Microsoft is moving ahead with plans to launch the Xbox Series X in November even as one of the next generation console’s biggest launch titles slips to 2021.
The company confirmed its commitment to a November launch on Tuesday at almost the same time a tweet from 343 Industries confirmed that Halo Infinite wouldn’t be releasing alongside the console. Instead, the next chapter in the Halo series will arrive sometime in 2021.
“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,” the statement reads. “It is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of our game to ship it this holiday.”
The statement doesn’t make any mention of what the revised release plan will look like for Infinite. It’s fair to speculate that an early 2021 release is possible, though as with most things involving the global pandemic, speculation based on how things worked in the Before Time doesn’t always pan out in our changed world.
In other words, be patient and don’t get your hopes too high. Infinite will get here when it gets here.
A press release from Microsoft that went out at almost the same time that the Halo news surfaced emphasizes the upcoming console’s support for “thousands of games spanning four generations.” And that’s true: The new Xbox features backward compatibility with your Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games library.
There’s also the upcoming slate of fall 2020 releases, which includes Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs games from Ubisoft and the new, as-yet-unannounced Call of Duty game. So it’s not like the Series X will just sit under your TV until Infinite arrives.
Still, there’s no denying that this delay is a blow to Microsoft’s hopes for a big console launch in November. The lines between different generations of game console hardware may be blurring more than ever before, but Halo is a core Xbox series and Microsoft hasn’t launched a new console with the latest entry in that series since the original Xbox launched in 2001. Infinite was supposed to change that.
All that said, Microsoft and 343 are making the smart move here. Ensuring the well-being of the Halo Infinite team at 343 should be the top priority for everyone involved. The extra time they’re taking to build the game ensures a better day one experience for the players and a happier launch for the creators. Everyone wins.