First announced in the recent Memories of Reach update on Halo Waypoint, the fan favourite gametype Infection was discussed more in-depth during an exclusive Game Informer interview. GI talked with with 343 Community Co-ordinator, John Junyszek and Multiplayer Engineer Geoff Landskov to get all the details.
One of the first things players will notice in the Infection gametype is the “infected” maps. Not only visually changed to feel darker, changes have been made to existing maps in order to balance matches between the infected and those retaining their humanity. The infected too, look different. The design team worked hard to make sure the zombie side could be easily differentiated from the humans, no matter what the colour of their armour. One way this is done is a “trail of pestilence”, a dark haze that follows the infected as them move about the map. Infected players see something different too. Although they use the same HUD, green veins creep from the edges of their visor to show where their allegiances lie.
Visuals aren’t the only change to zombies though. The first zombie, dubbed the “alpha zombie”, has an advantageous way to stay alive while outnumbered by humans: stealth. In order to combat the difficulty that starting zombies have in a game of Infection, 343 gave them various traits to help them spread the infection. In addition to a slight active camouflage, the first zombie in a game does not appear on radar, and the uninfecteds’ reticles will not turn red upon pointing at an alpha zombie. The last man standing gets some boosts to try to stay alive until the end of the game as well. Not only do they have unlimited ammo and an increased reload speed, the last human alive requires two swipes of a sword to kill, instead of the normal one. Still, nothing about being the last survivor amongst a sea of undead is easy.
One thing the infected don’t have is access to all of the Spartan abilities. The infected cannot sprint, and therefore cannot Spartan Charge either, however they can use Thruster Pack. The infected do move faster and have a higher jump height, but they will have to learn new ways to move about maps to their advantage in order to infect the more mobile Spartans. One thing the Spartans don’t have access to is pistols. In contrast to previous Infection gametypes where the uninfected started with a handgun, the humans in Halo 5‘s infection start with an assault rifle and a shotgun. This is due to the power of the Halo 5 pistol, with it the uninfected were too easily able to headshot the unshielded zombies from afar, leading to an unbalanced and bland match.
Of course, everything can be changed in custom games. Halo has had loads of custom options since the days of Combat Evolved, and the team at 343 wants everyone to know that this will be no exception. Starting weapons can be changed, player traits can be changed, “last man standing” can even become “last group standing” to ensure co-operative play amongst the humans. Maps of course can be changed too. Three developer-created maps, all made with Forge, will launch with Infection, but the community has full reign to create what they want to. The developer maps include Riptide, now R.I.P. Tide, Plaza, now Nerve Center, and Overgrowth, now Malignant. Additionally, “many” community Forge maps will be coming at launch with the game.
Infection will launch for free later in May along with Memories of Reach. As will all of Halo 5‘s DLC, the entire package will be free to anyone who owns a copy of the game.
Are you excited for Infection? What are your favourite and least favourite things about the changes in Halo 5?
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