343 Industries has delayed the release of Halo Infinite, the Xbox Series X‘s big flagship game, to 2021. This means the highly anticipated shooter will no longer be a launch title for the next-gen console, which will be out in November.
Studio head Chris Lee made the announcement on Twitter. Read the statement below:
Lee explained that the release date was being pushed back “to ensure the team has adequate time to deliver a Halo game experience that meets our vision.”
The delay comes just a few weeks after Halo Infinite‘s gameplay was first unveiled during an Xbox Games Showcase. The footage was divisive, to say the least, with one section of fans lauding the game’s “back to basics” approach that harkens back to the classic Halo games from Bungie, while another group criticized the graphics and art style, saying they looked dated and “not next-gen enough.” Wherever you fall in terms of the discourse, the graphics may not be the only reason the game is being delayed.
Lee explained that one of the main reasons behind the delay is the Covid-19 shutdowns.
“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.”
343 did not say when exactly the game will release in 2021. In a post on Xbox Wire, Microsoft did some damage control, promoting all of the other games players will be able to enjoy on the Xbox Series X in November. Here’s a breakdown of all the stuff that isn’t Halo Infinite that you can play on launch day:
- More than 50 new games planned for this year across generations and optimized for Xbox Series X, including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Dirt 5, Gears Tactics, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and Watch Dogs: Legion. With Smart Delivery you only have to buy these games once to play the best versions for your console, across generations.
- New games developed for Xbox Series X and launching with Xbox Game Pass, including exclusives like The Medium, Scorn, Tetris Effect: Connected, and more.
- More than 40 popular games newly optimized to take full advantage of Xbox Series X such as Destiny 2, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Madden NFL 21, and more.
Xbox Game Pass subscribers will also be able to enjoy the usual offerings, including xCloud support, at launch. The company also stressed that thousands of games across Xbox One, Xbox 360, and the original Xbox will be playable on the Xbox Series X.
But will all of these perks be enough to distract people from the fact that the Xbox Series X will release without a single new first-party launch title?
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.