A Deep Dive Into the Halo Infinite Winter Update

Key Points

  • The Halo Infinite winter update adds a ton of new achievements.

  • The Halo Infinite winter update makes necessary adjustments and improvements.

  • The Custom Games Browser lets you find custom games.

  • The Forge is finally here and is better than ever before.

Halo Infinite has had its ups and downs but has overall been a big hit with Halo fans. It’s brought Halo more into the future than it already was and now the Halo Infinite winter update propels it even further. 

The Halo Infinite winter update is a big patch for the game that promises to fix certain bugs, add to preexisting features, and add entirely new content as well. It’s the biggest update this game has seen. How big is it exactly? The winter update is 10GB large. While you won’t need to purchase a whole new hard drive for it, it’s the size of most games out there.

You’re probably thinking everything inside better be worth it for that size of an update. Well, you be the judge of that.

What’s New?

The number one thing every gamer looks forward to in an update is the new stuff.

The shiny new toys that distract them from any flaws within the game. New maps, new weapons, new, new, new. They want it. The Halo Infinite winter update doesn’t fail in that new department. There are plenty of new features for you to explore and sink your teeth into.

Custom Games Browser

If you’ve been dying for a little more ingenuity and customization in your Halo games, then the custom games browser has it all. This new feature lets you start and join a custom game on any map in any game mode, including content created using The Forge (more on that later).

The browser lists all the current custom games running at the time, letting you jump in without having to wait. When the game ends, all players remain in the lobby and on the same Fireteam unless the Fireteam leader wants to change it up. Only the Fireteam leader can launch a new game and change the match settings.

The “Community” tab on the main menu brings you to the “Custom Browser,” where you find the list of custom games. When you create a custom lobby and want others to join, set the privacy setting to “Open.” Other players can join as soon as the match begins.

Halo Infinite gameplay

Forge Beta

Fans have been waiting for the Forge to come to Halo Infinite since its inception. The Forge has been around since Halo 3, so fans knew it was only a matter of time and that time is now.

The Forge is a customization tool in Halo that allows players to create their own multiplayer maps to share with friends and the rest of the Halo network. 343 Industries promises that Halo Infinite’s Forge is more powerful than ever with an assortment of additions and improvements.

This Forge launches with support for six canvas maps, a new visual engine, object scaling, lighting and audio tools, budget increases, file sharing, and bot support. The Forge continues to see updates as time passes, and all creations carry over with every iteration.

The “Community” tab is the place to find all your favorite creations from the Forge as well as 343 Recommended content. 


The winter update brings 24 new achievements to Halo Infinite. You may achieve these on your own or with up to three friends in the Co-Op Campaign. No matter how you choose to accomplish them, they require all of your skills as a seasoned SPARTAN.

Some achievements ask that you use every weapon and get at least one kill with each of them. Others can’t be achieved unless you’re fast and know what you’re doing, requiring you to get through a mission in under 15 minutes.

Don’t worry, the addition of the Mission Replay feature makes it easier for you. Getting an achievement on the first try gives you bragging rights, though.

Campaign Network

The Campaign Network Co-Op lets you jump into Campaign mode with up to three other friends. Better yet, Campaign Network is crossplay compatible, meaning if you’re on an Xbox, you can still play with friends who are playing on a PC.

In addition, progress and unlocks are shared with all players in that campaign. This means it doesn’t matter which platform you’re playing on, all players bring their progress with them into a Co-Op campaign. This includes unlocked collectibles and Armor Cores.

If there’s a certain part of the campaign you want to relive or there’s something you missed, you can now replay any mission you want from the tactical map. This alleviates some stress of missing achievements during your first playthrough of the main game. 

Halo Infinite scenery

Battle Pass And Events

Halo Infinite continues its trend of offering a free Battle Pass that doesn’t expire. So if you don’t have Halo Infinite yet but plan on getting it in the future, you’ll have access to the Winter Update Battle Pass. 

This Battle Pass boasts 30 tiers worth of rewards, including more Halo Reach-themed cosmetics and two free events. These events offer 10 tiers of rewards each, for 20 in all. The first event is called “Winter Contingency” and brings a series of holiday-themed cosmetics. Joint Fire, the second event, focuses on the Joint Fire Observer armor featured in Halo Reach. 

New Maps

Every player for every game looks forward to new maps or areas to explore when there’s an update and 343 Industries gives you that and more. Along with new maps in the winter update, Halo Infinite receives several new game modes for multiplayer.

One new map, Empyrean, is available for custom games and matchmaking playlists. 343 Industries used The Forge to create Empyrean and it might look familiar if you’re a Halo 3 veteran. That’s because Empyrean is based on the map The Pit from Halo 3. Naturally, it’s been updated to fit Halo Infinite’s sandbox. For example, instead of machine gun turrets, there are Scrap Cannons. Weapon spawns have also been swapped out on Empyrean in favor of weapon racks, a feature used on every other multiplayer map in Halo Infinite

Argyle, another new map, takes place on a United Naval Space Command (UNSC) ship in deep space and is available in multiple Arenas and Ranked playlists. Just like Empyrean, the development team created Argyle in The Forge. It’s a powerful tool for you and your friends to use.

The last map included in the Winter Update is Detachment. And yes, this is also crafted using The Forge. It’s a symmetrical arena map in the form of an abandoned UNSC research facility. It has interior and exterior areas for battle, suitable for various play styles.

New Game Modes

Along with the new maps comes a new game mode for your enjoyment. It’s a variant of Capture the Flag called Covert One Flag. This game mode pits attackers and defenders against each other and has you switch sides every round. An asymmetrical loadout gives each team an advantage over the other.

Attackers receive active camouflage to remain undetected by the defenders’ naked eye. Meanwhile, defenders are equipped with Threat Sensors to assist with enemy detection. The team that wins the most rounds wins the game.

Look for the Joint Ops playlist to jump right into Covert One Flag.

Halo Infinite Winter Update Joint Fire

Adjustments And Improvements

No video game update is complete without bug fixes and adjustments.

You know, the boring stuff.

However, even these patches add value and entertainment to the game. 343 Industries took player feedback to heart with these improvements, such as the ones they made to their sandbox.


The majority of the Halo Infinite player base asked for changes to the weapons, making weapon tuning the primary focus of the winter update adjustments.

Weapon tuning is delicate as some powerful weapons might need to be nerfed — a gaming term that means to weaken — a bit, but if they’re weakened too much, they may become unplayable. Whereas if a weapon needs to be buffed, it can’t be strengthened too much without the risk of it becoming overpowered.

Plasma Pistol

Many players found that the Plasma Pistol is underperforming, so the development team decided to increase the base shot damage along with the charge shot angular and guided velocity. These changes are expected to improve the pistol’s overall performance.

Pulse Carbine

The development team also adjusted the stats of the Pulse Carbine since it isn’t performing at the level they preferred. The adjustments to this battle rifle included increasing the guided angular at rest velocity, targeted leading fraction, and guided projectile error radius while decreasing its on-the-move angular velocity.

VK78 Commando

When surveyed, the vast majority of players informed the development team that aiming the VK78 Commando felt off, especially at short range. This required some fine-tuning that playtests found helped players finish off enemies at close range. Several aspects of this rifle were increased from its headshot prioritization angle to its aim assist angle. The only aspect of the Commando they decreased is its minimum error angle max, allowing for greater accuracy.

Halo Infinite early renderings


As stated, some weapons need to be nerfed. The BR75, a battle rifle, is on the chopping block since it is a little too good for 343’s liking. Something needed to be done to make it a more balanced weapon. This meant that headshot prioritization and several aspects of bullet magnetism needed to be reduced.

Frag Grenade

Frag grenades in video games are always a delicate item. They’re either too good or not good enough. There’s rarely an in-between and the Frag Grenades in Halo Infinite were no exception. Too many players were getting kills when they threw a grenade right before dying, so the development team increased the detonation timer by 0.2 seconds.

Snap Slide

The “snap slide” is a bug within the game that allowed players to make game-breaking jumps. So the development team fixed the bug that allowed snap sliding. If this is something you did before the winter update, your time is up.


This electric-based pistol premiered in Halo Infinite but hasn’t been used as frequently as 343 Industries hoped. As such, they increased the magazine ammo count from 10 to 12 to encourage players to use it more.

Playlist Rework

Playlists in Halo Infinite offer variety to your multiplayer games. They switch up maps and game modes, preventing action from becoming stale. There are permanent and rotational playlists.

343 Industries monitors player behavior in multiplayer games to gauge what’s popular. They use this data to adjust the playlists, meaning the playlists evolve along with player interests. It’s a dynamic practice that, like playlists, keeps the game from becoming stale.

Rotational playlists fit a certain kind of play style. For a playlist close to the core Halo gameplay experience, Rotational Core is the playlist to look forward to.

Meanwhile, the Rotational Social playlist is for those who don’t take the game too seriously and want to play on the whacky side.

On the flip side, Rotational Ranked is for players who want to be the very best and sweat competitiveness.

Finally, there’s the Rotational Event list. This playlist features current Battle Pass events such as The Yappening or Cyber Showdown.

The first core playlist for the winter update is the Joint Ops playlist, featuring the new game mode, Covert One Flag. The permanent playlists are Quick Play, Big Team Battle, Ranked Arena, Fiesta, Tactical Slayer, and Team Slayer.

Halo Infinite Winter Update

Armor Cores And Coatings

Previous armor cores that were only available for a limited time or locked behind the Premium Battle Pass are now set to be available to all players for free. The free armor cores are the Mark V [B], Rakshasa, Yoroi, and Eaglestrike.

10 “Cadet Coatings” have now been added to all of the armor cores for free. These coatings are different colors you can apply to your unlocked armor cores and they are:

  • Cadet Blue

  • Cadet Yellow

  • Cadet Violet

  • Cadet Brick

  • Cadet Brown

  • Cadet Sage

  • Cadet Orange

  • Cadet Cyan

  • Cadet Forest

  • Cadet Grey

Because Cadet Blue is now available for the Yoroi armor core and it’s similar to the Untethered Wind armor coating, 343 Industries made some updates. To differentiate the two armor coatings, the armor pieces are now a deeper blue with less wear and tear. Secondly, any grey pieces have been changed to silver while the lights on the armor have been changed from orange to light blue. Lastly, the undersuit used with Untethered Wind is now different from the one with Cadet Blue.

Everyone that purchased the Untethered Wind coating now has the Cadet Blue and updated Untethered coating. 

Halo Infinite gameplay

Halo Infinite in Review

Halo Infinite’s winter update brings many new features and some seriously needed adjustments.

Players should be pretty happy with this update even if it doesn’t have everything they were hoping for — perhaps a weather system in a future update.

The winter update prioritizes key player experiences. A big part of that is because 343 Industries listens to its players, so continue providing feedback to help this game become the game you want it to be.

Now go and play the winter update. You can do that on your own or with up to three friends. Better yet, create your first masterpiece within The Forge and share it with the rest of the community.

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