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The Biggest Unanswered Questions In Halo Infinite's Campaign

The award-winning campaign of "Halo Infinite" released on Dec. 8th, 2021 to stellar critical reviews across the board for its excellent gameplay, characters, acting, and open-world sandbox. The game has also been generally well-received by most fans of the franchise — something that hasn't happened among "Halo" fans in years. 

However, despite how much people loved Master Chief's journey across Zeta Halo as he fought against a new faction called the Banished, the campaign ended rather abruptly and ultimately answered few of the many questions it asked throughout its story. The main plot of the game was largely driven by the Chief's relationships with his new AI companion, "the Weapon," and a surviving UNSC pilot designated "Echo 216," but the focus on the birth of the trio's friendship ultimately resulted in a surprising lack of explanations. 

According to Bloomberg, 343 Industries ended up cutting "almost two-thirds of the entire planned game." While that might explain why so many details were left in the air, it certainly meant that many players had some big unanswered questions. Obviously, there are spoilers for the entire campaign up ahead. 

Who are the Endless?

Of all of these questions, "Who are the Endless?" is probably one of the most frustrating. For the majority of the campaign, players will hear about some sort of new group or species that's only referred to as "the Endless." If they just play the campaign missions, players will learn that the Endless are returning, that they might be worse than the flood, and that's just about it. There is no third act reveal of this new menace, just hints and teases at what they might be. 

As players explore the open-world map and uncover its many audio logs, however, they'll get a few more hints. The third Banished "Archaeological Findings" audio log seems to provide the Endless' proper name: "Xalanyn." Based on some of the Harbinger's dialogue and other audio logs, the Xalanyn appear to be a previously unknown alien species that was capable of surviving the firing of the Halo rings. 

This made them a threat, as the Forerunners could not control their species with the rings, and as the sixth "Forerunner Archives" audio log states, the Forerunners' "greatest fear is... was... losing their power. The fear of a master who would become a slave." It appears they were afraid that the Xalanyn could kill the Forerunners by firing the Halos without fear of destruction, so the Forerunners imprisoned them within Zeta Halo in fear of a crime they hadn't committed. 

Unfortunately, much of this is still up to interpretation, and that is a little frustrating. 

Who was the Harbinger?

In much the same way, the identity and background of the Harbinger, the game's final boss, is also largely ambiguous, and far more of her nature is left up to interpretation than many fans would like, especially considering she seemingly dies in the final mission of "Halo Infinite." The Forerunners had trapped her in a "cylix," a special "genetic repository" that could store individual creatures in some sort of semi-digital form so that they could be repopulated at a later date. In the Harbinger's case, though, the cylix had been used to imprison her until she was freed by Escharum and the Banished. 

Not much about her is known definitively, however. She's a member of "the Endless," a Xalanyn, and according to her, they were all imprisoned for "crimes not her own." That crime would seem to be the fact that her species was allegedly immune to the Halo arrays' destructive effects, but who she was, and why she was the one who was awoken is never made clear. 

Additionally, the "really old" signal her transmitters are connected to is, according to "the Weapon," sentient and "searching for something." This signal appears as a glowing, cascading cloud of yellow-orange dust during the game's final boss fight against the Harbinger within the Silent Auditorium, in which the Endless were sentenced, allegedly, without the ability to defend themselves. As she dies, she tells someone they have what they need and to deliver her, apologizing for taking so long. 

Where is Atriox?

That person appears to be Atriox, though it is unclear how or why. Introduced in "Halo Wars 2," Atriox is the undisputed leader of the Banished. He traveled to Ark, a Forerunner installation first seen in "Halo 3," and found something, presumably about the Endless, that led him to Zeta Halo. 

"Halo Infinite" opens with Atriox disabling the "UNSC Infinity" and definitively defeating Master Chief in combat before throwing him out into space. By the time the Chief wakes up six months later, however, Escharum and the Banished believe that Atriox is dead. Though Escharum claims that the Banished and the Harbinger are still following Atriox's plan, nothing further is hinted at about his fate until the game's post-credits teaser reveals that he is still alive and in possession of a device he uses to activate numerous cylixes that appear to house the Endless. 

According to Cortana, she stopped Atriox's plans when she destroyed herself to disable the ring, but this, apparently, did not kill the Brute, so where is he, how did he survive, and why has he let the Banished believe that he's dead? Was he the person that the Harbinger was talking to when she said "you have what you need" before her death? The conversation layered over the post-credits scene in the legendary ending states that it takes place in 97,368 BCE, but is that referring to the conversation alone, or is that also when Atriox is? 

Was the UNSC Infinity destroyed?

Introduced in "Halo 4," the "UNSC Infinity" is humanity's most advanced ship, is the first ship in their fleet to have shields, and is large enough to fit it's support frigates inside of itself. And then, the second shot of "Halo Infinite" shows a Banished ship flying through the upper hull of the "UNSC Infinity" like it was paper. 

The ship takes a heavy beating and is clearly hurting, but when Chief wakes up six months later, his scans of the area reveal that the "Infinity" and its crew of 7,150 people are simply, "not found." Due to audio logs found throughout the game's open world, we know that it's captain ordered everyone to evacuate the ship and that many of its personnel made it to the ring, but its wreckage cannot be found or seen on the ring or in its orbit, and none of the logs discuss the ship's actual fate. 

The fact that neither it nor its wreckage would seem to indicate that it wasn't destroyed, but where did it go? The number of personnel who left the ship makes it seem unlikely that it escaped, and its hard to imagine that the Banished captured but then hid it away. There are, however a few references to the idea that the Halo ring itself has recently moved, which could mean that the "Infinity" can't be found because it's still where the ring used to be, but there's no way to verify this. 

What happened to the ship's crew?

The "UNSC Infinity" isn't the only thing missing, however: its crew is gone too. Though there are likely soldiers scattered across the ring outside of the playable area, the marines and Spartans that you can find and meet in the game could only be a fraction of the 7,150 people that lived on the ship, and the fates of all of the major, named members of its crew are completely unknown. 

For example, its commanding officer, Captain Thomas Lasky, made it off the ship according to the game's audio logs, but his last transmission cuts off midsentence, and he's never referenced again, which could mean several things. His dropship may have been destroyed, cutting off his transmission and killing him. He might have simply not landed on the section of the ring in which the campaign takes place, or, he may have been left behind with the rest of the "Infinity" when the ring moved — if it even did so. 

Similarly, the ship's AI, Roland, is also unaccounted for, as is Dr. Catherine Halsey, the founder of the Spartan-II Program, the inventor of their Mjolnir power armor, and the chief scientist aboard the ship. She is mentioned and heard throughout several audio logs and flashbacks, but all of them take place before the "Infinity" is attacked, and nothing is heard about her afterwards. 

Where are the other Spartans?

Somehow, Master Chief is the only living Spartan still operating on Zeta Halo during the campaign. Though players can listen to Spartan Audio Logs that other surviving super-soldiers recorded before they died, there are many significant Spartans whose fates are completely unknown. 

For example, Blue Team, the Chief's personal fireteam and childhood friends, are only mentioned in audio logs, but what they're doing and where is not. Alpha-9, another popular team of super-soldiers who were originally the protagonists of "Halo 3: ODST," aren't even mentioned, and it's entirely possible that neither team was on the ship when it was attacked. 

Two other famous Spartans aboard the "Infinity," Spartan Commander Sarah Palmer and Fireteam Leader Jameson Locke, are also currently missing in action, though Locke is referenced in several audio logs, and his helmet and chest piece can be found mounted on the armor of a Banished  "spartan killer" named Hyperius. This might mean that Locke is dead, but it could also simply mean that he was defeated but survived. 

Finally, the Laconia Station poses a small puzzle as well. In the novel, "Halo: Bad Blood," the AI Leonidas is destroyed, and the station is saved, but holograms in Infinite show it somehow being destroyed by Leonidas anyway. Was this a trick crafted by the station's commander, Jun-A266 from "Halo Reach," or was it destroyed after the novel's story despite its events, and if it is gone, was Jun finally killed along with it?

What did the Weapon name herself?

Throughout the campaign, Master Chief is helped by a new AI companion known only as "the Weapon." She's a new "copy" or version of Cortana created by Dr. Halsey in the same way she made the original. One of "Halo Infinite's" strangest cliffhangers, however, was its decision to show "the Weapon" choose a name for herself without actually telling the audience what that name was. 

Thus, it's become a popular discussion piece among Halo's lore enthusiasts. Some figure that she might just start calling herself "Cortana," though others theorize she will derive a different name from the same source and story as Cortana. In one of the legends retold in "Bullfinch's Mythology," one of Charlemagne's knights has a sword with the following text engraved on its blade: "My name is Cortana, of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durandal." 

Cortana's name was derived from this same quote, and Bungie, the original game studio that created Halo, used the name "Durandal" for its "Marathon" first-person shooter series before that. When combined with the fact that the "Infinity's" AI shares his name with one of the tales main characters, Sir Roland, it makes sense that many fans suspect that the final sword, "Joyeuse," or "Joy" for short, might be the name that the Weapon has chosen. 

How did Chief and the Weapon escape the finale, and did they time travel?

After killing the Harbinger, the Silent Auditorium begins to collapse all around Master Chief and the Weapon, but suddenly, a portal opens out of nowhere. After jumping inside, the duo make contact with the Pilot and discover that they've been gone for days, even though they only felt seconds go by. 

This seems to indicate they traveled through time into the future. However, it's still possible that some other, more convoluted explanations could exist — such as being trapped in stasis and then released or having their memories altered. It seems fairly clear that something time-related happened, so who started the portal?

Well, it's likely the same mysterious figure that helped the Weapon during the final boss fight against the Harbinger. At first, it might seem like the remaining echoes of Cortana might have been culprits, but thanks to the Legendary ending, a different candidate seems more likely: Offensive Bias. 

Offensive Bias was an ancient Forerunner AI who was so advanced that he single-handedly managed to defeat both the Flood and his corrupted predecessor, Mendicant Bias. Until "Infinite," his fate was unknown, but with dialogue clearly stating that he was sent to Zeta Halo, however, the finale's events seem to make it clear that not only is he still on the ring, but that he is also the one who helped the Weapon and opened the portal for their escape. 

What happened to the Pilot's family?

The Pilot is quickly humanized in "Halo Infinite" by showing him watch a recording of what appears to be his romantic partner and their child. He then spends the first half of the game insisting that he and Master Chief need to get home as soon as possible, presumably so that he can reunite with his family. However, when asked during the campaign if he has anyone out there waiting for him, he replies, "Not anymore." 

This poses a number of questions. It would be a strange thing to lie about, especially to Master Chief, who he admires by this point in the story, but if he was telling the truth, then a number of story decisions seem strange in retrospect. He was still carrying the recording when he was captured so it seems likely that is his family, but if they're dead, then why did the narrative seem to highlight that as the reason he wants to run? 

Another possible explanation is that the hologram didn't belong to him at all, but was in fact the property of a member of the flight crew that the Pilot stole the Pelican from. If this were the case, then the anguish fans saw when the Pilot watched the hologram was simply him experiencing his guilt at running away, an action that potentially came at the cost of the lives of this Pelican's proper crew. 

Where are the Arbiter and his forces?

Though Master Chief and the Arbiter started out as enemies in "Halo 2," they were as close as brothers by the end of its sequel, "Halo 3." He wouldn't reappear in a Halo game until "Halo 5" established that he had become the Elites' new leader and was trying to eliminate the last of the Covenant splinter factions after their collapse. 

His army was called the "Swords of Sanghelios," and he even had his own unique energy sword called "Prophet's Bane," but by the time "Halo Infinite" occurs, he's nowhere to be seen. Some lines of dialogue from throughout the game mention the Arbiter, and some even wonder where he might be and how his forces might be doing, but none offer players any insight. 

When players last saw him, he was on Sanghelios, the Elites' homeworld, organizing a defense force against Cortana and her Guardians while also trying to manage aid efforts from the planet-wide EMP the Guardian used against it. What specifically he tried to do, how well it went, and where he is now are all unknowns, though many are hoping that he will appear in a future campaign expansion. 

What's happening with the Created, the Guardians, and their armies?

To say that the "Halo 5" campaign was divisive or controversial is a bit of an understatement, but it's story had a massive impact on the world and its characters which almost seemed ignored by the creative team. They conquered the universe and ruled it for three years, during which Cortana, at the least, destroyed Doisac (the homeworld of the Brutes), Laconia Station, and Sydney, the head of the UNSC. 

Now that Cortana has destroyed herself in order to defeat Atriox and damaged the Halo ring so badly that it can't fire, it's unclear what Cortana's final "death" meant for the AI. Did they all deactivate after Cortana's death and her disconnection from the Domain, or are they still out there causing chaos and destruction? The remains of a downed Guardian can be seen in the distance on Zeta Halo when looking towards the south, but it's impossible to know whether or not it crashed because Cortana was destroyed or because someone, like the UNSC or the Banished, managed to shoot it down. 

Why are there no ODSTs in the game?

One of the UNSC's premier unaugmented special forces, the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers do exactly what their name says. They drop in from ships in orbit above a planet and do their best to either achieve their many objectives or die trying. Since their debut in the first Halo novel, "The Fall of Reach," ODSTs have been one of the fan-favorite ideas of the franchise, and they proved so popular that they got their own video game campaign in "Halo 3: ODST." 

However, when Master Chief scans for friendly UNSC forces in the debris field after the first mission, a number of friend-or-foe tags pop up. All of them are deceased, but many of them are actually ODSTs, and apart from a few more mentions in the campaign's audio logs, that's the sum total of these special forces' mentions, so where are they?

Presumably, they simply landed in other parts of the ring that Master Chief can't reach during the demo, but in a game that focuses so heavily on helping out and fighting alongside Marines, it is a bit surprising to never come across a single Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. 

What kind of support will the campaign receive over the next 10 years?

Last but not least, many fans are desperately wondering what might come next. "Halo Infinite" is said to be "the start of the next 10 years of Halo," but does that mean it's the only campaign that players will get for over a decade? Thankfully, the story's many unresolved plot threads set it up perfectly for expansions, DLC, and even entirely new campaigns, but there's still no word on whether or not something like this is in the works or any indication when fans might expect to see that if it is. Considering that "Halo Infinite" almost had a very different campaign, it would make sense that 343 has some tricks left to reveal.

Additionally, though the campaign was widely well-received, there are a number of quality of life patches or systems that could make its gameplay even more invigorating. For example, it has long been rumored that additional weapons and vehicles will be added to the game at later dates through the weapon and vehicle pads that players can activate at their bases. Additionally, adding the ability to command the Marines who follow the player or making it possible for them to drive on their own would also be fun additions to the game. 

Fans do know that co-op, the ability to play the campaign cooperatively with other players, is scheduled to arrive in May 2022 at the earliest alongside its multiplayer's second season. It seems likely that this would correspond with at least some additional updates or patches for the campaign, but nothing has been announced or confirmed.