Halo Infinite Releases Fall 2021 With New And Improved Graphics
Originally slotted alongside the new-gen Xbox Series X and Series S, Halo Infinite certainly has a lot to live up to, with promises of an all-new Master Chief adventure that harkens back to the first entry of Microsoft’s flagship shooter series. However, the hype behind Infinite has repeatedly taken dips over the last few months as the game deviated from its November release and spawned an unintentional meme with the reveal of some memorably rough gameplay.
With developer 343 Industries now planning for a Fall 2021 release, it appears the team will spend much of this extra time implementing a number of aesthetic and design changes with hopes to deliver the next-gen Halo Infinite fans are expecting. As detailed in a new blog post (via Game Informer), 343 detailed quite a bit about the studio’s approach moving forward, with the community’s “humbling” gripes regarding graphical quality and polish confirmed as being actively addressed by devs.
“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,” said 343’s Director of Art Management Neill Harrison. “Still, the feedback was humbling, and it also pushed us to look at additional opportunities for improvement.”
Since showing off its first gameplay back in July, Halo Infinite is said to have since made significant strides in “key areas” such as “better quality of global illumination, ambient occlusion, shadows, volumetric lighting, sky, and atmosphere,” according to Development Manager for the Graphics team Ani Shastry. Referencing the prevalent performance problems from the demo footage, the game’s rendering engine has also been optimized to prevent “LOD popping and texture quality issues,” with “more to be done” in the future.
There is more to be done, of course, and we are actively partnering with [Director of Art Management Neill Harrison’s] and [senior Concept Artist / Art Director Nicolas ‘Sparth’ Bouvier’s] teams to drive the visual quality forward from both an engineering as well as an artistic front.”
Besides the Chief himself, the breakout “star” of Halo Infinite is unquestionably the internet-dubbed “Craig the Brute,” an enemy character characterized by its awkward in-game appearance. 343’s Neill Harrison made note of Craig’s “incredibly deadpan/lifeless look” from the July demo, attributing the character’s “bad moment” to a lack of NPC facial animations in that specific build of the game. While this initial appearance led to “the legend of Craig,” Harrison assured the meme-worthy Brute (as well as the game’s other NPCs) would get a significant makeover when the final product arrives, with the team implementing greater “material fidelity” and an extended variety of faces.
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.”
Though the first Halo Infinite gameplay has endured for its presentation issues, one may easily forget how it introduced a new grappling hook mechanic for Master Chief. The gadget was sure to draw comparisons to DOOM or The Legend of Zelda, but the item nonetheless represents the game’s infinite potential to reach new heights. 343’s Joseph Staten professed as much in his recollection of playing the game. “I played the entire Infinite campaign. Twice,” Staten said. “I was, in a word, stunned—in the best possible way—by what the team had done. Infinite is, by far, the most expansive and vertical Halo world, ever. Why did the team do this? Because they understand that wonder and freedom are key to the Halo experience.”
I could feel the classic Halo ’30 seconds of fun’ beating at the heart of Infinite’s world. But I had never felt more powerful, more mobile, more in command of a rich set of tactical choices. This was the Halo we imagined back in 2000, finally come to life, after 20 years of technical and creative innovation.”
Halo Infinite is set to release for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S sometime in Fall 2021.
What do you think? Are you excited to see how 343 will redeem Halo Infinite’s initial gameplay reveal, or are you just hoping a Craig the Brute spin-off game is in the works? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter and Facebook to be informed of the latest gaming and entertainment news 24 hours a day! For more headlines recently featured on DFTG, check out these next few news stories:
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Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.