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Halo Infinite multiplayer gets surprise early release

343’s multiplayer portion of Halo Infinite is free to play now

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Halo Infinite’s multiplayer component launches today in a surprise release from developer 343 Industries and Xbox Game Studios. The developer announced Monday that the game’s competitive multiplayer suite is playable now, for free, on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Halo Infinite’s early multiplayer release is being described as a “multiplayer beta,” offering a preview of the game’s first season of content. The developer said that progression made in the beta of Halo Infinite will carry over to the full release next month.

The official release of Halo Infinite, which will include the game’s single-player campaign, is scheduled for Dec. 8.

The surprise release of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer coincides with the franchise’s 20th birthday. The original Halo: Combat Evolved came to Xbox on Nov. 15, 2001, at that console’s launch. Microsoft accordingly held an Xbox anniversary celebration livestream on YouTube on Monday, where confirmation of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer release was announced. But word of Halo Infinite’s early release leaked out ahead of its reveal, thanks to website source code that pointed to a Nov. 15 launch for multiplayer.

Halo Infinite’s official December release will not include the entirety of the game’s content offerings, however. 343 Industries still has Forge mode and the cooperative campaign to deliver, which won’t happen until 2022. The developer has additional content planned for Halo Infinite.

Halo fans have shown great patience for Master Chief’s next adventure, which was originally scheduled to launch last year alongside the Xbox Series X. But Microsoft and 343 delayed the game last summer to 2021 to give Halo Infinite more development time.

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