It's the twentieth anniversary of the first Xbox launch and Microsoft is celebrating in style—by surprise-launching the multiplayer for Halo Infinite.
Microsoft and 343 Industries are calling today's early launch a "beta" for the full multiplayer experience, but with account progression and the kickoff of "Season 1," it's fair to call this a proper release for the game's multiplayer mode.
Given that it's also the twentieth anniversary of Halo: Combat Evolved, it's no surprise that Microsoft would try and use the date to throw some surprise momentum behind its premier first-person shooter. But this is a huge milestone for the beleaguered Halo Infinite team, which has split the single-player and multiplayer components of the game for the first time in the series' history.
It's also had to deal with a year-long launch delay and pushback over early presentations of the game's graphics. But after a number of well-received open betas that stress-tested the game's multiplayer capacity, it looks like Halo is once again punching above its weight with players.