It’s always a lovely feeling when you enjoy something new — a TV show, a movie, a book, even a video game — and you can tell that someone involved with it really knows their cars, just like you do. Real recognize real, et cetera. On today’s episode of “Did a car enthusiast help write this?”, we have Halo Infinite.
Yes, the game where you assume the body of a seven-foot-tall power-armored space marine called a Spartan II by name of Master Chief who has almost nothing to say but plenty of aliens to kill, has some good car references. They’re subtle, but there are enough dots to connect that you can see the full picture. Some might even say I’m grasping for straws but it’s easy to see that the developers (343 Industries) have some car folks embedded in their ranks.
One of the core mechanics of Halo Infinite is that it is the first open-world first-person Halo game. The player, as Master Chief, navigates a huge open-world on an artificial ring with Earth-like features after a crushing defeat for humanity against an alien faction called The Banished. There is a linear storyline beautifully worked into the open-world gameplay and the side-missions are repeatable murderous fun.
And the side-missions are what caught my car brain’s attention. Some of these quests, as it were, are as simple as saving stranded squads of marines from an onslaught of enemies. Players locate these squads through a minimap that shows us their location and name. There is one corner of the map with three squads that have suspect names.
These squads exist so close together on the southwest corner of the map that this can’t possibly be a coincidence. They are:
- Cayman Squad. Huh.
- Carrera Squad. Wait a minute…
- Boxer Squad. Well, I’ll be damned.
For folks who don’t know, welcome to the car hobby. We are a happy bunch of lunatics. Also, Cayman is the name of Porsche’s extremely popular entry-level sports car. On its own, the term could be mistaken as the species of reptile called Caiman. But, next to the other two squads, it clearly becomes a car reference. For the record, Porsche has a record of swapping a letter for its names. Another example is the Porsche Carrera GT’s Fayence Yellow paint job named after Faience pottery.
Speaking of Carrera, it is normally a trim level for the Porsche 911, the German automaker’s flagship rear-engined sports car. This nameplate goes as far back as 1956 with the Porsche 356 A 1500 GS Carrera, and it is Spanish for “race.” Carrera is synonymous with Porsche as Skippy is to peanut butter. Placed next to Cayman, it’s obvious enough. But then you add Boxer Squad.
Boxer could mean, to most people, a fighter that uses large gloves to punch other people. To car folk, it is an engine configuration where the engine is flat and the pistons are opposed to each other. It is also the engine configuration of choice for every Porsche sports car ever made, including the Cayman and the 911, including 911 Carreras.
That seals the deal for me. Cayman, Carrera, Boxer. It’s like they’re listing off the core competencies of Porsche. This is cool as fuck to see in one of my favorite video game franchises of all time, especially in an incredible return to form for the series. Serious props here, 343 Industries. Serious props.
It doesn’t end there. A couple more small details I’ve seen so far: Spartan Vettel, who I’m fairly sure is named for Sebastian Vettel, four-time Formula One world champion. His armor is also red, and Sebastian Vettel drove a red Ferrari F1 car from 2015 to 2020, the majority of his career, in a red racing suit. Vettel isn’t exactly a common name, either. Also, there was the Hoonigan Halo Warthog build we saw earlier this year.
Has anyone else seen interesting car references in Halo Infinite? I’d love to hear them in the comments.
What to read next:
- Watch Peter Nelson participate in Land Rover’s Trophy Competition driving all-new Defenders in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.
- Why drift fans are mourning Japan’s Ebisu Minami drift circuit.
- It’s a major deal that iRacing put a factory-supported Mercedes F1 car into its simulator, and Chris Rosales tested it out.
- If you weren’t able to check out Autopia 2099, we attended the EV car show and took a bunch of photos.
- Find out why downgrading from coilovers back to conventional suspension can be the right move for the right situation.