The Xbox authorities can come and take away my Xbox card now because Halo Infinite Academy is exactly what I need and exactly what I want.
While every single morsel of information and second of gameplay footage from Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer is tantalizing, the unveiling of a training mode called “Academy” is what has legitimately got me excited. Training modes may not be the sexiest thing to add to your sixty dollar shooty bang bang game, but they can be invaluable for any series with a long lived player base.
Losers like me — and also franchise newcomers — will appreciate Halo Infinite Academy, which is “a place that you can go within MP to kind of on board into the experience.” That’s according to multiplayer designer Sara Stern, who added, “It’s great for newer players who are still picking up the controls and also people who want to warm up before they head into matchmaking.”
This is good stuff. I’ve been trying to get into Halo since about as far back as Halo 2 on the Xbox 360, but have mostly bounced off of it. That isn’t Halo’s fault so much as the distraction of having a wealth of great games on the 360. I keep coming back to Halo to give it the old college try but the game’s distinctive combat, it’s evolved combat, if you will plays like no other shooter franchise’s.
“It’s a series of experiences, both a tutorial to get started for the first time with drills to practice and also a training mode that you can use to just get warm, explore the game as you want to,” said Stern.
I don’t think this can be understated, but Halo operates on a different rhythm from your Call of Dutys, Battlefields and of course, my personal favorite, Gears of War. That last one is of course, obvious. Play Master Chief like you play a COG soldier and you can count on being dead. The weapon switching, high altitude firefights and vehicular chaos are all defining aspects of Halo I’ve never mastered.
“For players who are new to Halo, let’s help them learn what this universe is about,” said senior designer David Ellis. “And help them kind of know the vocabulary that people have been speaking for now almost 20 years so that when they come in there they don’t feel like they’re behind everyone else. They can kind of come in on even footing.”
Halo Infinite newcomers can fire up Academy to become acquainted with core systems and gameplay rhythms that are the foundation of the multiplayer. While in the mode, players can practice against bots of varying skill, bone up on their use of the HUD and comms lingo and of course, try out all the different weapons and pickups that will come up in play.
Seasoned veterans of Halo will also find some use with the Academy. While they probably don’t need an introduction to mechanics and multiplayer, they will want to retrain their aim and movement mechanics so that they don’t find themselves too rusty when they enter the fight. Practice games and weapon drills will provide that re-training.
This is all going to be useful especially for those who haven’t spent all of the past seven years playing the The Master Chief Collection. Or for people like me, who continuously fail to put the effort to git gud and remain too afraid to ever venture into the multiplayer arena. Academy is exactly what the Spartan doctor ordered.