343 Industries have opened up about Halo Infinite and its delayed launch, revealing that the game now has a launch window of Fall 2021. That’s effectively a year-long delay from the original intended launch alongside the Xbox Series X|S on 10th November.
The update was given by Joseph Staten, one of the figures from Bungie and the Halo franchise early years who returned to the studio earlier this year around the time. He’s indelibly linked to the series as the voice of the Grunts.
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.
Because Halo Infinite in the Fall of 2021… is just the beginning of the adventure.
It is, of course, a huge delay for what was meant to be a tentpole launch title, and leaves gamers wondering what Microsoft can offer in terms of first party exclusives through the start of 2021 to stack up against Sony’s plans for PlayStation 5, but importantly, this sounds like the right way of doing things.
Instead of forcing the developers to roll from one extended period of crunch to another, Staten clearly explains that they were “pushing hard” over the last few months, which could be read to mean crunch or simply hard work, and that they will now take a regular break over the holiday period to then continue development at “a healthy pace.”
Further good news is that the campaign is already ready to complete. Staten says:
My first week on the job, I played the entire Infinite campaign. Twice. I was, in a word, stunned—in the best possible way—by what the team had done. Infinite is, by far, the most expansive and vertical Halo world, ever. Why did the team do this? Because they understand that wonder and freedom are key to the Halo experience. […]
It encapsulates all the excitement and curiosity and joy I felt on my first journey through Zeta Halo, the most mysterious, dangerous, and possibility-rich place in the entire Halo universe. Everywhere I looked, I saw choices.
You’ll obviously excuse a little bias on his part, but it’s an encouraging sign that it can be completed, and that the year ahead will be spent fleshing out that vision, crafting the extensive multiplayer options and ensuring that it looks as good as it possibly can on all platforms.
Source: Halo Waypoint