Something happened during a livestream dedicated to the updates coming to season 2 of Halo Infinite. The stream was interrupted—hacked—to display a cryptic message from an artificial intelligence company called Lux Voluspa. Then the developers at 343 Industries went on talking about new armor coming to the game, business as usual.
It was staged, of course—just a bit of fun viral marketing mid-stream to keep fans on their toes. Halo’s developers immediately started playing coy, and many fans speculated that the short clip was tied to some narrative stuff 343 will be incorporating into Halo Infinite’s multiplayer. But a few others had a different read: Could this have something to do with a battle royale mode?
I don’t think there’s a strong connection there, but that doesn’t mean battle royale is off the table. Based on a report from our colleagues at Windows Central and some other recent evidence, it seems likely that Infinite will be getting its own battle royale mode down the line.
Who is watching the #HaloInfinite live stream?What was this “leaked” video that just appeared that they didn’t talk about?!#Halo ⬇️⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/4NWytVB26SApril 27, 2022
Is a Halo Infinite battle royale mode coming?
It sure looks like Infinite will be getting into the battle royale game. In January, Windows Central reported that Certain Affinity—a dev studio that has contributed to Halo Infinite as well as several past Halo games—was working on a new game mode, codenamed Tatanka. Was Tatanka battle royale? At the time that was unknown, but Windows Central’s Jez Corden has since added more details: The mode has been in development at Certain Affinity since spring 2020, with a focus on bringing in new players.
The new mode may be an evolution of Halo 5’s “Warzone,” a 24-player team mode that also featured some light PvE elements with bots. It sounds likely it’s going to feature the now-standard closing circle that defines most battle royale games, but details are still light. And whatever Creative Affinity is working on is certainly bigger than the small scale, battle royale-esque Last Spartan Standing mode introduced in Season 2.
We have more supporting evidence that Tatanka, whatever it looks like, is in active development, though. In April, Certain Affinity tweeted that it is “deepening” its relationship with 343 and has “been entrusted with further evolving Halo Infinite in some new and exciting ways” while promoting new job openings. Certain Affinity is also working on Infinite’s Forge mode, but clearly it has some new stuff on the way, too.
Okay, so, battle royale when?
We don’t know—it’s possible it launches with Season 3 in November 2022, but Certain Affinity will also be busy with releasing and improving the Forge mapmaking tools. It seems plausible the rumored battle royale mode could release next year, but it would make a big splash if it landed for Infinite’s one year anniversary this year.
But wait, didn’t 343 say Halo Infinite would not include battle royale?
Yes—but that was a long time ago. In July 2018, 343 writer Jeff Easterling said, “I’ll tell you right now, the only ‘BR’ we’re really interested in is ‘Battle Rifle.” But four years is a long time, and Halo Infinite’s multiplayer has itself changed substantially throughout development. 343 prototyped an Overwatch-esque hero shooter approach for Infinite, as confirmed by a former dev. That mode didn’t pan out, but it’s fair to say that 343 is interested in trying things with Infinite beyond the classic arena shooter form. What it was developing and saying publicly in 2018, a full three years before release, will naturally be very different from where it’s at in 2022.