Halo Infinite will launch in the fall of 2021. 343 Industries announced the new launch window on Tuesday evening.
The Xbox tentpole was originally expected with the launch of the new Xbox Series X console, but underwhelmed reactions to a campaign demo this summer sent 343’s designers back to the drawing board, and moved the games release into the next year. 343’s update on Tuesday acknowledged fans’ disappointment with the content slice shown in July, and offered half a dozen screenshots as proof the studio has worked hard on polishing the game since then.
“The reality is that the art and visuals weren’t at the bar we hold for Halo — even in a work-in-progress state,” said Neill Harrison, 343’s director of art management. “The feedback was humbling, and it also pushed us to look at additional opportunities for improvement.”
In October, Bloomberg reported that 343 removed director Chris Lee following the July demo. In August, Lee announced that the game’s launch was being moved to 2021, saying at the time that “it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday.” He left the project three weeks later, although he remains employed by Microsoft.
Tuesday’s statement also addressed the free-to-play nature of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer, announced back in July. “Players that play for free will be able unlock items across a multitude of different customization types to allow them to represent themselves in-game,” said Chris Blohm, a designer of Halo Infinite’s progression system. He elaborated later that Halo Infinite would not have “loot boxes […] randomness or items that influence the sandbox and gameplay.”
Microsoft has much more from the roundtable with 343’s designers.