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Halo Infinite brings in a new Cortana and goes free-to-play multiplayer

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Jun 13, 2021, 2:20 PM EDT

The Halo franchise turns 20 years old this year, and Microsoft was keen on reminding fans of that fact during its E3 2021 conference. While not as long as some would've liked, the footage shown for 343's Halo Infinite certainly teases some interesting developments for the Master Chief and its multiplayer. 

On the campaign side, what was briefly shown was the Chief floating through the aftermath of a space battle strewn with corpses and debris. While floating around to his destination, he briefly chats it up with his new ally known only as The Pilot, who found Chief adrift in space. The Pilot just wants to get home, but Chief knows the threat posed by the Banished -- a rogue Covenant faction from Halo Wars 2 and led by the Brute warlord Atriox. After landing inside a derelict ship, Chief finds himself conversing with an AI who looks very familiar. No, it's not Cortana, who began leading an AI uprising in 2015's Halo 5, but it definitely looks and sounds like her. It's not clear what her connection to Chief's old BFF is, but he certainly trusts her enough to offer her space inside his helmet. 

After that brief campaign tease, 343 switched over to show some multiplayer footage. Halo's multiplayer has always been chaotic fun and Infinite looks to be no exception. From grappling hook mayhem to vehicular chaos, it all looks like the sort of first person fun the franchise is known for. Newbies who've been perhaps put off by multiplayer in the past can also look forward to a training mode that features AI bots for them to get their bearings. And best of all, it'll be free to play and launch alongside the campaign. 

Halo Infinite comes to PC and Xbox later this year. Stay tuned to SyFy Wire for more E3 2021 coverage.