Halo Infinite trims features to launch by end of 2021, but still lacks a release date

Master Chief holding his helmet
(Image credit: 343 Industries)

Halo Infinite won’t launch with a couple big features when it arrives later in 2021, according to a new Bungie update video – and it still doesn’t have a release date.

In addition, the game will launch without co-op for the story campaign as well as the Forge level editor. Both will still come to the game via free updates – co-op will be added to the game three months after launch in a ‘Season 2’ update, while Forge is coming six months after launch with ‘Season 3,’ according to WindowsCentral

Halo Infinite creative head Joseph Staten explained that the features wouldn’t be ready by launch: “Our number one priority is making sure whatever we ship, whenever we ship it, it meets the right quality bar. Across all platforms, Xbox devices, PC, and all of its different configurations.” 

Here's the video – skip to 16:20 to hear it straight from Staten:

There’s still no official release date, and Bungie’s devs reiterated that the game is coming ‘holiday 2021,’ which is typically in November or December. Delaying the entire game was considered, but the team considers Halo Infinite to be a ‘Living Game,’ as Staten put it: because they’re going to keep adding more to the game, they decided temporarily sidelining co-op campaign and Forge until after launch to be a better solution. 

Analysis: Halo Infinite, three (or four?) months to go

Halo Infinite was originally slated to be a launch title with the Xbox Series X in November 2020, but was delayed to 2021 to continue development and give players the ‘game you deserve,’ as one developer put it at the time. While the release window was announced to be during ‘Holiday 2021,’ it hasn’t been narrowed down further – at least to the public, as Microsoft has trimmed the launch date to within ‘a few weeks’ internally. 

In the meantime, a limited Halo Infinite beta activated for a short time in July, giving lucky players hands-on time with the gameplay to come (or at least a stable build that was months old at that point), and we’ve heard other info dripped out like this leaked multiplayer map and rumors of a battle royale mode. 

Today’s update video didn’t include any new video of the game – just devs chatting on the couch – but they promised campaign gameplay footage would be released before launch. We’ll just have to wait patiently as we hope the release date sticks to this year.

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.