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Game of Two Years Contender.

It’s certainly the game of the moment, with its surprise early multiplayer beta public release hitting over a quarter of a million concurrent players on Steam, but Game of the Year 2021 it will not be.

After a year’s delay and studio challenges, Halo Infinite is finally still slated for a December 8 release, but the full game’s features will be delivered piecemeal throughout 2022. That the co-op and Forge modes would be delivered in 2022 is something we’ve known since August, but in both a blog post and new interview with Eurogamer, it seems that the wait for a full experience (let alone an infinite one) will be somewhat longer than expected.

In August, Joseph Staten, Head of Creative at 343 Industries, said that his team was “targeting” a campaign co-op launch with Infinite’s second season and the “Forge” customisation suite for the third.

That in principle hasn’t changed, but the targeted dates for those seasons have. In a post on Halo Waypoint, Staten says:

“Season 1 will last from now until May 2022, which is a change from our original goal of shipping a new Season every three months. We made the decision to extend Season 1 to give ourselves more time to ensure Season 2 meets our high quality bar and so we can finish development for Season 2 in a healthy and sustainable way for our team.”

That’s a little longer than the three-month wait for Halo 5‘s Forge mode or the same expected three-month wait for Infinite this time. Staten discussed the reasons for the delay with Eurogamer:

“Well, the good news is that campaign co-op has been playable for some time. It’s playable now. But the goal is we want it to be a great experience. We don’t just want to ship a campaign co-op that barely works. We want to ship a campaign co-op that’s stable, that’s robust, that has the features players expect. And we’re also doing some other things that we haven’t talked about yet to really make meeting up with your friends, and you’re jumping into the game, good just not for campaign, but even better for multiplayer, too. So when it comes to shipping campaign co-op, we have a lot of other things that are kind of branches off that central trunk of campaign co-op that we think are an opportunity to just improve the whole game experience.”

With season one being extended until May, it’s also an issue of flexibility.

“Those remain targets. And we can’t commit to any hard dates right now, because as we’re seeing with this multiplayer beta, other things might move up in the priority stack for us,” Staten says. “If it turns out that our progression system just isn’t working the way that we intended, if we need to move some of these bigger rocks that I talked about sooner then we as a team will make those decisions and will clearly communicate to our fans why we’re why we’re doing certain things.”

I’m currently loving the beta of Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer, which will remain free-to-play on PC and Xbox consoles on its December 8 release. However, it sounds like the campaign’s full price or complimentary release through Xbox Game Pass, will be best experienced this time next year. I expect we’ll see more clarity in January.

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