Microsoft, along with Halo developer 343 Industries, has made the call to delay the launch of Halo Infinite into 2021, a push that means the next entry in Microsoft’s big flagship franchise won’t arrive alongside its next-generation Xbox Series X in November of this year.
In a statement shared to twitter, 343i studio head Chris Lee said the decision stems from multiple factors that complicated the development process, including COVID-19 and the pandemic-driven switch to remote development.
“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,” writes Lee. Later on the statement, he notes that part of the decision is that “it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday.”
Xbox head Phil Spencer had previously signaled that the company was willing to delay first-party Xbox Series X launch titles given COVID-19’s impact on both the development process and global supply chains, but Halo Infinite looks to be the first big exclusive taking Spencer up on that offer.
Despite the delay of Xbox’s arguably heaviest next-gen hitter, its unlikely that the company plans to shift its launch plans for the console itself. Spencer hypothetically said as much to IGN in a separate interview earlier this year. Adding to that, Xbox officially narrowed down the Series X launch window from “Holiday 2020” to November 202 on the exact same day this big Halo delay was announced.
Halo Infinite Development Update pic.twitter.com/TFZvXhRN9f— Halo (@Halo) August 11, 2020