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Halo Infinite delayed to 2021

No release date was given

artwork of Master Chief on a Halo ring from Halo Infinite Image: 343 Industries/Xbox Game Studios
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Halo Infinite has been delayed until 2021, developer 343 Industries announced Tuesday.

Studio head Chris Lee made the announcement, published on social media and the Halo Infinite blog. Lee said the decision to hold the game until 2021 was made due to “multiple factors,” including “the ongoing COVID-related impacts.” He noted that it’s not “sustainable” for the team to rush it out for “this holiday,” when Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is slated for its launch.

The full statement is as follows:

Today I want to share an important Halo Infinite development update with the community. 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.

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. I want to acknowledge the hard work from our team at 343 Industries, who have remained committed to making a great game and finding solutions to development 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.

We know this will be disappointing to many of you and we all share in that sentiment. The passion and support the community has shown over the years has been incredible and inspiring. We wanted nothing more than to play our game with the community this holiday. The extra time will let us finish the critical work necessary to deliver the most ambitious Halo game ever at the quality we know our fans expect.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

343 Industries showcased Halo Infinite during Microsoft’s Xbox Games Showcase on July 23. The studio debuted the first gameplay trailer for the next-generation game. Response from fans was mixed, however: A lot of criticism centered on Halo Infinite’s graphics, and whether they were “next-gen” enough. Some thought the graphics looked outdated — particularly, one brute the community dubbed “Craig” — while others thought the look was a callback to the aesthetic of Halo: Combat Evolved.

Immediately following the trailer’s debut, 343 Industries developers began defending its graphics. Microsoft’s Xbox games marketing manager Aaron Greenberg told Inside Gaming that Halo Infinite was a “work-in-progress,” noting there was enough time before the holiday launch date. Lee told Polygon at the time that players concerned about the graphics should watch the trailer in 4K, where the game is shown in its “full fidelity.”

“We have some polishing and tuning that the team is working on to really bring the full potential of the experience to our fans later this year,” he said at the time.

Xbox Wire editor-in-chief Will Tuttle published a notice on Xbox Wire, too, addressing the game’s delay. In it, he confirmed that the Xbox Series X will be released in November — but an exact date for the console’s release wasn’t given. He also noted that “there will be thousands of games to play” when the console is released.

Halo Infinite was first announced at E3 2018. 343 Industries has not announced a new release date for the game.