Even though it seems like we’ve been waiting on Halo Infinite co-op since before the formation of the Covenant at this point (cooperative mode was initially supposed to be available at the game’s launch, until it was decided both Forge mode and co-op would be delayed indefinitely), 343 Industries has finally divulged some more information regarding the game’s highly-anticipated multiplayer feature.
One vital facet of Halo Infinite co-op will be shared player progression, where the game will keep track of the accomplishments of both players therein, instead of the saved progress only counting towards one player or not importing at all towards other campaign modes like some games have done in the past.
“This is one of the areas I am really excited about,” lead world designer John Mulkey said in the latest Halo Waypoint blogpost. “The goal going in was to ‘allow everyone to play their campaigns together.’ This meant that all progress made in the game, regardless of it being through Solo or Co-Op play, would be retained.
“I could be playing Solo campaign, jump into a Co-Op session for a few hours, then launch back into Solo play and all the mission progress, acquired collectibles, equipment found, achievements earned, and upgrades made in either session would be intact. Gone are the days of playing someone else’s game while earning no progress.”
When it comes players who are at different points in the game who then team up in Halo Infinite co-op, Mulkey clarified that the players who weren’t as far progression-wise in the campaign wouldn’t be forced to undertake any missions that they weren’t yet designed to.
“The way we are handling this is through something we internally refer to as ‘No Spartan Left Behind,'” Mulkey added. “When players join the Fireteam and choose their save slots to play on, the game aggregates the states of all missions across those saves and sets up a world state in which any missions completed by all Fireteam members are marked as complete while any missions not completed by all are marked as incomplete.”
“You can think of this system as creating a version of the world that’s like the ‘lowest common denominator’ (or ‘intersection’, if you’re into set theory) of everyone’s Campaign progress. This way, no matter what you do, no one is completing missions out of order,” principal software engineering lead Isaac Bender added.
“What this means is that any unlocks you find in Co-Op are retained in single-player,” Bender continued. “So, if you’re having a really hard time collecting a Skull, you can get in a game with a friend, and if they collect it while you’re in that session, you’ll get it too.”
The shared progression also applies to Spartan Cores, which are items that players can obtain from hidden locations throughout the campaign to upgrade their equipment and suit capabilities.
“If anyone collects a Core in co-op, then everyone in the Fireteam who had not already collected that Core will get credit for it.”
Although all Fireteam players will get credit for the Core, players will then be able to spend the Core in a way that suits them best individually.
“You can then spend your Cores independently,” Isaaac added, “and your Core count and upgrade choices are retained in your chosen save slot. This means that you get the benefits of working together, but you also have the room for self-expression with your personal playstyle. If one of you wants to focus on upgrading your Drop Wall to protect yourself while your partner gets the Grappleshot melee upgrade to charge into the enemies’ ranks, you can do that.”
Another pressing question for players anticipating Halo Infinite co-op mode is how the game will handle crossplay for the game’s various platforms. Mulkey asserted that “the gameplay experience you will have will be the same regardless of platform. This is an imperative requirement in supporting Co-Op crossplay.”
Bender added, “Crossplay is fully supported. There are differences in graphics quality and framerate, but this applies equally to single-player [as well].”
And last, but certainly not least, will the new Grappleshot weapon be able to used in tandem in devastating fashion?
“Speaking of that really cool upgrade to the Grappleshot where you can hold the melee button mid-grapple to do an electrified slam… Can my buddy and I use this on each other in the middle of a group of enemies, like the ultimate Master Chief fist bump?” 343 Community Writer Alex Wakeford asked.
“Oh, absolutely,” Mulkey asserted. “Do it!”
Are you excited for the impending Halo Infinite co-op mode? 343 will begin testing the mode on July 11th. To sign up, players will need to be members of the Halo Insider program. A forewarning for those intending to beta test: progress made in the Halo Infinite co-op testing mode will not be carried over to the main game.