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Halo Infinite launching fall 2021 to give time for polishing gameplay and design

Halo Infinite is no stranger to delays, as we saw back in August when 343 announced that it would be 2021 before we’d see the latest installment in the series. Many were saddened by this, but in a way, it was good, as it gave the development team more time to polish things up and get them ready for the big release. Well, we finally have a more detailed timeline as to when Halo Infinite will launch, as well as developmental updates and new screenshots to view. So, while we wait for Halo Infinite to launch in fall of 2021, let’s take a look at the latest information we have as of right now.

Halo Infinite’s developers have listened to the community response to the July demo

The last time we really had any big Halo Infinite news was in early August, right after the July campaign demo. Well, the community had a pretty strong response to the demo, including voicing opinions that the graphics just weren’t up to par for next-generation gameplay. In an interview, lead developers from multiple design and graphics teams at 343 Industries went on record to say that they heard the community and felt the same way themselves. Since then, they’ve been hard at work to create the Halo that people have been asking for, and one that they’re proud to be a part of.

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. Still, the feedback was humbling, and it also pushed us to look at additional opportunities for improvement.

Neill Harrison – Director of Art Management at 343 Industries

All-new art renderings showcase just how much work is being put into recreating the iconic Halo art style with enhanced visual fidelity

The art and graphics teams also went in-depth during the interview to talk about art style and visual fidelity. What this essentially means is, they have been working hard to recreate the iconic Halo style that we all grew up on, with graphics worthy of a next-generation console…and it shows. The original demo looked a bit cartoonish, almost, and didn’t really bring to life the capabilities of Microsoft’s next-generation Series X console. But, with the new renderings that we’re seeing here, it’s obvious that the team decided to take that feedback to heart and build things further to create a better overall experience.

We’ve improved some of our materials to get more specular response, more wear-and-tear on weapons/vehicles, more fidelity in our characters, and more macro breakup on large surfaces like rocks, terrain, and the hex walls. We’re now also getting more of our textural detail coming through to the final frame thanks to a sharpening process that our graphics team have added. This helps offset some of the natural blurring of temporal anti-aliasing and it certainly helps our assets shine.

Neill Harrison – Director of Art Management at 343 Industries

A lot of progress has been made…but a lot still remains to be done

While the screenshots we’re seeing obviously showcase that a lot of work has been done since July, there’s a lot that still remains to be completed. We’re still expecting a lot of work to be done on lighting, global illumination, and atmospherics. Plus, a ton of stuff still has to be finished up in foliage, trees/grass, and more. That’s why the teams need more time, to make sure things launch polished and as good as possible. And honestly, that’s not a bad thing. Companies have begun to weigh which is worse: launching an incomplete game and patching it, but letting players experience issues all around, or waiting until the game is fully ready to launch. In my opinion, it’s absolutely better to delay things and give the time required to properly finish than to launch early and have people get a bad experience right out of the gate. Some games, like No Man’s Sky, can recover from such a fate…but it takes many many years before the community ever reconsidered their position after such a launch happens.

Halo Infinite launches in fall 2021…will the wait be worth it?

Well, in the words of Joseph Staten, the creative director of Halo Infinite, “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. 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.”

The game looks absolutely fantastic in its current state, and after another year’s worth of work, it’ll only be better. Plus, next year, one could only hope that Series X and Series S consoles are easier to get our hands on, so that’s another benefit since you won’t be missing out on crucial Halo Infinite gameplay. Until then, we’ll keep our ear to the ground and report back as we get more information on 343 Industries’ latest with Halo Infinite.

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