In a statement published on its website, developer 343 industries said that the decision to delay the game was motivated by “multiple factors” including the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on development.
“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.”
He added: “We know this will be disappointing to many of you and we all share in that sentiment. The passion and support the community has shown over the years has been incredible and inspiring.
“We wanted nothing more than to play our game with the community this holiday. The extra time will let us finish the critical work necessary to deliver the most ambitious Halo game ever at the quality we know our fans expect.”
Following its gameplay reveal last month, Halo Infinite’s visual fidelity faced widespread criticism from the media, fans and even big brands, who highlighted issues with both the game’s art direction and the perceived lack of advancement since the last Halo game.
343 published an official response to criticism of the game’s graphics, telling fans it was taking the feedback “very seriously”.
In a new blog post, Microsoft was bullish about Xbox Series X’s launch line-up without Halo, claiming that the console would launch globally with over 100 optimized for Xbox Series X titles (which include backwards compatible games).
This includes more than 50 new games planned for this year across generations and optimized for Xbox Series X, it said.
“We have plenty to keep you busy until Chief arrives,” it said. “There will be thousands of games to play, spanning four generations, when Xbox Series X launches globally this November and over 100 optimized for Xbox Series X titles, built to take full advantage of our most powerful console, are planned for this year.”
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has suggested that Xbox will publish its latest next-gen console news this month.
Microsoft’s second, cheaper next-gen games console, Xbox Series S, was seemingly confirmed this week by leaked controller packaging.