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Halo Infinite’s ending explained

There’s a lot to take in if you just reached Halo Infinite’s ending. With so much going on in the latest hours of the game, we can imagine the game left you with some questions. Some questions can only be answered with the help of Halo’s extensive lore, while other questions will probably remain unanswered until 343 Industries releases additional campaign content. To help you make some sense of Halo Infinite’s plot, we’ll try to explain everything that happens at the Halo Infinite ending!

Halo Infinite story spoilers will start right below this screenshot!

Halo Infinite Ending Explained 1

Escharum is defeated

Let’s wind back time a little bit. Just before entering the Silent Auditorium, Master Chief defeated one of the biggest enemies in Halo Infinite: War Chief Escharum. While trying to save The Pilot, Chief, and The Weapon get jumped by The Banished War Chief. After an intense battle, Master Chief comes out on top and defeats Escharum.

War Chief Escharum’s reign is definitely at an end, as we witness him dying in Master Chief’s arms. That doesn’t mean The Banished are defeated, though. As Escharum states, there are many legions of The Banished stationed at Zeta Halo. Even though Master Chief defeated multiple high-profile individuals, like Spartan Killer Jega’ Rdomnai, others will probably just take their place in The Banished’s chain of command.

The Harbinger is the first of The Endless (probably)

After defeating War Chief Escharum, Master Chief travels to the Silent Auditorium, ultimately defeating The Harbinger. Little is known about the Harbinger, but we are confident she is part of a new species called The Endless. Her name says it all, right? But who are The Endless? Based on how they look, we suspect the new Skimmers (or ‘flying octopus monkeys’, as The Weapon calls them) are related to The Endless in Halo Infinite. Beyond that, we don’t know anything for sure about The Endless. They are not mentioned in any Halo story before Infinite. 

Harbinger The Endless - Halo Infinite Ending

Some suggest The Harbinger looks similar to Prelates, an order or genetically enhanced San’Shyuum (San’Shyuum are more commonly known as Prophets). Based on differences in design, like more fingers and a prominent tooth in the middle of its chin, we think it is safe to dismiss that theory. It would also make little sense to make such a fuss about the return of a species we’ve already seen plenty of in the original Halo trilogy. And we also don’t believe Atriox and the Banished would be eager to associate themselves with San’Shyuum.

It is also suggested that The Harbinger and The Endless are related to the Precursors. The Halo Infinite campaign ending teaches us that The Endless stood trial at the Silent Auditorium. It is possible that, after the Forerunners’ genocidal campaign against the Precursors, a few remained, which were later put on trial at the Silent Auditorium and are now imprisoned within Zeta Halo. 

It is also very well possible The Endless in Halo Infinite are an entirely new species. The Forerunner Artefacts found on Zeta Halo’s open world suggest that the Forerunners were afraid to lose their power, to become the slave instead of the master. The Endless might just be an advanced race that became too big a threat to the Forerunners’ power, after which the Forerunners decided to prosecute them, compose them, and ‘store’ their remains in Cylixes within Zeta Halo.

An interesting detail might be that the Cylix for The Harbinger was orange, while the other Cylixes (with the silhouettes of humans, Elites, Grunts, and more) are blue. Back in Halo 4, the color blue in Forerunner objects suggested affiliation with The Librarian (or maybe Lifeworkers in general), while orange meant it was aligned with The Didact (or Warrior-Servants). It is currently unknown if the struggle between The Didact and The Librarian is in any way part of the Halo Infinite plot.

Atriox lives!

That brings us to Atriox. For almost the entire campaign, we were wondering: how did Atriox die in Halo Infinite? The answer is straightforward: he didn’t. In a post-credit scene, it is revealed Atriox is still alive and is about to unlock more Cylixes, all orange colored. What is in them? Who knows! The silhouette on the Cylixes isn’t exactly clear. They aren’t the same as the Cylix of The Harbinger, which is seen early on in Halo Infinite, and don’t resemble any other known race in the Halo universe. It could be Skimmers, although that would be a little bit of an anticlimax as we already encountered plenty of those during the campaign of Halo Infinite.

Atriox - Halo Infinite Ending

As described in Halo: Primordium, Zeta Halo was, at one point in history, used by the Forerunners to experiment on the Flood. The Forerunners also experimented on humans in so-called Palaces of Pain. Later, the Flood broke out on the ring, infecting Forerunners as well. After the Forerunners got the ring back under control and executed The Primordial, victims of the outbreak, as well as some proto-Graveminds, remained on the ring, possibly composed and locked in Cylixes.

Yet, we find it hard to imagine Atriox would meddle with Flood-infected lifeforms, as he experienced the Flood first-hand in Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare. Although Atriox showed no fear for the parasite, he was fully aware of the threat the Flood poses. 

This brings us back to the theory that Atriox is looking at Cylixes containing The Endless, which would be an entirely new species. He probably managed to find the genetic repository with the help of The Harbinger, who is trying to communicate with something during the fight with Master Chief. It remains unknown why these Cylixes look different from the one that contained The Harbinger.

It makes sense that Atriox is looking for powerful new allies to strengthen The Banished ranks after severe losses at both The Ark in Halo Wars 2 and now at Zeta Halo in Halo Infinite. Atriox might even think of The Endless as peers, as they were both once oppressed (The Endless by the Forerunners, The Banished by the Covenant). The scene reminded us of the comic Halo: Rise of Atriox, in which he is actively recruiting those who are willing to join The Banished and fight hard for their common purpose.

Cortana is really gone

Cortana seems to be gone for good this time. From what we’ve pieced together during the campaign, she just in time recognized her mistakes and realized that she and Master Chief were always successful because they formed such a formidable team. In an attempt to thwart Atriox’s plans, she sacrificed herself, probably generating so much power she shook Zeta Halo to pieces, thus creating large gaps in the ring. 

Yet, she still managed to leave enough of herself around to guide Master Chief. Maybe even more important, she managed to make The Weapon see who she really is, making sure Master Chief can once again rely on a new AI companion.

Halo Infinite Ending Explained 2

Master Chief, The Weapon, and The Pilot are reunited

And finally, there is this heartwarming reunion between Master Chief, The Weapon, and The Pilot. Master Chief and The Weapon apparently went off the grid for a few days and now appear between mysterious stone rings at the other side of Zeta Halo (we can see the cracks in the ring at the far end now). We’ve seen those rings on Zeta Halo, and they seem to be even older than the Forerunners. Which is strange, as the Forerunners created the Halo’s… right? 

The Pilot’s real name is Fernando Esparza, The Weapon chooses her own name

We also finally get to learn The Pilot’s real name: Esparza, Fernando Esparza! Nice to meet you, Fernando. The Weapon is also about to reveal her ‘real’ name, although unfortunately, we don’t get to hear it. She seems to be asking Master Chief for permission to name herself Cortana, and Chief tells her that she gets to choose her own name. He might mean she doesn’t need his permission, but he also might mean she can choose anything she likes. After all, it might be weird to choose the name of your predecessor right after you learned she literally destroyed planets and killed entire species.

If The Weapon decided to indeed choose her own name, it may well be ‘Joyeuse’. Now, this is a long shot, but hear us out on this one. Legend has it three historical swords were forged from the same materials. Those swords being DurendalCurtana, and… Joyeuse. Durandal was the name of a rogue AI in Marathon, a video game series created by Bungie before they created Halo. Marathon and Halo share a lot of themes, including the way AI’s serve. Halo: Combat Evolved then introduced Cortana. Joyeuse (or probably a slightly different spelling, like Durandal and Cortana) might be a fitting continuation of this tradition and is actually a suitable name for this ‘joyous’ AI. It could also very well be that we are completely wrong here, but just in case we haven’t: you read it here first.

Fernando Esparza - Halo Infinite Ending

Halo Infinite Legendary Ending (info forthcoming)

Unfortunately, we haven’t reached the Legendary Ending of Halo Infinite yet. We will update this section as soon as we have more information on the Halo Infinite Legendary Ending.

What will come after the Halo Infinite campaign ending?

So, there you have it: there’s a lot of mystery around Halo Infinite’s campaign ending that is yet to be clarified. At least we know Atriox is still out there, probably awakening The Endless, whatever those might be. We also know The Banished are still out there in full strength, occupying Zeta Halo. And finally, we know Master Chief is ready to finish the fight, with a little help from Fernando Esparza and The Weapon. Halo Infinite’s story isn’t finished; I think we’re just getting started!

What do you think of the Halo Infinite ending? Drop your ideas and wildest theories in the comments below! Want to dive deeper into the Halo lore? Check out our Halo Timeline and discover what to play, read or watch next!

Lars Cornelis

Lars is a game journalist since 2005. He loves virtual adventures and appreciates a good story, whether told through environmental storytelling or deep lore. He has a large collection of books and comics based on his favorite games, like Halo, Assassin's Creed, and Metal Gear Solid.

2 thoughts on “Halo Infinite’s ending explained

  • 10 December 2021 at 00:51
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    I have a feeling Atriox is looking for a way to turn back time to bring back his planet and use the power of hindsight to stop Cortana’s rise. My theory as of now is that The Endless are an ultra-advanced species that discovered time travel and therefore were a threat to the Forerunners supremacy, hence why they tricked them into meeting them to help them with something and the Grand Edict mentioned they couldn’t allow them to have the advantage of control of time over them in the Legendary ending. Would also explain those stargates and why the Master Chief and Joyeuse went 3 days into the future in the end when they went into that white light.

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  • 8 December 2021 at 20:30
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    Ok wow, this is a fairly good explanation. I believe they are a new species. Also , who is the criterion and the “grand edict(?)” (That is all I could understand) .

    Reply

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