Microsoft has pushed the long-speculated Halo Infinite release date all the way to Fall 2021.
Originally set to release on November 10th this year, Xbox’s flagship launch exclusive saw a high-profile delay following its public gameplay reveal during the Xbox Games Showcase this July.
Many fans questioned the game’s graphical fidelity as a next-gen launch title that could show off the capabilities of Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles. The demo also lacked any form of ray-tracing, a feature that was planned to be added in a post-it launch update.
In a Halo Waypoint update released last night, veteran Halo developer Joseph Staten revealed that the new Halo Infinite release date is scheduled for Fall 2021, likely lining up with the 20th anniversary of the original Halo: Combat Evolved.
Staten explained that a lot of effort is being put into heightening the game’s visual fidelity, allowing the team to take a short holiday break and come back swinging to create a worthy Halo title.
“The primary goal for the Campaign demo in July was showing Halo Infinite gameplay for the first time. While that aspect generally landed as we wanted, 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 Director of Art Management, Niell Harrison.
“Much of the feedback we heard from the community aligned with our own views and work we were already committed to doing around things like indirect lighting, material response, foliage and tree rendering, clouds, level-of-detail transitions, and character fidelity. Still, the feedback was humbling, and it also pushed us to look at additional opportunities for improvement.”
343 reveals that even with the long wait before the new Halo Infinite release date, the graphics team has already remedied issues with the vast majority of graphical issues that were present in July’s demo.
“Some of the key areas of progress include better quality of global illumination, ambient occlusion, shadows, volumetric lighting, sky, and atmosphere,” explained graphics Development Manager Ani Shastry. “We have also addressed issues with our GPU-driven rendering and texture streaming solution that should mitigate the LOD popping and texture quality issues that were prevalent in the July demo.”
Harrison added: “We’ve improved some of our materials to get more specular response, more wear-and-tear on weapons/vehicles, more fidelity in our characters, and more macro breakup on large surfaces like rocks, terrain, and the hex walls. We’re now also getting more of our textural detail coming through to the final frame thanks to a sharpening process that our graphics team have added. This helps offset some of the natural blurring of temporal anti-aliasing and it certainly helps our assets shine.”
However, before the delay, many fans were critical of a now-beloved Halo meme: Craig the Brute. While many expressed that they would like that single Brute to remain the same as an Easter egg, fans really wanted a different look for the Brutes.
“I can confirm that the facial animation on NPCs was not fully implemented in that build, which resulted in Craig’s incredibly deadpan/lifeless look,” Harrison said. “There’s been further work done on the material fidelity and more variety added for Brute faces, we’re also working to add some hairdos and beards which was something we hadn’t gotten to in July.”
With the new Halo Infinite release date scheduled for Fall 2021, it’s going to be a while until we’re able to play the hotly anticipated shooter.
What are your thoughts on the rescheduled Halo Infinite release date? Are you fine with waiting another year? Tell us in the comments section below, but be nice about it!