Halo Infinite, the hotly anticipated game for Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Series X video game console, has been delayed to 2021.
The first-person alien shooter was to be released alongside Microsoft’s planned Xbox video game console during the holiday season.
But on Tuesday, Microsoft said that the Xbox Series X console would debut in November while the latest iteration of its flagship Halo series would be delayed “to ensure the team has adequate time to deliver a Halo game experience that meets our vision.”
Halo Infinite studio head Chris Lee cited “ongoing COVID-related impacts” as contributing to “development challenges” affecting the game’s launch. Halo Infinite is being developed by 343 Industries, one of several Microsoft-owned video game studios.
“I want to acknowledge the hard work from our team at 343 Industries, who have remained committed to making a great game and finding solutions to development challenges.” Lee wrote in a blog post. “However, it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday.”
Just a few weeks ago, Microsoft was promoting Halo Infinite as a lead video game title exclusive to Microsoft, meaning that people will be unable to play the new Halo on competing video game consoles like Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5 or Nintendo’s Switch.
The delay of Halo Infinite is a big blow to Microsoft because it’s one of company’s most popular video game titles, and analysts had expected to the game to entice people to buy the new Xbox console. The Halo franchise is to Microsoft as the Mario video game franchise is to Nintendo.
But the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic has affected many video game studios, leading to video game delays at a time when people are stuck at home looking for ways to entertain themselves.
For instance, Paradox Interactive said that it would delay it’s Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines 2 role-playing game to 2021 instead of 2020. InXile game studio said in spring that it would delay its post-apocalyptic game Wasteland 3 until August 28 instead of May 19 because of the challenges of its employees working from home.
Sony’s Naughty Dog video game studio delayed the release of its The Last of Us Part II adventure game from May 29 to June 19.