343 Industries have given an update on the expected release date for Halo Infinite in their latest blog, and it's bad news (depending on how you look at it) - with the company now expecting the game to drop in late 2021, a full year after it was originally scheduled to release.
The news was given by Bungie's project lead, Joseph Staten, who stated that the team "needed more time to do things right."
After Reach shipped, I became a Halo fan, cheering-on 343i from the sidelines," Staten wrote. "But I’ve spent the last four months immersing myself back into the Halo universe, and it’s my honour as creative director to help our team ship Halo Infinite in Fall 2021.
It's a sign of big changes for Infinite - the game's previous head, Chris Lee, recently left the project, being replaced by Staten. The original demo of the game showed some serious lack of graphical polish - leading to backlash that we can only assume contributed in no small way to the delay.
Indeed, 343's art director, Neill Harrison, stated that "the reality is that the art and visuals weren’t at the bar we hold for Halo—even in a work-in-progress state." The team are also looking for other opportunities to improve the game, however - including improved dynamic lighting, and better character fidelity.
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.
The blog also gives us a first look at multiplayer customization in the game, which has dropped the usual primary and secondary colours in favour of different "coatings" or paint schemes. It's looking pretty sweet and should allow for a better variation in loadouts.