Halo Infinite will now release in fall 2021 with improved graphics

By Sherif Saed
9 December 2020 09:34 GMT

There’s a reason why Microsoft didn’t offer a new release target immediately after delaying Halo Infinite.

Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries has been promising a comprehensive update on the state of development since the game’s recent delay into 2021. The developer has finally delivered, though some of the news is better than others.

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The biggest reveal is, of course, the new release window for Halo Infinite. The game is now targeting fall 2021, which is a year after we thought we’d be getting it before the delay. 343 got this news out of the way in the opening paragraph of the lengthy update, which also included some early details about the game’s multiplayer, the improvements to visuals and art being worked on since the July demo and more.

As you might expect, many on the team already had similar criticisms to the ones relayed by fans when they saw gameplay for the first time. Even for a work-in-progress build, developers say it just wasn’t up to 343’s standards.

“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,” explained director of art management Neill Harrison.

“July was indeed a very much work-in-progress slice of the technology, and a reasonable set of key features from global illumination and dynamic time of day, to GPU-driven rendering and variable rate shading were all in active development. Much of the graphics team’s capacity, along with that of some key technical artists, was focused on achieving high resolution and performance leading up to the demo, which meant several of these features didn’t quite get the level of polish and bug fixing that was warranted,” added graphics development manager Ani Shastry.

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The blog post also included a touching message from Joseph Staten about his impression of the game’s campaign. Staten, of course, is a Bungie vet and longtime Halo developer who recently joined 343 as creative director after the studio lost a number of its own veterans in key leadership roles.

“My first week on the job, I played the entire Infinite campaign. Twice. I was, in a word, stunned—in the best possible way—by what the team had done,” said Staten.

“Infinite is, by far, the most expansive and vertical Halo world, ever. Why did the team do this? Because they understand that wonder and freedom are key to the Halo experience.

“I could feel the classic Halo ’30 seconds of fun’ beating at the heart of Infinite’s world. 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,” he added, promising more detailed updates like this in the months to come.

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