Halo: Infinite was to be the biggest game to release alongside the Xbox Series X. It was supposed to be the reason to own the Series X (even though it’s also going to be on Xbox one.). The return of Master Chief. No one else. No Locke, no random Spartan, no ODST, just Master Chief. Using its new Slipspace engine, which is the first time Halo would be using a new engine, we were going to get the Halo we have all been waiting for. Then it happened. What we all feared. The dreaded delay that has hit so many games this year.

Why was Halo delayed? Why now? Was it the pandemic? Was the game not that good? Questions everyone was asking and no answers being communicated. It seemed like something was terribly wrong. The answer to most questions is Yes. Yes to all of the above. The pandemic took a bigger toll on 343 Industries (the studio behind Halo: Infinite) than most other studios. Sending developers home to work on the game and in the wake not being able to communicate as well as the team would have liked, leading to a game that while not bad was not what they wanted to ship out and put in hands of gamers.

This was the right move. The Halo franchise has not been right in quite a while. It was once a juggernaut, a system seller, the reason to own an Xbox, but as of late it has just been another first person shooter. The issue with Halo is that while it once was the next step in first person shooters, it stayed still while other games innovated and passed it by. Halo was resting on its once great name. There was no innovation. Halo was just Halo. You knew from the start of wasn’t going to be anything other than another average Halo game. The delay is giving the devs an opportunity to fix the wrongs, make the things that are good, great, and put Halo back on the map as one of the premiere games to own.

Rising from the ashes is not an easy feat, but one that 343i and Microsoft intend on pulling off come hell or high water. New management is in place to oversee every aspect of the game. It’s reported that all of the in game content is finished. Extra teams are working on the game making sure every thing from character models to individual blades of grass are taking advantage of the new Slipspace engine. That single player is the experience gamers deserve and multiplayer is the experience gamers wanted. Halo: Infinite is not just an entry in the Halo franchise. It is the franchise from here on out as they plan on supporting Halo: Infinite for the next 10 years. New single player expansions and massive multiplayer content are to be released every year. Microsoft’s commitment to Halo: Infinite is unwavering, and that is what this franchise has sorely needed. A commitment to be excellent.

I have seen Halo: Infinite in a hands off demo the game looked to be chocked full of great content. Varying environments, new fantastic looking weapons, and a new open area concept that has never been done in Halo before. I didn’t get to hear much in the way of the story, I didn’t see multiplayer, and while the game looked good and ran as smooth as any FPS I’ve seen, you can tell the polish was not even close to where it needed to be. The new engine is a marvel, but just like any game, you need to make sure you are using every technological advantage you have, and it was clear they were not there yet in the build I saw over a year ago.

When will we see Halo: Infinite? Your guess is as good as mine. While most are saying 2021 and I tend to believe them, it wouldn’t shock me to see it later.

What matters the most when it comes to Halo: Infinite is that they get it right. Most Xbox gamers and even gamers that play on other systems, have fond memories of playing Halo at some point in their lives. For me it was working at GameStop in high school and staying hours after we closed to play Halo 1’s 4 player multiplayer with the other team members. Halo elicits memories from a time when it was the king. While those days have long past and others have taken the throne, 343i and Microsoft are giving themselves the time to make sure when Halo: Infinite releases it can rightfully claim it spot on top of the mountain.