Putting it lightly, it’s safe to say that Halo Infinite’s global gameplay reveal was met with a less than favorable response from fans back in July, leading developer 343 Industries to push the game’s release into 2021, rather than its originally slated launch alongside the Xbox Series X.
Now, 343 Industries has offered a large update on the status of Halo Infinite, including a new release window of Fall in the US (Sep-Dec 2021) – nearly a year after the launch of Microsoft’s next-gen consoles.
The announcement was made by Joseph Staten, Halo Infinite’s new creative director, who came onboard following the game’s polarizing campaign demo reveal.
Staten worked at Bungie during the development of Halo CE, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, and has returned to the Halo franchise in what seems like an attempt to steer the ship back on course.
“I joined 343i right as the team was wrestling with feedback from the July campaign demo. This discussion boiled down to one fundamental truth: we needed more time to do things right,” said Staten.
Art and graphics are being improved
Alongside the game’s new release date, several 343 Industries team members have offered an update on how Halo Infinite’s visual presentation is being enhanced.
“I definitely want to acknowledge the input that we got from the Halo community and our fanbase; staying open to critical feedback and looking at areas where we can learn and do better is an inherent part of our culture at 343,” said Ani Shastry, Development Manager for the Graphics team.
“Some of the key areas of progress include better quality of global illumination, ambient occlusion, shadows, volumetric lighting, sky, and atmosphere,” explained Shastry, also stating that the Halo Infinite team has “also addressed issues with our GPU-driven rendering and texture streaming solution that should mitigate the LOD popping and texture quality issues that were prevalent in the July demo.”
Neill Harrison, Director of Art Management at 343 Industries, said “In addition to the graphics tech changes, we have made a lot of improvements on the Art/Content side across all disciplines such as Environment, Lighting, Weapons, FX and more,”
Harrison said that “there’s been a lot of work done re-tuning our dynamic lighting values to add more punch and contrast to the image,” further explaining that “These included adjustments to our sun intensity, fog/atmosphere, and the addition of color grading which did not make it into the July gameplay demo.”
Additionally, players can expect “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.
Aside from the release date and graphics information above, 343 Industries also details what players can expect from the game’s multiplayer and customization options, which you can read in-depth in the developer’s latest Inside Infinite blog post.