Halo Infinite was definitely one of if not the biggest exclusive for Microsoft going into the release of the Xbox Series X in Holiday 2020. Halo Infinite was supposed to release at launch for the Xbox Series X, but the game has now been delayed from a launch title to a release date sometime in 2021.
343 Industries announced the news earlier today on their social media.
343 Industries Studio Head, Chris Lee said in the release that multiple factors have contributed to development changes, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It wasn’t hard to imagine Halo Infinite being delayed. After its showing on the Xbox Games Showcase of an 8-minute demo, many criticized the graphics of the first-person shooter. 343 Industries actually addressed the feedback to the visuals a little over a week ago in a community update.
Halo Community Manager at 343 Industries, John JunyszekFirst, we want to acknowledge that yes, we’ve heard the feedback coming from parts of the community regarding the visuals in the Halo Infinite campaign demo. While we see and hear far more positive than negative, we do want to share a bit more context. From our perspective, there are two key areas being debated around the community – overall art style and visual fidelity.
Based on our learnings from Halo 4, Halo 5, and Halo Wars 2 – along with strong community feedback – we decided to shift back towards the legacy aesthetics that defined the original trilogy. With Halo Infinite, we’re returning to a more ‘classic’ art style which was a key message going back to the very first reveal that garnered enthusiastic and positive responses. This translates to a more vibrant palette, “cleaner” models and objects with less “noise”, though it doesn’t mean less detail. While we appreciate this may not be everyone’s personal preference, we stand by this decision and are happy to see it resonating with so many fans around the world.
The second theme being discussed involves visual fidelity. Negative feedback in this area includes comments around characters and objects appearing flat, simplistic and plastic-like, lighting feeling dull and flat, and object pop-in. We’ve read your comments, we’ve seen the homemade examples of retouched content, and yes we’ve heard the Digital Foundry assessments. In many ways we are in agreement here – we do have work to do to address some of these areas and raise the level of fidelity and overall presentation for the final game. The build used to run the campaign demo was work-in-progress from several weeks ago with a variety of graphical elements and game systems still being finished and polished. While some of the feedback was expected and speaks to areas already in progress, other aspects of the feedback have brought new opportunities and considerations to light that the team is taking very seriously and working to assess. We don’t have firm answers or outcomes to share yet but the team is working as quickly as possible on plans to address some of the feedback around detail, clarity, and overall fidelity. The team is committed and focused on making sure we have a beautiful world for players to explore when we launch.
It definitely seems like one of those “multiple factors” that was mentioned earlier was the graphics. Due to 343 Industries’ willingness to delay the game to remedy concerns, Halo Infinite is no longer an Xbox Series X launch title. One has to wonder how this will affect the launch of the Series X as it has just lost its biggest exclusive for a launch title.
Halo Infinite is set for release in 2021 on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.