After a disappointing unveiling earlier this year, Microsoft put the brakes on plans to make Halo Infinite a launch title for the new Xbox consoles and focused on adding much-needed visual polish. Now, as part of its 343 Day events, the development team has shared a number of screenshots from the game, and announced it plans to release Halo Infinite next fall.
Bungie veteran Jason Staten, who is now heading up the product at 343 Industries, wrote the opening and closer for the blog post, which showed off some impressive looking stills featuring improved models for the Spartan heroes, maps — including our first look at a multiplayer map, shown above — and various weapons.
They even address “Craig” the enemy who looked so flat and bad that his momentary appearance in the original Infinite trailer became a meme. According to Director of Art Management Neill Harrison, “the facial animation on NPCs was not fully implemented in that build, which resulted in Craig’s incredibly deadpan/lifeless look...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.”
Meanwhile Ani Shastry, the Development Manager for the Graphics team noted that “key areas of progress include better quality of global illumination, ambient occlusion, shadows, volumetric lighting, sky, and atmosphere.” You should read through the entire post to see what else has been changed, which should give Halo Infinite a completely different feel from an art and tech standpoint, and may explain why it’s being delayed a full year.