March 4, 2021



Halo Infinite will debut in fall 2021 after pandemic-driven delay

Halo Infinite has a new release date.

The highly-anticipated game will debut next fall, Microsoft-owned developer 343 Industries announced Tuesday.

Halo Infinite was originally scheduled to release last month alongside the debut of Microsoft’s new console, the Xbox Series X. But this summer, 343 delayed the game’s release, citing development challenges including COVID-related impacts.

“I joined 343i right as the team was wrestling with feedback from the July campaign demo,” Joseph Staten, a Halo veteran who returned in August as the project lead on Infinity‘s story campaign, wrote in a blog post that includes other Infinite-related updates and screenshots. “This discussion boiled down to one fundamental truth: we needed more time to do things right. 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 pace. ”

Microsoft showed off the game in July month as part of a preview. Developers described Infinity as not simply a sequel, but as a “spiritual reboot” to the series, and a platform that 343 can use to keep building on the Halo universe.

But for now, the new Xbox has a lengthy hole in its first-party release schedule for the foreseeable future.

A separate post from 343 on Reddit last month offered a glimpse at the events surrounding the game’s delay. The decision to postpone the release seems to have been sudden, given the July preview and a number of cross-promotional deals with Halo Infinite. The new Series X also prominently features the Master Chief, Halo’s protagonist, on the back of its box.

Halo has been a tentpole franchise for the Xbox line of consoles for almost 20 years, dating back to the original game in 2001. Originally developed by the Bellevue, Wash.-based studio Bungie, Halo was regarded as the “killer app” for the original Xbox, and the games in the franchise are a significant driver of the Xbox’s overall success as a platform.

343 Industries, headquartered in Redmond, Wash., Was founded by Microsoft in 2007 specifically to continue development on the Halo franchise after Bungie went independent in 2007. Its first game in the series was the 2011 enhanced re-release of Halo: Combat Evolved, meant to celebrate the game’s 10th anniversary.