As an Xbox Game Studios title Halo Infinite launches day one on Game Pass, but Microsoft is also selling it for £55.
Over on the Xbox Games Store you can now pay £54.99 for Halo Infinite's campaign - the multiplayer is a free-to-play, standalone download.
Essentially, the entire Halo Infinite package costs £55 - £15 cheaper than the £70 next-gen standard set by Sony and some other third-party publishers.
For comparison's sake, Microsoft is selling the recently-released Forza Horizon 5 for £54.99 also. It is also available through Game Pass. Microsoft announced this week that Forza Horizon 5 had more than 10 million players at launch, making it the biggest launch week in Xbox and Game Pass history.
It seems Microsoft has settled on a £55 price for its big new games, which comes in significantly lower than Sony's valuation for its PS5 games. Gran Turismo 7 is down for £70, as is Horizon Forbidden West. Ghost of Tsushima launched at £69.99.
Of course, if you subscribe to Xbox Game Pass you get access to the Halo Infinite campaign as soon as it launches on 8th December. But if you want to buy it outright, you'll need to drop some cash.
Interestingly, the Halo Infinite campaign is a fiver cheaper on Steam, where it costs £49.99.
Microsoft's release of Halo Infinite is unlike that of any previous Halo game. The already-released multiplayer is free-to-play supported by a battle pass and cosmetics purchases. The campaign launches on 8th December as part of Halo Infinite's official street date.
For the campaign, developer 343 applied traditional Halo combat to an open-world design, with a new ring littered with objectives and other points of interest. 343 took inspiration from classic Halo: Combat Evolved levels Silent Cartographer and Truth and Reconciliation, spreading out the design seen in those missions across an entire Halo ring.
In an interview with Eurogamer this week, Joseph Staten, Head of Creative at 343 Industries, said 343 developed Halo Infinite's campaign to be one players will actually complete after user data showed most people don't finish Halo campaigns.
In discussing the open-world-ness of Halo Infinite's campaign, Staten said:
"Well, I think the first thing that we did was not actually try to make an open world game - the way that I think you traditionally understand open world games. I love playing open-world games - I'm playing through Far Cry 6 right now. I've loved the last Assassin's Creed game and a variety of other open-world games, too.
"But our goal is really not to drive lots and lots of hours of player engagement with systems that encourage players to play for a long time in our game. We don't have a crafting system for example. I don't think crafting is really appropriate for Halo. The Master Chief is a super soldier, he doesn't need to go and gather things to make stuff. He goes and kicks the teeth in of the enemy and takes their stuff and then moves on. That is what Spartans do. They don't hunt animals and then use their skins to make their armour. They go and destroy alien targets, take their stuff and move on.
"So for us as a Halo game, those kinds of systems didn't make sense, just thematically. But we also wanted to create an experience where players didn't have to spend dozens and dozens of hours to complete the story. One of the great sadnesses for me as a game developer is looking at the historical data of how many people actually finish Halo games, or who actually finish games that they start - guess what? It's really low!
"We really wanted to do as much as we could to encourage people to finish this game. And that meant making sure that it wouldn't take too much time. And then if you just were enjoying the linear story, that golden path, as we call it, through the game, that the game was very clear to you as a player - 'hey, this is where you need to go next to follow the thread of the story.'
"Now we're gonna tempt you along the way off the golden path with this cool Banished war base that's making noises, or this red smoke on a hilltop where you know marines are waiting to be rescued. But if you choose to do none of those things, that's okay. You don't need to do them to progress. You can just continue along the golden path. You don't have to worry about all these other loops and game systems that are required to make progress. Halo Infinite has none of those things that you would see in a typical open-world game. This is simply the most expansive, wide-open Halo game we ever made. But the important part about that is it's still a Halo game."
Microsoft's £55 pricing of the campaign will no doubt encourage potential players to consider an Xbox Game Pass subscription (new subscribers can get a month of Game Pass for just £1), and highlights the changing attitudes to video game value in a subscription world.
Previous Halo games have been sold in the traditional style, charging a premium price for campaign, multiplayer and all other modes. With Halo Infinite, Microsoft and 343 are entering the free-to-play space, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Fortnite and Warzone.
Sony came under fire for selling PlayStation 5 games for £70 when the console launched last year. Demon's Souls, for example, was sold for £70, although you can now buy it at a heavily-discounted price. As mentioned, Halo Infinite launches £15 cheaper than that next-gen standard.
Check out Eurogamer's hands-on preview of the Halo Infinite campaign for more.
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