The damaged ringworlds of Halo Infinite are entering orbit this holiday season, new reports indicate. Two online retailers have leaked the release date for the third chapter of the Reclaimer saga — an obscure Taiwanese website and a Microsoft Store listing — and both sources corroborate the same date: December 8.
As fishy as the rumors sound, it’s likely no coincidence the Taiwanese merchant happened to ink the same date as Microsoft’s official index; we can’t vouch for a third-party reseller, but an official timestamp will always be a touch more reliable. The Taiwanese catalog is only convincing to a point, however. It claims the first release of Halo Infinite comes with two modes off the bat, Forge and campaign co-op, which developers have already announced will not be made available upon launch, due to time constraints.
The news comes to us from Twitter users @IdleSloth84 and @ALumia_Italia, who shared the Halo Infinite leaks this morning:
Xbox Game Studios senior creative director Joseph Staten is also campaign project lead (later head of creative) for Halo Infinite, and he discussed the technical challenges involved with creating a detailed Forge and campaign co-op experience worth sharing with fans. “Unfortunately, as we focused the team for shutdown and really focused on a quality experience for launch, we made the really tough decision to delay shipping campaign co-op for launch,” he elaborates in an August 21 development update, “and we also made the tough call to delay shipping Forge past launch as well. Everyone in the studio has the same conversation, which is: what is our number one priority? Well, our number one priority is making sure that whenever we ship it, it meets the right quality bar across all platforms. And when we look at these two experiences, campaign co-op and Forge, we made the determination that they’re just not ready. We’re going to keep campaign co-op and Forge in the oven for a little bit longer and when they’re ready we’re going to release them as part of our seasonal roadmap next year.”
Check out the full update below:
In the video, Staten confirms Halo Infinite will only feature solo campaign and multiplayer upon launch this December, with campaign co-op to follow three months later during the company’s second season and Forge mode another three months after that, in season three. That would give Halo Infinite time to adjust to user preferences and player feedback, and for developers to tweak the modes accordingly. Split-screen multiplayer on PC will also suffer considerable delays, but Staten didn’t offer any further estimates. Overall, it will take at least six months for the game to arrive on digital and on-site purveyors more or less completed.
Staten described Forge and campaign co-op as aggressively non-linear, in that map design isn’t as straightforward. By definition, Forge is sandbox mode; first introduced in Halo 3, it allows players to create and customize their own maps, to play and share with friends. Technology has seen game development make considerable headway since, with 343’s in-house Slipspace Engine described as thoroughly cutting edge and capable of optimization on all platforms (despite only having Xbox and Microsoft releases). Game Foundation Architect Daniele Giannetti had only praises to sing about it. But even with Slipspace, completing Halo Infinite in the window developers were assigned is still a daunting task. A linear storyline is easy to carve out, but something with over a hundred customization options proves more intricate. 343 is hoping to imbue Infinite with features befitting a next gen entry, like the ability to view Banished bases from all angles and relatively circuitous campaigns.
“At the same time though,” Staten adds, “that’s complicated when you think about save systems and all the technology that needs to drive this more non-linear experience. In the co-op scenario that’s even more complicated and that’s another reason why it’s going to take longer, just to make sure it’s quality on day one.” Halo Infinite is hoping to rival first-person shooter heavyweights like Call of Duty and Battlefield in this regard, offering more modes and features than even its massive creative team is ready to deliver.
As for the circumstances around the release, Redmond-based 343 Industries has been laser-focused on a December opening from the start. The studio hasn’t provided an exact date, only that it’s “very soon.” Developers had originally opted to pigeonhole the title entirely, but came to the consensus that Halo Infinite is a live entry with patches constantly going through; much like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and sandbox favorites like Hitman and GTA Online, Halo evolves with every new update, hence it is never truly finished.
Halo Infinite is said to revolve around Master Chief’s greatest adventure yet. The plot details remain murky, but expect a dented Halo ring with unexplained technical glitches and a “more human” experience entirely. Infinite will show Master Chief at his most vulnerable, in a complex storyline several notches better in tone than its predecessor, Halo 5: Guardians. Paul Crocker is in charge of writing, while Staten and Pierre Hintze handle directing duties. Nicolas Bouvier leads the art department. Gareth Coker, Curtis Schweitzer, and Joel Corelitz serve as composers. It comes out on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC sometime during the holidays.