Christmas has come early to Zeta Halo as The Winter Update gets another facelift. The new content is just in time for a festive free-for-all that makes it easier than ever to play custom maps, modes, and throw down in the latest variation of The Pit.
Halo Infinite is the sixth installment in 343 Industries’ sci-fi fantasy darling. The first part of the Winter Update added a co-op option to the main campaign, and we didn’t expect the next update to come until later in 2023 when the third season drops.
The December update has a lot more in store for us, though; not only can we now check out custom maps and modes easily in the Custom Games Browser, but the new PvP mode Empyrean sees the return of a much-loved mode last seen in the third and fourth Halo games.
It’s a true testament to the malleability of Halo’s multiplayer modes, proving how vital it is to the series’ ongoing success.
Forged in fame
With the arrival of the Forge in the Winter update, we were finally given the tools to make our own maps and modes in Halo Infinite.
The Halo Community has done that in spades, creating hundreds of custom games to play. So many, in fact, it can be hard to find the best of them. This is what makes this Custom Games Browser such an essential quality-of-life feature: it’s finally easy to find the kinds of maps and modes you want to play.
“We fully agree with players who felt that the Custom Game Browser should be a priority—it’s a key support structure for what players create in Forge and a pillar for the community,” 343 Industries community writer Alex Wakeford says in the update notes. “The team worked incredibly hard to land this feature so much further in advance, but with that comes the caveat that this is a V1. It is, therefore, likely to have some rough edges, but we felt it was more important to get this in the hands of players sooner rather than later.”
(Image credit: 343 Industries)
The December update also brings the new Empyrean PvP mode, a recreation of Halo 3’s The Pit, which the team last riffed off in a similar map in Halo 4.
Here, players will be matched with other players via the multiplayer matchmaking menu before being dropped into the slick indoor arena where only one team can reign victorious. You’ll have to make a dash for powerful weapons like the Rocket Launcher, or scramble for high-ground positions of opportunity by getting to the Sniper turrets before your enemies.
These familiar characteristics will be tempered by Halo Infinite’s own brand of chaos. As the blog post queries, “How do Halo Infinite’s toys, like its limited-use Equipment, alter some of those [established] dynamics and affect how you traverse the combat dance floor?
This new update also gives you plenty of freebie cosmetics, with all currently-available Armor Cores and ten Cadet Coatings being unlocked for everyone.
By making it easier than ever to drop into custom maps and duke it out in Empyrean, the Halo Infinite team clearly know how to play to the series’ strengths. The customizable sandbox elements of Halo’s multiplayer have always been a key component of what makes it special, and this update truly allows these elements to shine brighter than ever before.