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After much speculation, Halo Infinite has set a new release window: fall 2021. 343 Industries made the announcement Tuesday afternoon via a blog post.

Originally slated as a launch title for the Xbox Series X|S, 343 made the decision to delay the game in August.

Joseph Staten, creative director for Halo Infinite, attributed the delay to feedback 343 received after a July campaign demo.

“This discussion boiled down to one fundamental truth: we needed more time to do things right,” he said. ‘That included pushing hard in the fall, giving the team time to recharge over the holidays, and then coming back in January to finish the game at a healthy place to keep the verbs consistent.”

343 promised to keep fans of Halo better informed with continuous updates on the game’s progress, beginning with its blog post on Tuesday.

Since the July demonstration, the art and graphics team have been at work on everything from lighting to fog to wear-and-tear on Spartan armor. They were focused on visual fidelity and art style in particular, making sure Halo Infinite had visual continuity with past installments in the franchise. The result is a return to a classic art style inherent to Halo and Halo 2, upgraded with new assets, a blend senior concept artist Nicolas Bouvier hopes will “convey a sense of legacy that would resonate with all players, old-timers and newcomers alike.”

Visuals aren’t the only thing getting an upgrade Craig, campaign-villain-turned-meme, is also getting a significant makeover.

Neill Harrison, director of art management, said of Craig and the July demo, “The facial animation on NPCs was not fully implemented in that build, which resulted in Craig’s incredibly deadpan/lifeless look. All characters are modelled in a neutral pose, prior to blendshapes & animation being applied. So, poor old Craig was never intended to be seen in that condition.”

The live and customization team is also hard at work in almost every aspect of the game to ensure top quality player experience. In the development stage, they focus on optimizing functionality for challenges, progression, customization and achievements. Once Halo Infinite launches, the team will shift to monitoring the state of the game to ensure the team knows what’s working and what’s not.

“The live team’s main job is to give the player goals outside of getting the next kill,” said Chris Blohm, lead progression designer at 343. “We have great teams working on gunplay, the maps, the modes, the moment to moment of the multiplayer dance, and epic campaign.”

Will Halo Infinite be worth the wait of almost a year-long delay? Staten thinks so. “I could feel the classic Halo ‘30 seconds of fun’ beating at the heart of Infinite’s world,” he said. “But I had never felt more powerful, more mobile, more in command of a rich set of tactical choices. This was the Halo we imagined back in 2000, finally come to life, after 20 years of technical and creative innovation.”


Photo courtesy of 343 Industries