• Citing the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the factors involved, 343 Industries is moving the release of "Halo Infinite" to 2021
  • This means that when the Xbox Series X arrives this November, "Halo Infinite" will not be selling with the console
  • After facing criticism over the graphics they presented at the Xbox Games Showcase, 343 Industries will now have ample time to address fan issues over the title

Count “Halo Infinite” and its planned 2020 release date as another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Verge reports that Microsoft and 343 Industries have made the decision to delay the launch of the highly anticipated “Halo Infinite” to 2021. This means that when the Xbox Series X is released this holiday season, the title it has been heavily associated with for months won’t be sold with the unit.

343 Industries says the delay is related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as employees have shifted to work from home and the development of large games has been particularly difficult for many in the industry.

“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,” said Chris Lee, studio head for Halo Infinite. “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,” he said.

In May of this year, Microsoft executive vice-president for Gaming Phil Spencer warned that this scenario might happen. “I’d say the bigger unknown is probably the game production, just being honest. Game production is a large scale entertainment activity now, you have hundreds of people coming together, building assets, working through creative.”

A couple of developers have already cited the pandemic as the main reason for their respective delays in launching their titles. This was the case when Bungie delayed the next big “Destiny 2” expansion to November 10. Naughty Dog said something similar when the release of “The Last of Us Part II” was moved earlier this year.

At the Xbox Games Showcase a few weeks ago, Microsoft still presented a demo of “Halo Infinite” as both Microsoft and 343 Industries still publicly committed to launching the title with the next-gen console. Unfortunately, that will no longer be the case.

Reception to that event, particularly the graphics and visuals of “Halo Infinite” that was presented, were mixed, reports The Verge. 343 Industries responded to the criticisms, admitting that “we do have work to do to address some of these areas and raise the level of fidelity and overall presentation for the final game.”

By moving the release date to next year, 343 Industries will now have the time to properly address fan concerns and present a “Halo Infinite” that would have been rushed only to meet the Xbox Series X deadline.

Microsoft confirmed that a new "Halo" title will reach the Xbox One this year. Courtesy/Microsoft