343 Industries announced via Twitter that Halo Infinite will now drop in 2021, as opposed to the original Holiday 2020 release window.
The statement from studio head Chris Lee reads: “We have made the difficult decision to shift our release to 2021 to ensure the team has adequate time to deliver a Halo game experience that meets our vision.”
This comes after the most recent Halo Infinite showcase at Xbox’s digital press conference drew gentle (and not so gentle) derision for notably unfinished graphics intended to sell a next-gen system. The game looked like it played well but it certainly did not need the standards the developers want from their next big release.
The statement continued, “The decision to shift our release is the result of multiple factors that have contributed to development challenges, including the ongoing COVID-related impacts affecting us all this year.”
No doubt the demands of social distancing and the sudden shift to a ‘work from home’ culture has massively affected game development on the level of games like Halo Infinite, where you really need access to all artists in the same place and immediate feedback and correction is essential. It cannot be easy for studios like 343 right now.
Lee goes on to praise the hard work of his team under exceptional circumstances, “I want to acknowledge the hard work of our team at 343 Industries, who have remained committed to making a great game and finding solutions to developmental challenges. However, it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday.”
It sounds like everyone involved in Halo Infinite is making the best possible choice, under difficult circumstances, and while it will potentially hurt the Xbox Series X not to have a major marquee title out for Christmas, gamers will be rewarded with a much better game from a much happier team in the end.