In a lengthy blog post, 343 Industries provide an update on the development of Halo Infinite and confirm its delay to fall 2021.
You may recall that Halo Infinite was due to be the lead launch title for the Xbox Series X. However, following the decidedly lukewarm reception to the game’s Xbox Summer Showcase reveal, Microsoft and 343 Industries announced an indefinite delay.
In a new Halo Waypoint update, Bungie veteran Joseph Staten – who returned to 343 Industries in July – confirms the game is now planned for release in late 2021, saying:
“I joined 343i right as the team was wrestling with feedback from the July campaign demo. This discussion boiled down to one fundamental truth: we needed more time to do things right. That included pushing hard in the Fall, giving the team time to recharge over the Holidays, and then coming back in January to finish the game at a healthy pace.”
The fallout from the reveal demo is felt throughout the post, and it’s obvious that the reaction from fans was a genuine shock to the development team.
Neill Harrison, director of art management at 343 Industries, addresses some of the concerns directly, saying:
“The primary goal for the Campaign demo in July was showing Halo Infinite gameplay for the first time. While that aspect generally landed as we wanted, the reality is that the art and visuals weren’t at the bar we hold for Halo – even in a work-in-progress state.”
Ani Shastry, development Manager for 343’s graphics team, adds:
“Visual fidelity is a very important goal for Halo Infinite, and the graphics and art teams have been continually aspiring, and working closely with each other, to create the best-looking Halo game ever. I definitely want to acknowledge the input that we got from the Halo community and our fanbase; staying open to critical feedback and looking at areas where we can learn and do better is an inherent part of our culture at 343.”
The full post is an insightful read and reveals more about Halo Infinite‘s art, graphics, and its free-to-play multiplayer component. Despite the delay, there’s much to look forward, and the return of Joseph Staten – who previously worked on Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach – appears to have galvanised the team.
Here at Thumbsticks, we’re firm advocates of studios taking as much time as they need to make a game the best it can be. Given the team’s brutal self-assessment – not to mention the complexities of developing a game during a global pandemic – you have to wonder why Halo Infinite was demoed in July at all. Except, you don’t have to wonder. Commercial pressures and the desperate need for the Xbox Series X to have a system-seller will have all played a part. Hopefully, a redefined creative direction and a full year of “healthy” development time will pay off.
We’ll miss Craig, though.