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  • Gamespot News Feed: Halo Infinite Multiplayer Review In Progress - I Need A Weapon

    I could spend all day talking about what makes Halo Infinite great but not necessarily superb, but, when you're in the thick of it, the faults that create that distinction are hard to notice because it's just really fun. While playing, I found myself giggling with murderous glee after successfully wiping an enemy team all on my own; laughing as I nonchalantly chucked a fusion coil and accidentally splattered an unseen player; and roaring support for an ally as they successfully held the line long enough for our team to secure an objective and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The experience of playing Halo Infinite is joyful, and what more can you ask for when it comes to a free-to-play online multiplayer shooter?

    But, to reiterate, Halo Infinite isn't without its flaws. Most notably, its challenge-based progression system feels unrewarding and keeps the game's coolest-looking cosmetics locked behind dozens of hours of an unfulfilling grind. But 343 Industries has stuck the landing on what matters the most, as Halo Infinite feels good. Firearms shoot with a nice punch, and your Spartan's movements are smooth. And although not every map at launch feels like they're going down in Halo's hall of fame as all-time favorites, there's a welcome variety to them, allowing the seven currently available game types to play out in wildly different ways depending on which map you're playing on.

    Similar to Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, the narrative basis for Halo Infinite's multiplayer is a Spartan training program. With both Master Chief and the UNSC Infinity marked as missing in action, and the threat of Cortana still at large, Spartan Commander Agryna leaves you behind at a secure facility that's tasked with training the next generation of Spartan IVs. It's up to you to work hard and grow stronger in preparation for the coming fight.

    Continue Reading at GameSpot
  • Game Informer News Feed: Marvel’s Avengers – Breaking Down Spider-Man’s Gameplay And Moveset

    Publisher: Square Enix
    Developer: Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal
    Release: (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia), (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S)
    Rating: Teen
    Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC

    Since before the game even launched, fans of Marvel's Avengers, specifically those on PlayStation, have anxiously waited for Spider-Man to swing into the adventure. Over a year later, Marvel's flagship character finally arrives on November 30. We've seen his costume and have gotten a sense of his personality in a cinematic trailer, meaning the final questions revolve around the story and how Spider-Man controls in-game. 

    Spider-Man's debut comes via the free Hero Event, "With Great Power." Speaking with Crystal Dynamics, it's still unclear how big the story is compared to the more compact Operations or large-scale expansions. As for the character himself, Crystal Dynamics shares that their Spider-Man, voiced by Sean Chiplock, is in his early 20s and has been a superhero for "a little while." That likely indicates he started after A-Day, which would mean he's spent the entirety of his career protecting an Avengers-less New York City. As such, this isn't an origin story. Spider-Man is an experienced crime-fighter at this point but has primarily worked alone. 

    Peter stumbles upon a sinister plot connected to AIM that may be bigger than he can handle. After interacting with Black Widow via her "Tiny Dancer" online alias, the two exchange information on AIM. He eventually meets the entire team and agrees to tackle this threat alongside them but struggles to work under a team dynamic. By the end, Spider-Man will ultimately decide whether or not to remain a full-fledged Avenger. Other characters involved in the story include Liz Allen, Peter's friend and college classmate, who players will find in the Ant Hill. Mark Raxton also appears, who comic fans know best as the villain Molten Man, but Crystal Dynamics didn't confirm if we'll see his transformation here. 

    So let's jump into gameplay. First and foremost, can Spider-Man web swing? Yes, he can. Crystal Dynamics described his web-swinging as an expanded, less-restrictive take on Ms. Marvel and Black Widow's forms of swinging around. Unlike them, Spider-Man doesn't need ledges or poles to attach web lines. His webs attach to pretty much anything, even if you don't always see it. This means he can swing in more open spaces. It may not always make sense, but Crystal Dynamics chose to emphasize fun over realism after considering more limiting alternatives. 

    Holding down the right shoulder trigger while jumping initiates web-swinging, meaning Spider-Man's traversal feels fundamentally different from those of other heroes whose moves are mapped to the jump button. This design gives players more control over activating/deactivating web-swinging and should feel familiar to fans of dedicated Spider-Man games, such as Insomniac's series.

    Wall-crawling is present, and players can freely cling to and move around most surfaces. Spider-Man can also wall-run like Captain America and Black Panther. The difference is that Spidey can wall-run indefinitely; he does have sticky feet, after all. He can run left, right, and up walls and bank around corners to leap into web-swinging. 

    Of course, Spider-Man's web-shooters are an important offensive tool. Shooting targets builds up "web status," a meter that, when full, immobilizes enemies. You can also knock webbed-up foes into walls, making them stick there. Webs can also inflict various debuffs unlocked from a skill tree, such as making webbed targets more vulnerable to damage and status effects from other heroes or causing them to drop more health packs upon defeat. Crystal Dynamics says Spider-Man feels like a support hero in that sense. 

    Web shooters have alternate firing modes such as a charge shot, web bombs, a web tether to stick enemies together, and a trap set on floors or walls that ensnare bad guys. Spidey even has a wide-reaching web attack that pushes mobs backward while immobilizing them. Additionally, Spider-Man can deploy a drone that fires web projectiles to help tie up enemies. The drone can also create bubble shields around Spidey, which helps defend objectives. 

    Spider-Man's ultimate heroic ability is his web-wrecking ball. As the name implies, Spidey weaves a gigantic web ball that he slams down onto targets to deal significant damage. Some of the abilities are available right off the bat, while others are unlocked and improved through skill-tree upgrades. Overall, Spider-Man is very adept at crowd control, but Crystal Dynamics says he isn't a ranged character despite his array of web attacks. Spider-Man still relies on an acrobatic flurry of punches and kicks to handle most threats. 

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    Peter's trusty Spider-Sense serves as a defensive ability. While other heroes block or parry attacks, Spider-Man dodges with players hitting the button when an indicator appears on-screen. Nailing perfect dodges grants a defensive boost, making you sturdier for a limited period while also inflicting an impact armor debuff to the attacker. Like his other moves, the Spider-Sense has a line of upgrades to make evasion even more powerful. 

    Spider-Man boasts plenty of unlockable costumes. He'll begin wearing his redesigned take on the classic Spidey outfit, but you can also unlock the original Steve Ditko-designed costume. Crystal Dynamics recently revealed their takes on the Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Armor MK 1/ MK 3, and Secret Wars costumes as well.

    Spider-Man looked like a blast to use in the footage we've seen, and he should make for an entertaining addition to the roster. Players can see him in action themselves by watching an Avengers War Table gameplay deep-dive presentation on Monday, November 29, the day before Spider-Man's arrival. We can't wait to finally get our hands on Spider-Man, and if With Great Power's story proves to be as exciting as its starring hero's gameplay, PlayStation fans may have a great reason to boot up Marvel's Avengers one more time.

  • Gamespot News Feed: Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One Review - Murder In The Mediterranean

    The cobblestone streets of Victorian London are as synonymous with Sherlock Holmes as his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson, particularly as they pertain to developer Frogwares’ long-running game series. The Ukrainian studio's latest entry, Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, ditches both the dreary, smog-filled setting, and the good doctor, by presenting an origin story for the titular sleuth. It's a bold move that unshackles Chapter One from many of the familiar conventions of Arthur Conan Doyle's novels, allowing for some surprising and frankly absurd moments as you try to uncover the truth behind Sherlock's troubled childhood.

    The fictional Mediterranean island of Cordona provides the new sun-swept backdrop for Sherlock's not-so-humble beginnings as a near-superpowered detective. The Londoner has returned to his idyllic childhood home to visit his mother's grave, but he soon learns that there may have been more to her death than he was initially told. This sets in motion a sprawling mystery that covers the breadth of the picturesque island, albeit one that struggles to latch on and retain your investment. The plethora of cases you're asked to investigate along the way are oftentimes fantastic and suitably intriguing--from solving a murder involving a rampaging elephant, to infiltrating a high society sex cult--but the central focus of uncovering what exactly happened to Sherlock's mother lacks the same captivation.

    This is mostly due to the fact you're only privy to brief glimpses of Mrs. Holmes, resulting in her feeling less like a character and more like a contrived plot device. This makes it difficult to care about the details of her tragic fate either way, especially when there are more interesting story threads surrounding it. As a way to inform Sherlock's character development, the central mystery also falters in this regard, too. The young 20-something Sherlock is presented as a novice, yet his supernatural powers of deduction are still in full force from the very outset. He can surmise a character's entire backstory by glancing at the threads on their clothes or the bags under their eyes, so you never get the feeling that he's coming into his own and finding what works when he already begins the game as a fully formed super detective. He might not always be as aloof or refined as older incarnations of the character, but Chapter One never gives the impression that Sherlock was significantly different in his younger years, or that the events of the game informed his future self in any way--aside from what occurs in the final few scenes.

    Continue Reading at GameSpot
  • Game Informer News Feed: Halo Infinite: New Look At Campaign And Side Missions | New Gameplay Today

    Click to watch embedded media

    Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
    Developer: 343 Industries
    Release:
    Rating: Teen
    Platform: Xbox One, PC

    Spartans! Bare your fangs! Set a fire in your heart! Halo Infinite’s December 8 release draws nearer with each passing day...but it’s not time to finish the fight just yet. It’s not an easy wait, but hopefully, what Game Informer has in store for you today makes it a little easier. 

    Today, Game Informer has three videos for you from the first hours of Halo Infinite, and your hosts Alex Stadnik and Wesley LeBlanc will be your guides, explaining what they thought of each as they played it, how they tackled each objective, and more.

    Click here to watch embedded media

    With three videos for you to watch today, there’s a lot to go over, so let’s get right into it. In the first video, we have 11 minutes of Halo Infinite campaign footage. That means if you want to remain completely unspoiled of what awaits you in the game, you should avoid this one. However, it doesn’t reveal too much about the larger narrative at all. That’s because it takes place in the opening hours of Halo Infinite. You’ll hear Alex and Wesley discuss the different ways to infiltrate a structure known as The Tower. They discuss different ways to approach the mission, what awaits you in The Tower, and more. Be sure to stick around to the end if you’re excited to see what bosses in Halo Infinite look like. 

    Click here to watch embedded media

    In the second video, Alex and Wesley go over the FOBs, or Forward Operating Bases, scattered around Zeta Halo. Before reclaiming one from the Banished for the UNSC, you’ll need to, of course, defeat the Banished that currently call it their own. Upon doing so, you’ll gain access to FOB, which means it’s not just a new Fast Travel spot on the map, but a place for you to stock up on ammo, grenades, weapons, and even vehicles. 

    Click here to watch embedded media

    The final video in today’s Game Informer Halo Infinite coverage is all about HVTs, or High Value Targets. Scattered around Zeta Halo, these targets are essentially boss forms of different types of enemies like Elites. In our HVT fight, we take on a special Elite HVT who uses a sword and invisibility to try and defeat us (spoilers: he doesn’t). We also discuss how HVTs carry unique modified versions of weapons present elsewhere in the game. 

    And if that’s not enough, be sure to check out Game Informer’s Halo Infinite hub, where you’ll find 4K looks at campaign footage, clips showcasing new weapons, information about multiplayer, and so much more. Halo Infinite is this month’s cover story for Game Informer’s magazine, too, so be sure to keep an eye on your mailbox for that, and if you’re a digital subscriber, all that awaits you within can be read now. Thanks for watching, and we hope you enjoy the coverage!

  • Gamespot News Feed: Grand Theft Auto The Trilogy: Definitive Edition Review – Wasted

    There is a strong argument to be made that Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, and San Andreas are the three most influential games of the 21st century. You can see their DNA floating around just about every open-world title made since and pretty much anyone making in-engine cutscenes owes a debt to Rockstar going fully Hollywood early on. There is an entire generation whose only exposure to various genres of music come from the soundtracks of these three games. Naturally, parts of them have aged better than others, but in the context of the early-to-mid 2000s, these games broke serious ground.

    These are all facts set in stone by this point, of course. But it's worth seeing it all written down one more time so it's abundantly clear just how utterly bewildering it is that Rockstar let GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas get as absolutely mangled as they have been with these so-called Definitive Editions. Somehow, the studio that was so meticulous about making sure the poop leaving the back end of a horse was as lovingly rendered as a cowboy's sickly, grizzled face has approved a remaster bearing its name that turns its most iconic games into app store shovelware.

    That isn't hyperbole, either. Having played virtually every major version of these games in some form over the years, it's glaringly obvious these remasters were built on the bones of the already-disfigured mobile ports of each game. As weak as those were, there were certain things you can forgive just by nature of the platform. Rampant bugs, stripped-down animations, frame rate instability? These are the prices you pay for portability. Those excuses vanish into thin air with the Definitive Editions having all the horsepower of current-gen consoles and PCs to utilize. Now, all the problems of the mobile ports have been blown up to 4K resolution. Now, the neglect feels less like a bug and more like a feature.

    Continue Reading at GameSpot
  • Game Informer News Feed: WWE 2K22 – First Look At How Visual Concepts Is Repackaging Its Annual Wrestling Sim

    Publisher: 2K Games
    Developer: Visual Concepts

    WWE fans know that the company has been in a chaotic state as of late. Dozens of roster cuts this year have not only put fans on edge about the long-term fates of their favorite Superstars, but they've also brought into question the status of WWE 2K22. It's the first wrestling sim since 2019's ill-received 2K20, and the game is forgoing the series' usual fall release window for a March 2022 launch. That extra time seemingly gives Visual Concepts time to polish up a few holds, so what can fans expect? While Visual Concepts is still withholding most information until its previously announced January unveiling, it did provide a sneak peek into the features and improvements its concocted so far. 

    Click here to watch embedded media

    Lapsed fans may be happy to hear that Visual Concepts has rebuilt WWE 2K’s engine from the ground up. This means brand new animations and a redesigned move list consisting of 30,000 returning attacks and 5,000 new additions. The control scheme has also been overhauled with the intent of being easy enough for anyone to pick up while packing depth for experienced grapplers. Furthermore, Visual Concepts promises improved control over the action while feeling smoother overall. 

    The graphics have received a shot in the arm thanks to Visual Concepts adopting the same character scanning and rendering technology used for the NBA 2K series. The result is Superstars that appear better than ever. Visual Concepts has also consulted with WWE showrunners to make the presentation feel as immersive and authentic to TV as possible, such as adding new camera angles. Hours' worth of new commentary lines have been recorded, hopefully cutting down on the frequency of repeated lines.  

    WWE games are as much about the modes as they are the matches. Visual Concepts didn't discuss the types of matches in 2K22 but did run down some of the other destinations players can dig into:

    MyGM: The popular mode returns and, like previous iterations, allows players to book shows, draft superstars, manage contracts, and more. 

    Universe Mode: A staple of the series, 2K22’s Universe Mode promises more control than ever over how players manage brands, PPVs, rivalries, and more. 

    2K Showcase Mode: WWE 2K’s playable documentary has been a series highlight. It allows players to follow the career of a legendary wrestler or a historical period, such as Stone Cold and the Women’s Revolution, by playing pivotal matches and watching well-made video packages courtesy of WWE’s production team. 2K22’s showcase appears to focus on the career of Rey Mysterio. 

    MyFaction: A new addition to the series that lets players create and manage their own stable. Assemble a group that rivals the Four Horsemen, nWo, or Bullet Club by recruiting superstars of your choice, then raise their stock by completing regular challenges and special events. 

    MyRise: This new spin on MyCareer presents a choice-driven adventure about guiding a WWE prospect from rookie to main eventer to Hall of Famer. Superstars can be either male or female, and the storyline branches based on your decisions. 

    Creation Suite: Whereas 2K20’s creation options were lacking, 2K22’s promises to be bigger than ever. While Visual Concepts didn’t divulge many specifics, it did state the game includes more body types to be as representative as possible. Those who don’t have time to spend hours crafting the perfect superstar can use the new persona creator, which essentially provides a pre-built template to expedite the creation process. There's no word yet on if popular features, such as the ability to create arenas, entrances, or championships, will return. 

    Lastly, let’s discuss the roster. The running joke regarding WWE’s months-long spree of surprise releases is that there won’t be anyone left to play in 2K22. While we don’t have the complete list of wrestlers, we can confirm the following superstars based on today’s footage and previous videos:

    • AJ Styles
    • Apollo Crews
    • Austin Theory
    • Bayley
    • Bianca Belair
    • Big E
    • Bobby Lashley
    • Cesaro
    • Chad Gable
    • Dolph Ziggler
    • Dominik Mysterio
    • Drew McIntyre
    • Edge
    • Finn Bálor
    • Goldberg (WCW)
    • Jeff Hardy
    • Joaquin Wilde
    • Kane
    • Kevin Owens
    • Kofi Kingston
    • The Miz
    • Montez Ford
    • Mustafa Ali
    • MVP
    • Raquel González
    • Rhea Ripley
    • Ricochet
    • Rey Mysterio
    • Roman Reigns
    • Samoa Joe
    • Seth Rollins
    • Shayna Baszler
    • Sheamus
    • Shelton Benjamin
    • Shinsuke Nakamura
    • Tamina
    • Tyler Bate

    While it’s good to finally have some idea of what to expect from WWE 2K22, we’ll have to wait until January for an exact release date as well as its planned platforms. 


    What do you think of this latest look at WWE 2K22? Let us know in the comments!

  • Gamespot News Feed: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond / Shining Pearl Review-In-Progress

    Even in the context of a series that regularly receives criticism for feeling formulaic, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are particularly familiar. As remakes of the fourth-gen titles Diamond and Pearl, these are homages to an era of Pokemon when the series was just starting to settle into a comfortable niche. Not only that, but these are extremely faithful remakes, right down to the visual style and classic combat mechanics. That makes the experience feel downright homey, if not a little deja vu-inducing.

    Diamond and Pearl, and therefore Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, are from a simpler era of Pokemon, before full 3D became the norm. Instead, they harkened back to the series' roots as an overhead, sprite-based RPG. There would be clear delineation between a grass "tile" and a town "tile" and you would move from one to another as if on a checkerboard. You can see some of those roots at work in the remakes too. While your character has a full range of movement in the world and the geometry isn't terribly blocky, there are some obvious anachronisms--how NPCs always move at right angles, for example, or how floor tiles are sized to fit your character perfectly. It's only mildly distracting and, for the most part, is just charming.

    Equally charming is the art style itself, especially in the overworld. While the more recent Sword and Shield have adopted a more lithe, elongated style that looks similar to the various Pokemon animated series, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl have translated the squat pixel art of the originals into an equally squat and adorable animated chibi style. Your character looks appropriately retro while simply exploring in the tall grass or walking around town, but the style looks especially great when the camera zooms in closer during dialogue sequences. At those points, the artwork really shines because you get to see the depth and vibrancy of the characters. They look almost like living vinyl dolls.

    Continue Reading at GameSpot
  • Game Informer News Feed: Stranger Of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin Reveals More Characters And Locations

    Publisher: Square Enix
    Developer: Koei Tecmo
    Release:
    Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin has already graced us with several demos and a look at what's to come ahead of its March 2022 release, and today Square has unveiled some more locations and characters from the world. As we have already seen, this action RPG that's packed with elements from the Nioh titles also draws quite heavily from the world of Final Fantasy. Specifically, the world, music, characters, enemies, and more are all quite rooted in the original NES title. Of course, these aspects all look quite different today and have been massively altered to fit an action game, but you can absolutely see it.

    Today, we get a look at a town and a character from early on in Final Fantasy, right before players obtain the boat and can begin enjoying ocean travel. In Final Fantasy, your first stop in the town of Pravoka has you battling Captain Bikke's band of pirates in order to wrestle the seafaring shop from his grasp. Here, it looks like the character is going to have a bigger presence than just a few lines of dialogue and a horde of minions.

    Captain Bikke's new look is a pretty extreme extrapolation from his original sprites, and that's really par for the course for Stranger of Paradise, which seems to take Final Fantasy and just go wild with all of its components. It's a strange mix for a strange game, but it works in everything I've played so far. It's unknown exactly where this encounter will fit in to the Stranger of Paradise tale, but if it follows the standard route, it is likely quite early in the game – shortly after the demo segment where our characters take on Garland. However, with a mission-based structure and map where players can repeat content to gather resources, gain levels, and maximize equipment, this could still be a good hour count into the experience.

    Square has posted an article with some more details over at the official site today, which goes into a little more about some of the characters in the game and some combat details that we've already seen during other stages of gameplay thus far. 

    Are you interested in this sort of bizarre amalgamation of 90's edge, Nioh, and Final Fantasy? It's working for me. How about you?

  • Game Informer News Feed: Dying Light 2 Stay Human | New Gameplay Today

    Click to watch embedded media

    Publisher: Techland
    Developer: Techland
    Release:
    Rating: Mature
    Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    Few games have captured the imagination quite like Dying Light 2 Stay Human. Developer Techland's ambitious open-world title has the potential to wow players with meaningful choices, a beautiful space to cause chaos, and satisfying zombie slaying. While Dying Light 2 has stayed in the shadows for the majority of the last few years, today, we're giving you a new look into this undead nightmare.

    That's right, join Brian Shea and Alex Stadnik as they take you on a tour of Techland's next title. The aforementioned Mr. Shea got to go to his first in-person press event in two years to get hands-on with both the PS4 Pro version of the game along with the beefed-up PC version.

    During today's fresh episode of New Gameplay Today, the gents show off Dying Light 2's improved combat system and discuss how the game has improved since the original. They also dive into the famous parkour and detail how players will be able to use new gear like the paraglider to help them get around the expansive and terrifying open world. We also dive into a bit of the story, including what actor Rosario Dawson's character will be doing, but nothing that would overtly spoil any major story beats. The duo unpacks a lot more, but you're going to have to watch the latest NGT to learn more.

    If you enjoyed our latest look at Dying Light 2 Stay Human, be sure to check out Brian Shea's written impressions of his time with Techland's latest title ahead of its February 4, 2022 release date! For more early looks at some of the biggest games in the industry, be sure to subscribe on YouTube for previews of Elden Ring, Saints Row, and so much more! Thanks for watching, and let us know what you thought of the video in the comments below!

     

  • Game Informer News Feed: How Halo Infinite's Bots Became So Ruthless And Helped 343 Develop Multiplayer

    Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
    Developer: 343 Industries
    Release:
    Rating: Teen
    Platform: Xbox One, PC

    During the tech test of Halo Infinite that took place this summer, players took to the various maps to get their first taste of 343 Industries' upcoming free-to-play multiplayer. While many came away impressed by the ways Halo Infinite's multiplayer feels true to the series' renowned roots, nearly as many players were blown away by how impressive the A.I. bots were in battle. 

    When firing up the multiplayer starting today, players can reunite with the bots who likely headshotted them into oblivion through The Academy, a mode that serves as an on-ramp for players looking to enter the competitive fires. "Multiplayer is a scary place," multiplayer associate creative director Tom French says. "It can be a really brutal experience, and there's a fantasy that I think a lot of people have – especially if you've played anything competitive – where you want to dip your toes in there, but then you get in and you're shot in the face and you don't have fun."

    The Academy is full of tutorials that introduce you to the fundamentals and canon of the game, including explaining why Spartans are so awesome. You can also practice at the weapon range or enter training matches against bots on any map, including training matches consisting of four human players against four bots. "Hopefully you've seen how capable our bots are," French says with a smirk. "Our bots feel like combatants; they feel like players, which we're really proud of."

    Halo Infinite

    However, these bots aren't necessarily the harbingers of death that players grew to fear during the tech test. Instead, these bots in The Academy are designed to ease players into the unforgiving gauntlet of multiplayer. "Four players running around, crushing bots is really fun; it feels empowering and it helps you learn the rhythms of combat," French says. "We wanted bots to be a teaching tool first and foremost, so they had to emulate player behaviors. That was the center and the focus of everything."

    The team built the bots as teaching tools, but upon first play sessions, the studio realized the A.I. characters didn't quite feel like real players. The team iterated on the bots until they felt like you were facing off against actual human players. The bots can still perform the basic functions of what you want from A.I. characters, but they branch out to also feature several behavioral and strategic tendencies of human players. To accomplish this, the bots team observed several internal matches against the studio's higher-level players, then analyzed what the human players did that the bots didn't. 

    "In Halo, players will react by jumping or strafing in specific ways," French says. "So they went back and they go to their whiteboards and [...] within a week or so, generally they have some sort of approach and you're like, 'Oh okay, I can see what you're doing' and the bots just kept evolving. They started a lot simpler, but with our goals of making them more player-like to emulate good player behaviors and teach players how to play the game."

    Of course, as bots become more skilled at the game, players begin to suspect they aren't playing fair. According to French, that was something the team wanted to keep in check. "Halo (especially multiplayer) has this perception of fair and balanced, and our bots needed to feel fair and balanced," he says. "Sometimes you play a game and you know the bots are cheating; you can tell. It makes you want to punch a wall. We want to make our bots like when you have to fight against an Elite in the campaign: There is a little mano a mano going on there. How do you make it similar to that where you are having that mano a mano fight with another player and not just something that's a dumb target for you to shoot at."

    Halo Infinite

    Getting the bots just right for player-facing modes was important, but the development team at 343 Industries also used the technology to its advantage when improving the multiplayer side of Halo Infinite. Not only can the bots team see how the A.I. behaves on certain maps, but the multiplayer team can track how maps flow, how the game is feeling, and even how team strategies are evolving. "The impact of bots on the development of multiplayer cannot be [overstated] in terms of our ability to playtest," lead multiplayer designer Andrew Witts says. "It's improved a lot of our iteration cycles in how we talk about the game and how we explain problems and solve problems together as a team. The player side of things is really exciting to us, but also as a development tool, they cannot be [overstated] how much of a role they play in us actually making these experiences."

    Despite the many ways the bots infiltrate the experience, whether it be through helping the developers playtest or assisting new players to get on board with the flow of multiplayer, those who relished in the chance to truly test themselves can look forward to the return of the bot arena in the final release of Halo Infinite. Once you jump into a bot arena match, Halo Infinite will attempt to spawn bots that are comparable to your own skill level.

    Of course, the bots of Halo Infinite are just an insignificantly small part of the overall package. For more on Halo Infinite, check out our coverage hub by clicking on the banner below!

    Halo Infinite launches on December 8 on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC, but you can jump into the free-to-play multiplayer beginning today.