Just this afternoon, Microsoft and 343 Industries announced their decision to push back the originally planned release date of Halo Infinite until sometime in 2021. While the news comes as a surprise to many, others aren’t so stunned about the delay of the Xbox Series X’s flagship, first-party title.
At 3 p.m. EST, Halo’s official Twitter account released a development update on Halo Infinite, which erupted into a heated online debate between angry fans, Xbox haters and those who supported the delay over rushing out an unfinished game. Several users around the web took to social media to voice their opinions, as well as flooding such platforms with memes regarding the decision.
Halo Infinite Development Update pic.twitter.com/TFZvXhRN9f
— Halo (@Halo) August 11, 2020
Chris Lee, the studio head for Halo Infinite, said in the statement that “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. The decision to shift our release is the result of multiple factors that have contributed to development challenges, including the ongoing COVID-related impacts affecting us all this year. I want to acknowledge the hard work from our team at 343 Industries, who have remained committed to making a great game and finding solutions to development challenges. However, it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday.”
Reactions from users online ranged from apathy to understanding, with the tweet racking up tens of thousands of likes, retweets and quotes in just a couple of hours. One such reply from MrDalekJD, a gaming YouTuber from the UK, included a quote from legendary Japanese game director Shigeru Miyamoto, who said “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad,” when he famously delayed the launch of the Nintendo 64.
Several replies from the Sony side of the impending console war were quick to jump in and criticize the delay, whether mocking Xbox fans as “Xbots” or posting memes comparing the lineups between the PS5 and XSX. Twitter user TigerCA123 was one such PlayStation memer, who replied to the tweet with a Distracted Boyfriend meme featuring the new Spider-Man Miles Morales PS5 exclusive.
The exact reason for the delay was shrouded in vague statements, so naturally, many users began to speculate or theorize on it with their own takes. It’s well-known that the recent Halo Infinite demo, which premiered in July during Microsoft’s Xbox Games Showcase, was met with widespread criticism regarding the game’s graphical quality — later giving life to the beloved meme character, Craig the Brute.
Although nothing was said about the delay involving any sort of changes to the game’s graphics, many speculated that the negative reception over the demo might have played a role in pushing Halo Infinite to 2021. Although Craig eventually became a hit among Halo Infinite fans, the graphics remain one of the most hotly debated subjects regarding the next chapter in the Halo series.
Those who were largely unsurprised by the announcement perhaps heeded the word of Microsoft’s Xbox Chief, Phil Spencer, who said in May that “The bigger unknown is probably the game production, just being honest. Game production is a large scale entertainment activity now, you have hundreds of people coming together, building assets, working through creative.”
Halo Infinite is certainly not the only game to be delayed this year, as Cyberpunk 2077, The Last of Us Part II and Destiny 2’s upcoming expansion, Beyond Light, have all faced similar pushbacks stemming from development issues during the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier today, Microsoft did, however, confirm that its Xbox Series X would remain on schedule to release sometime in November during the Holiday 2020 season. In the blog post, Microsoft addressed the Halo Infinite delay, as well as a slew of other (already known) features, titles and hardware breakdowns, although a price and official date remain to be seen.