Microsoft’s Xbox team delayed “Halo Infinite”, the biggest video that is game planned for the November launch of its new console, partly due to the challenges of working from home during the Covid-19 outbreak. The change was made “to ensure the team has adequate time to deliver a Halo game experience that meets our vision,” according to a statement posted on the Halo Twitter account.
Halo is a multibillion-dollar franchise that began with the first Xbox almost two decades ago. The delay may hurt sales of the new Xbox Series X console, which the company confirmed will go on sale in November. Originally announced at the E3 2018 conference, Halo Infinite stayed under the radar until last month, when it was showcased during a video presentation for upcoming Xbox Series X games. Footage of the game was widely panned, with fans criticising the graphics and gameplay. Shortly afterward, community manager John Junyszek wrote in the blog post that the team had heard fans’ feedback. “We do have work to do to address some of these areas and raise the level of fidelity and overall presentation for the final game,” he added.
Microsoft cited delays resulting from a development team working at home during the pandemic. Some parts of video-game development are difficult to do remotely. Other games for Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation have been postponed and Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer said in May that the pandemic was hitting game development harder than the console-building schedule.
343 Industries, the Microsoft game studio that builds Halo, has been rushing to finish the game and realized it wasn’t going to be possible by November. Even getting the demo ready for last month’s presentation was difficult, said a person familiar with the decision. Some of the finish and fidelity issues that can be plagued the demo can be improved with the additional time, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations. Even before Covid, Halo Infinite’s development had been turbulent. Last year, the game’s creative director and executive producer both left.