinite Technical preview begins on July 29 at 2PM PT, and will run until August 1. Find out how to try and get yourself an invite right here.
It might seem like wishful thinking, but you could soon be playing Halo Infinite well before its slated fall 2021 release date, all thanks to a technical preview.
Developer 343 Industries noted on the Halo Waypoint site that: "We’ve been given the okay to say our first Bot-focused technical preview could happen as soon as next weekend.” Which means that members of the Halo Insider programme could be selected to give Halo Infinite a go in the next week or so.
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Apparently, 343 Industries is looking for “hundreds of thousands” of people to take part in the testing of Halo Infinite. It’ll be multiplayer testing, so don't expect a sneak peak at the game’s campaign, but that may not be too much of a concern. After all, Halo Infinite’s multiplayer was shown off at E3 2021 at the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase, and it looked like a proper return to the glory days of Halo 3.
343 will use the testing to really get a deep feedback on the multiplayer experience and will likely tweak and refine it before the game's eventual release. "We want to know how you feel about the core combat experience," 343 said in the post. "How do you feel about player movement, weapon balance, equipment, etc.? How fun is it to engage in a battle in Halo Infinite?"
The technical preview won’t give Halo Insiders access to a large swathe of multiplayer action, but it'll provide battles against bots as well as the option for four human players to fight against four AI opponents. There’ll also be Academy Weapon Drills, whereby players will be able to bring some 12 weapons to bear on bots of varying difficulty in replayable training zones.
This could be exciting stuff for Halo multiplayer fans, and we’re keen to see what the developers have done with the 12 teraflops of graphics power the Xbox Series X has to offer. Of course, Halo Infinite is also coming to the PC, as it will arrive on Xbox Game Pass, meaning it should be accessible on multiple platforms and even the new Valve Steam Deck.
However, anyone wanting an early look at Halo Infinite's multiplayer will need to keep in mind that 343 has a bit of a selection process to get through.
“The number of Insiders being invited, and the criteria by which these Insiders are selected, will vary given the specific scope and goals for a flight. For the tech preview, we have concurrency targets tied to our overall goals that will inform how many total Insiders should be invited,” the developer explained. “Within that pool of players, our first priority will be ensuring we have a broad distribution of platforms (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and different PC configurations) and then we will look at overall tenure in the program, prioritizing our longest standing Insiders, until we've allocated every invitation.”
Furthermore, 343 noted that Halo Infinite testers could encounter “some bumps and rough edges in this build” given it is a test after all, rather than a finished game.
In short, it’s worth signing up to be a Halo Insider, which is a simple process, but you should bear in mind that it won't guarantee you access to an early look at Halo Infinite. What it does show, however, is that progress is being made on the next big Xbox console exclusive, and with the likes of Starfield, Redfall and Fable 4 also in development, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S could soon have an impressive line up of exclusive games.