Halo Infinite is on the horizon, and while it looks to push the limits of what we know about the Halo series, it also seems very much like a throwback to the original that started it all, Halo: Combat Evolved.

The Xbox Games Showcase kicked things off on Thursday, July 23, with a look at Halo Infinite, serving up the first bit of official gameplay we’ve seen since the game was originally announced — and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The demo opened up with a set of MJOLNIR armor being manufactured in some sort of factory, but that soon gave way to a much more impressive look at the Halo game everyone’s been waiting for.

“It all means nothing until you step inside,” presumably the voice of Chief’s AI, Cortana, or creator, Dr. Halsey, narrated as we got a look at a Spartan: John-117, who we all know as Master Chief.

The gameplay demo opened up after that, setting the stage for May 27, 2560 — “after we lost” — introducing both Master Chief and his companion, “the Pilot.” There was certainly some tension between them (“I found you, remember?!”), but Chief remains calm and collected, even though the pair appear to have crash-landed on a planet overtaken by the Covenant.

Once the scene ended and Chief began moving around, he was quick to happen upon a series of Grunts, which he quickly dispatched.

Chief then hopped into one of the franchise’s iconic Warthog vehicles to zip around the map before checking out a Tacmap with various points of interest, indicating the game will play out like an open-world title. After he reached his destination, he cleared gaps using the new Grappleshot, which lets him pull enemies and objects to him as well as close the distance between enemies. It’s a brand-new addition to Halo and should open up several new opportunities in terms of level design.

Chief later used a “Drop Wall” shield, which looked similar to the bubble shield from previous entries except it created a horizontal barrier to keep bullets from reaching Chief.

Using a pulse carbine, a battle rifle and a variety of other weapons that will no doubt be familiar to fans of the Halo series, Chief swiftly snuffed out a series of enemies from Jackals to Elites and everything in between. There was also a brief look at new weapons, including the VK78 Commando and the new Ravager plasma weapon.

There’s also a returning enemy faction in the form of the Banished, which originally appeared in Halo Wars 2. Led by War Chief Escharum, described by 343 Industries as “one of the most formidable foes the Master Chief has ever faced,” it certainly looks like this band of enemies will be difficult to eliminate.

“Fight hard. Die well,” Escharum breathed at the end of the demo as a rallying cry to Chief before a quick cut to the Halo Infinite logo appeared on screen followed by a reminder that, thankfully, we’ll still be seeing Halo Infinite when it’s set to release during Holiday 2020. It will be on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X, so you won’t have to rush to buy an Xbox Series X if you aren’t ready to do so.

PHOTO: MICROSOFT

According to 343 Industries, Halo Infinite will be the “most ambitious” Halo game ever made, with a map that’s several times larger than the past two Halo games combined. It will be locked at 60 frames per second at up to a 4K resolution and will utilize the Slipspace Engine to scale to existing platforms for those who opt to play on Xbox One.

If you begin on Xbox One and later decide to play on Xbox Series X, you can do so utilizing Smart Delivery, a technology that lets you transition from Xbox One to Xbox Series X without missing a beat — including your save.

Unfortunately, though we got our first look at gameplay today, Halo Infinite is not available to preorder just yet.

Though there’s still a bit of a wait for Halo Infinite, you can still jump into previous entries in the Halo series while waiting things out. We recommend checking out Halo 5: Guardians to see where the story ended up last, and to check out the advancements made in that particular adventure before bringing it all back with Chief again in Halo Infinite.

  • Halo 5: Guardians on Xbox One ($14.59; amazon.com)

Alternatively, get your start in the Halo series and play through the whole storyline before jumping into Halo Infinite with Halo: The Master Chief Collection. You get all the main entries as well as spinoffs, including the prequel Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST, to fill in some of the blanks. Plus, it’s a phenomenal deal for all these games.

  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One ($25.99, originally $29.99; amazon.com)

It looks like it’s going to be an exciting holiday season for Halo fans. We’ll keep you posted on when and where you can grab a copy of Halo Infinite for yourself.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.