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343 details Halo Infinite's first bot-focused technical preview

Ghost in the machine.

Halo Infinite's first bot-focused technical preview could happen as soon as next weekend, 343 has announced.

This first "technical preview", which will host hundreds of thousands of Halo Insiders, focuses on arena gameplay versus bots as well as the Academy's weapon drills.

As already announced, Halo Infinite is the franchise's first foray into the world of multiplayer bots. 343 will use the technical previews to gather feedback on bot behaviour and online performance, and to that end will debut the Bot Arena playlist, which puts four players against four bots on arena maps. For the technical preview, the bot arena experience features Slayer across three maps: Bazaar, Recharge, and Live Fire.

Cover image for YouTube videoHalo Infinite | Multiplayer Overview

Expect the experience to start slow, 343 said, to help players get used to what's going on. But the developer will "crank things up" to provide greater challenge and variety.

"Bot Arena is a great place to familiarise yourself with Halo Infinite's gameplay and maps in a stress-free environment," 343 said in a post on Halo Waypoint. "The bots still have their quirks, which is why we're flighting them, but they certainly aren't pushovers. Be prepared."

Joseph Staten, Head of Creative for Halo Infinite, said bots come in four flavours: Recruit, Marine, ODST and Spartan, with each level representing an increase in bot skill. ODST and Spartan bots will effectively dodge grenades and rockets, whereas Recruits and Marines won't, Staten added. All bots use equipment, and higher-level bots will grappleshot to you to finish you with a melee kill. Bots keep track of power weapon spawns and sprint to claim them, too.

"But most importantly: bots are fair; we don't change their health and damage values per difficulty level; they just get smarter and more resourceful the higher you go," Staten said.

"And that's exactly what we're going to do in our tech preview flight: start the bots on Marine difficulty and then let you work your way up to Spartan. Good luck! We hope you have a blast, and as always, we sincerely appreciate your support."

A hallway in Recharge.

The Academy, which is also new for Halo, includes weapon drills that let players learn how each weapon works before playing a match. This features a firing range area that includes moving and strafing bots for target practice, with different levels of difficulty and a star rating system (the more damage you deal to the bots, the higher you'll score).

The technical preview includes the following subset of weapon drills:

  • MA40 AR
  • BR75
  • MK50 Sidekick
  • CQS48 Bulldog
  • Needler
  • VK78 Commando
  • S7 Sniper
  • Plasma Pistol
  • Pulse Carbine
  • Ravager
  • Heatwave
  • Skewer

"There have been times at the studio when people would compare their best scores in these weapon drills," 343 said. "It always leads to some fun and healthy competition - especially when it comes to the BR and Sniper."

Meanwhile, the technical preview grants invited accounts a set amount of in-game credits (cR), which players are free to use as they wish. However, customisation items unlocked during technical previews won't carry over when Halo Infinite launches later this year.

An exterior look at Bazaar.

The technical preview also features a truncated battle pass and a "small fraction" of the customisation options planned for launch.

"The key focus is to ensure the battle pass and challenge unlocking systems and customisation equipping systems are both functioning properly, and hold up at scale," 343 said.

"The reasoning for having these battle pass, challenges, and customisation systems in the flight is purely technical, and isn't meant to be a showcase of our launch content - so please don't read into it that much."

To get in on the technical preview, you have to be a verified Halo Insider. But that doesn't guarantee access. 343 said it plans to invite even more Halo Insiders for the next "flight", with the goal of eventually giving every eligible Halo Insider a chance to go hands-on.

"Remember, if you don't get in this time, please don't despair - more opportunities will come," 343 said.