343 Industries has announced that Halo Infinite, the headlining game for the Xbox Series X’s launch this holiday, will be coming out in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic requiring the studio to work from home, bringing about new complications in development.
The studio made the announcement through its social channels, where Studio Head Chris Lee explained that, given the circumstances, 343 felt it best to give the game more time so the studio could work at a reasonable pace. Which is, admittedly, more than can be said for some of Microsoft’s direct competitors.
The full announcement reads 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.”
Halo Infinite Development Update pic.twitter.com/TFZvXhRN9f
— Halo (@Halo) August 11, 2020
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While we don’t know when in 2021 Halo Infinite will finally come to PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X, we at least know that the Xbox Series X, which is coming out in the vague “holiday 2020” (probably sometime in November) window, has just lost one of its biggest pulls in terms of launch window games. Although, with the game coming to so many other platforms that are readily available to people now, it remains to be seen if the game would have moved console units, anyway. Sure, there’s an appeal to playing things on the nicest, newest box you can, but how many of us can throw down a few hundred bucks on a box for a game we can play on the box we own?
Halo Infinite was last showcased during an Xbox Game Studios presentation last month, which showed off multiple games from Microsoft’s first-party studios.
Whatever the case is, Microsoft has been steadfast in saying that the Xbox Series X’s launch is still on track for this holiday, even with the pandemic interfering with just about every other side of the industry. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has gone on record saying that more launches in 2021 will be affected than things that have been put in motion for 2020, but we’ll see if that holds up as the year goes on, as even the “system seller” for Xbox is taking the hit now.