Halo Infinite Delayed To 2021

Halo Infinite Delayed To 2021

Trailer from the Xbox July 2020 Showcase

A bomb was dropped by 343 Industries yesterday: Halo Infinite is being delayed until next year. 

I expect there was a lot of jubilation among the PlayStation faithful, knowing one of the great reasons for investing in an Xbox Series X this November had vanished. A lot of Xbox gamers were upset at their flagship franchise not launching with the new console. 

Here's the statement: "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."

Xbox Series X Still Launching November

The Xbox Series X is still on track to launch this November. I expect this will be a soft launch, with a range of third party games such as Madden 21, Fifa 21, Cyberpunk 2077, Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, NBA 2K21, Assassin's Creed: Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion

Microsoft will heavily emphasize backwards compatibility on the console, noting the thousands of games that can be played on it. I wouldn't be surprised if it also focused on the 4K/120fps ability, showcasing games that achieve this to help sell the console. 

PlayStation 5 To Own November?

The biggest beneficiary of the delay is Sony. The PlayStation 5 has exclusive games, a clear line-up and vision of where it wants to go. All Sony has to do is announce the price and launch date and watch the PlayStation 5 fly off the shelves this winter. 

As I wrote before, there are no major games that will take advantage of the system's power until next year. But the delay gives Sony a head-start in the next generation. There will be a void and the absence of Halo Infinite could persuade some Xbox gamers to jump ship.

Heads To Roll At 343 Industries

One of the biggest consequences of the delay could be a shake up at 343. The studio has had over five years since the release of Halo 5: Guardians to get this ready. That would have been plenty of time to get the game ready to be shipped for a November 2020 launch. Something has clearly gone wrong there and I would expect Phil Spencer to investigate fully and make organisational changes as needed to right the ship. Will Bonnie Ross go? Who knows.

Microsoft Needs To Get This Right

After the disastrous current gen, Microsoft needs to get the next generation right. It cannot afford any slip-ups, nor can it afford to be complacent and rely on the success of Game Pass Ultimate to drive revenue for the Xbox division. 

If I were management at Microsoft and wanted to make a dent, I would undercut the PlayStation 5 and bundle Game Pass Ultimate (for 3 months) with it. Then I would go around making deals with every third party publisher and ensure the system has exclusive DLC/content and new games. Microsoft needs to be aggressive.

Failure to do so could mean this would be the last console generation it participates in. I expect there are a few higher-ups at Microsoft who would be very happy at that possibility. They are probably thinking 'we are a software company, what are we doing making consoles?'. 

We, as gamers, though, need Microsoft to succeed. Competition is healthy, so we need the Xbox Series X to do well.

Concluding Thoughts

Halo Infinite's delay is unfortunate. I hope 343 uses the time to make a better game and improve on its foundations, creating a game that will give PlayStation a run for its money. I look forward to seeing the results next year. 


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