Update: Microsoft has confirmed that Halo Infinite will release on 8th December 2021, following on from leaks earlier today.
The company has also announced a special edition Master Chief version of the Xbox Elite 2 Controller, and a rather spiffy looking limited edition Halo Infinite Xbox Series X.
And Microsoft has released the cinematic intro trailer for Season One of Halo Infinite Multiplayer, which casts you as part of a new generation of Spartan.
The original post follows:
The Halo Infinite release date has finally been confirmed, in the ignominious fashion of a Microsoft Store page leak. The premier Xbox exclusive shooter will be releasing on 8th December 2021 for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC and whatever you can get Xbox Cloud Gaming to run on.
The official announcement is expected to take place later today during Gamescom Opening Night Live, but the Microsoft Store page was updated a bit early to confirm an 8th December release. That was then confirmed by The Verge.
If only Microsoft had decided to mention Halo Infinite even one single time during last night’s Xbox Showcase, this leak might not have happened!
This December release date is pretty much the last possible moment that Microsoft can wait until to get the game out before Christmas. We’ve seen similar brinksmanship from Cyberpunk 2077 last year (which went badly), and Halo Infinite will be joining Dying Light 2 in trying to pull the same stunt in 2021. Hopefully both games come out of it better.
Except that there are some real concerns that the game will be releasing in an unfinished and imperfect fashion. Just last week, 343 Industries revealed that campaign co-op and the creative Forge mode will not be included at launch. Instead they will release alongside major updates to the game through its ‘live service’ post-launch plans. Campaign co-op is expected to come as part of Season 2, around three months after release, while Forge mode will come with Season 3, around six months after the initial launch.
While it’s better for 343 Industries to keep features that aren’t ready to one side for later, the worry is that it’s indicative of the rest of the game. It’s clear that despite the year-long delay for the game, it’s going to be coming in hot.
Halo Infinite was originally announced for release alongside the Xbox Series X|S at the end of 2020, but after a disappointing showing at the Xbox Series X gameplay reveal showcase, Microsoft took a decision to give the studio more time to refine and polish their product, giving Halo Infinite a new 2021 release window. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to affect and slow work across the entire industry, it’s clearly remained a struggle.
Further Reading: What we learnt from the Halo Infinite Multiplayer Technical Preview
That delayed development eventually led to a multiplayer tech preview last month, putting various difficulty levels of AI bots to the test and (very briefly) testing competitive Slayer. 343 say that the tech preview was a success on the whole, and gave them plenty of data to narrow down and stamp out issues that it revealed. That said, the tech preview codebase was roughly 2 months old at the time that it went live, so improvements are sure to have already come thick and fast.