Among the many exciting announcements and trailers released during this year’s E3 is of course the new Halo Infinite information. Almost every E3 has something about Halo and this one certainly didn’t disappoint in that regard. Halo is a series that has pulled more than its fair share of the Xbox brand’s weight since it helped popularize Microsoft’s console all those years ago, and so any movement with the franchise is of course going to be noteworthy. This time, Halo fans have Halo Infinite to look forward to, and most are excited for what this new entry seems to be bringing to the table.
That doesn’t mean the game hasn’t had its share of missteps though. With a reveal trailer that was underwhelming to say the least, rumors of turmoil behind the scenes at 343, and it getting delayed to such a degree that it no longer even has a concrete release date, I wouldn’t blame Halo fans for being concerned for this entry. Especially also considering that the last couple of entries of the franchise haven’t quite lived up to what the series once was in the eyes of many. What we have gotten thus far is better than nothing, but do fans still have reason to be legitimately concerned at this point? Or should the recent news drops be enough to quell fears?
The 13th of June was the day we saw a good amount of info drop about Halo Infinite, and as for the story trailer, it certainly looked interesting. Not much concrete information about the game is really present in it, but it does seem to capture the tone of the games in an endearing way, and that’s all a trailer for a game that is probably still ways off needs to do, but it’s also pretty bare minimum. Though, to be fair we did see use of the grappling hook that the game is clearly trying its best to make into a selling point for the game as well as some dialogue from a couple of characters that seems to point to a rather high stakes story.
We are also told by the narrator at the beginning that the game will feature some of the largest maps ever created for the series as well as Master Chief’s greatest challenge yet, which is good to hear, as Halo has been in need of a game that feels essential for a while now. I personally would have liked to have been given more to chew on about the story of Halo Infinite, and perhaps a release date, especially with all the turmoil the game has experienced thus far, but things could certainly be worse.
More interestingly however was the trailer for the multiplayer mode. This came with a good amount of footage of what appeared to be in-game battles playing out. Lots of hectic gunfights, vehicles being used, and even some grappling hook takedowns that seemingly allow a player to rip another player out of a vehicle if done with the grappling hook in just the right way. This, coupled with the familiar weapons and sound effects that might trigger some nostalgia for OG Halo players, do create a sense of balanced between old and new which may just be exactly what the doctor ordered for the series. So, with all of this, you would think that 343 would be ready to announce a release date, right? Well, still, no such luck. They still seem to be maintaining a target of 2021, but with no actual date set, it certainly gives the impression that 343 is purposefully leaving the door open for yet another delay that could take it into next year.
Most gamers generally aren’t necessarily turned off by the idea of a delay for a video game especially when it means that the game in question will end up being better as a result. However, Halo Infinite isn’t really in the typical situation at this point. It had a rocky start with its announcement and was consequently pushed back quite a bit in order to iron out some of the rougher edges that people were pointing out, and of course there were other issues that arose from that point and now we’re in a more of a precarious situation than most AAA games find themselves in this late into their supposed development cycles, assuming Halo Infinite is as far along as it appears to be. One could surmise that all of this good-looking footage and all of this tantalizing information could be orchestrated in such a way that it reaches us before the next delay to soften the blow of it for fans who have been waiting for this game now for quite a while. If this were any other game with any other marketing and development cycle playing out, I would probably dismiss that theory at face value but with this game and with everything that has happened so far, I can’t discount it right away.
On the 14th we got a more detailed look at Halo Infinite multiplayer mechanics and it is shaping up pretty nicely with, as I laid out before, what appears to be a pretty deliberate mix of great ideas from earlier games and new ideas. But this just continues to beg the question; why didn’t they follow up with an actual release date especially if everything is going so well? I think most Halo fans are aware that the game was not as far along as we were originally led to believe and now, we’re just waiting for the product to be finished so it can be enjoyed. That’s not necessarily to say that another delay would really be that big of a deal, sure it would be disappointing but ultimately if the game comes out early 2022 as opposed to Holiday 2021, and ends up being even better as a result, it will be a delay that is swiftly forgiven and forgotten. The almost half an hour-long Halo infinite multiplayer overview video that was dropped on the 14th goes over a lot of important details about the multiplayer that you would think they wouldn’t have or be ready to talk about if the game wasn’t entering its final stages of polishing. From the details that they go over about how different game modes work, customization, and the like, you’d think they’d be far along enough to secure a release date.
So, while I think it’s fair to say that Halo Infinite is obviously coming along well and is probably going to check all of the boxes it needs to at least in terms of having a fun multiplayer experience, the lack of a release date this far into 2021 is a little concerning considering that the holiday season is just a few months away, and there’s really no other reason to not have a release date at this point unless they’re unsure if they can meet it. Game development is not an exact science when it comes to predicting release dates, sure. There’s a lot of moving parts and it can be hard to pinpoint an actual day when everything will be ready. And given the snafu of the game’s big initial delay, it could very well be that their lack of a release date this far along is just out of an abundance of caution. So, this is really one of those moments where it’s probably best to withhold judgment and just give it another couple of months and see where the story goes.
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