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Halo will launch the Xbox One’s replacement: ‘Project Scarlett’ coming next year

By Benjamin Bullard
Master Chief in Halo Infinite

Microsoft didn’t show its E3 audience what its next game console might look like sitting in your living room, but at least now we have confirmation that an Xbox One replacement is officially on the way — and when it arrives, it’ll be sharing the debut spotlight with Master Chief.

Capping an E3 presentation already overflowing with huge gaming reveals, Microsoft’s Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, took the stage to confirm that its much-buzzed internal push to develop a next-gen machine — code-named “Project Scarlett” — is real, that it’ll be on store shelves before the end of next year, and that Halo Infinite (first teased at last year’s E3) will be among the launch titles.

Xbox and Halo developer 343 Industries also shared a new story trailer (above) for Halo Infinite, pulling no emotional punches in highlighting Master Chief’s dramatic exit from cold storage. Of course, he wakes to the world in all-business mode — but things have definitely changed while he’s been out. Alongside Microsoft’s E3 reveal of the next Gears of War game (which will also arrive in Xbox form this September), the return of Halo suggests Xbox will be leaning heavily on its legacy of exclusive titles to buttress Project Scarlett sales.

Microsoft says Project Scarlett (presumably not the new console’s final name) will be four times faster than the current flagship Xbox One X, utilizing a flash-based SSD storage drive, a custom AMD processor, and fast GDDR6 RAM that, as quoted by The Verge, will “usher in resolution and framerates we’ve never seen before.” Unsurprisingly, Microsoft also pledged the new console will be backward-compatible in some fashion with older games, and will feature ray tracing and full 8K support.

The announcement affirms that Microsoft definitely has skin in the next-gen console game, particularly against chief rival Sony, which has shared plenty of mind-blowing details about what its PlayStation 4 replacement can do, but hasn’t yet committed to a release timeline or teased what its next console will be named.

Now that both Microsoft and Sony have gone public with their plans, the next console generation race is officially on. Microsoft says its Project Scarlett will be ready to play starting in the holiday season of 2020.