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Halo Infinite is releasing Fall 2021

In a lengthy blogpost on Halo Waypoint the new creative director for Halo Infinite, Joseph Staten, has announced that Halo Infinite is releasing in Fall 2021.

Joseph Staten has the following to say:

Hey everyone, I’m Joseph Staten. If you’ve been a longtime part of the Halo community, you may already know me. If you’re new to the community: Hello! It’s great to meet you.

I was part of the Bungie team who made Halo CE, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3 ODST and Halo Reach. I came up on the design side of these projects, wearing many different hats over the years including writer, cinematic director, creative director—even a voice for the Grunts.

After Reach shipped, I became a Halo fan, cheering-on 343i from the sidelines. But I’ve spent the last four months immersing myself back into the Halo universe, and it’s my honor as creative director to help our team ship Halo Infinite in Fall 2021.

Yep, that’s when the game is coming out. And from now until then, every one of us at 343i and our great partner teams will be building, testing, and polishing an experience we hope all of you love.

I joined 343i right as the team was wrestling with feedback from the July campaign demo. This discussion boiled down to one fundamental truth: we needed more time to do things right. That included pushing hard in the Fall, giving the team time to recharge over the Holidays, and then coming back in January to finish the game at a healthy place” to keep the verbs consistent.

Because Halo Infinite in the Fall of 2021… is just the beginning of the adventure.

Art & Graphics

In the blogpost several members of the Halo Infinite team explain the changes they are making on Halo Infinite.

The primary goal for the Campaign demo in July was showing Halo Infinite gameplay for the first time. While that aspect generally landed as we wanted, the reality is that the art and visuals weren’t at the bar we hold for Halo – even in a work-in-progress state.

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. Still, the feedback was humbling, and it also pushed us to look at additional opportunities for improvement.

On the artstyle they’ve chosen:

”We knew it wouldn’t be trivial to combine the cleaner and simpler forms of classic games like Halo 1 or 2 with the next-gen requirements and expectations of Halo Infinite. Merging both was going to be a challenge, but we stood close to our visual principles and made it work in the best way, one day at a time. We managed to find a balance of modernized visuals combined with a classic aesthetic that will definitely speak to all, and we couldn’t be more proud of this.”

On improvements in texture quality and LOD popping

On the graphics technology front we have made improvements along with fixing bugs that were inherent to some of the techniques, as well as iterating and polishing the features that were still in development.

Some of the key areas of progress include better quality of global illumination, ambient occlusion, shadows, volumetric lighting, sky, and atmosphere. We have also addressed issues with our GPU-driven rendering and texture streaming solution that should mitigate the LOD popping and texture quality issues that were prevalent in the July demo.

And even good old Craig is getting a shoutout.

Firstly, I can confirm that the facial animation on NPCs was not fully implemented in that build, which resulted in Craig’s incredibly deadpan/lifeless look. All characters are modelled in a neutral pose, prior to blendshapes & animation being applied. So, poor old Craig was never intended to be seen in that condition which is not something that was evident during the gameplay. It was only later, in the close-up freeze frame of his one bad moment, where it came to light and the legend of Craig was born.

There’s been further work done on the material fidelity and more variety added for Brute faces, we’re also working to add some hairdos and beards which was something we hadn’t gotten to in July. So, whilst we have come to love our dear old Craig, he’s certainly undergoing a significant makeover. 

Craig isn’t the only model to see improvements though, there have been significant changes to other characters & 3D models as we continue to evolve and polish our content, some of which can be seen in the Spartan and weapon renders being shared today.

There’s a lot more to this blogpost, so we encourage fans of Halo and people eager to know more about the development of Infinite to check out the blogpost at Halo Waypoint.

Pieter "SuikerBrood" Jasper

28 year old gamer who grew up with Commander Keen and Jazz Jackrabbit. A PC Gamer. (Sorry, not sorry). Dutch, but actually Frisian. Loves Age of Empires, Sea of Thieves and wishes for a new Viva Piñata.

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