343 Industries announced that the next installment of the Halo franchise, Halo Infinite, will be delayed until 2021.
In a statement published to the official Halo Twitter account, Halo Infinite Studio Head Chris Lee informed fans that the team had “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.”
He explained that “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.”
He also acknowledged “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,” Lee unfortunately found, “it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday.”
Lee continued, expressing empathy with players’ disappointment, stating, “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,” Lee concluded.
This turn of events is particularly devastating to Microsoft, as the delay of the Xbox Series X’s flagship title weakens the November launch of the new console.
Based on the mixed response to the campaign trailer shown on July 23rd, this delay may be beneficial to the title in the long term.
While fans criticized almost every aspect of the trailer, from its lackluster graphics to its unimpressive gameplay, the prevailing consensus among fans seemed to be that something was lacking.
Though the official delay announcement cites COVID as a major factor, it’s likely that 343 is using the unstable work conditions caused by the pandemic as an opportunity to perform major upgrades to the title in order to beef it up and make it more feature rich at launch.
As disappointing as the delay is, it’s paramount that 343 get this right.
Not only will the game debut a brand new engine, which many expected to be much more visually stunning and immersive than what has been shown, but the title has been set to launch a new era in the Halo franchise as it makes its way into the next console generation.
Given that Halo Infinite may see an extended content life span in the form of its confirmed free multiplayer offering and a rumored battle royale mode, it’s vital that the studio take the time to address these issues and polish the title.
343 Industries needs to maximize this extra time,and make a splash with Halo Infinite in 2021.
Halo fans are eagerly waiting and hoping that they do.
What do you think? Will Halo Infinite’s delay help? Share your thoughts below.