The news is official: Halo Infinite will launch on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows 10 PCs on Wednesday, December 8.
Up until today, the long-anticipated game’s release date had been pegged to a vague “Holiday 2021” window, but the firm release date slipped out via a Microsoft Store update, meant to be confirmed as part of Gamescom’s Opening Night 2021 video presentation, which will begin airing shortly after this article goes live. Soon after the store listing slip-up, The Verge cited “a source familiar with Microsoft’s plans” to confirm that the release date was accurate.
On that date, the game will arrive as a split package. One half is a standard retail-priced “campaign” for the first-person series, in which Master Chief teams up with a hapless outer-space survivor and a memory-wiped version of the popular AI character Cortana to land on a wide-open planet and contend with the series’ first “open-world” arrangement of levels. The other half is an entirely free-to-play versus-multiplayer suite of modes, which will be supported by a paid “battle pass” system that developer 343 Industries has described as made up entirely of cosmetic add-ons, with all modes and levels being free for all players. It’s currently unclear whether the paid retail version of the campaign will include any bonuses, cosmetic or otherwise, for use in the free-to-play multiplayer suite.
What’s far clearer, unfortunately, is that both packages will launch in incomplete fashion in December. As we learned late last week, the campaign will not include any cooperative options at launch; instead, the option to play the campaign with friends has been delayed until the game’s “second season” of content, which 343 Industries estimates will arrive in “about three months” after the game’s launch. And the multiplayer suite’s “Forge” mode, meant to allow players to create their own levels and modes, has been delayed until the game’s third season of content, which has been estimated to arrive roughly six months after the game’s launch. At this time, neither of those delay estimates is firm.
All of this follows the game’s original plans for a Holiday 2020 launch, aligned with the launch of Xbox Series X/S, which faced an abrupt delay in August 2020. 343 Industries insisted as recently as last week that the game is coming out by the end of 2021, hell or high Warthog.
We’re tuning in to today’s Gamescom presentation and will return with any Halo-specific updates upon its completion.
Listing image by Xbox Game Studios