Microsoft’s first gameplay reveal for Halo: Infinite yesterday didn’t go as well as expected for the company, to say the least. Not only did the game’s graphics disappoint for what has been hyped for a while as an Xbox Series launch title, but it now appears that the game could launch in incomplete form.
First of all, 343 Industries confirmed to PCGamesN yesterday that the gameplay demo we saw yesterday was running on a PC instead of an actual Xbox Series X console, but one that "is representative of the experience that players will have on Xbox Series X."
Additionally, 343 Industries told IGN that Halo Infinite wouldn’t support ray tracing on Xbox Series X at launch. The next-gen feature will be delivered later via a free update, so Xbox Series X early adopters will have to wait a bit to experience one of the console’s killer features
If Halo: Infinite may not be the next-gen showcase that Xbox fans have been looking forward to, we may also need to worry about the game lacking some content at launch. Microsoft promised yesterday to show us Halo: Infinite’s multiplayer soon, but Brad Sams is reporting today that the game may actually ship without multiplayer. “One source is saying that multiplayer is not gonna be shipping with single player this Fall," Sams said in his latest video.
Take this with the usual grain of salt, although Sams has been a reliable source of information for Microsoft and Xbox news in recent years. Again, Microsoft did say yesterday that they would reveal the game's multiplayer soon, but keep in mind that the ongoing pandemic has profoundly affected the work of game developers in the past couple of months.
Addressing critics about Halo: Infinite's graphics in an interview with Inside Gaming, Xbox marketing exec Aaron Greenberg said "Listen, we're in the middle of a global pandemic. It's July, we're far from [launch in] Holiday, you're seeing a work-in-progress game," Greenberg said. "I can tell you, because we see build check-ins every week, and they make progress week after week, so between now and Holiday it's just going to get better and better," he added, and to "trust us, when you play this holiday, it's going to be a visual showcase for Xbox Series X." Greenberg also suggested that gamers go back and rewatch the showcase in 4K 60fps.
If Microsoft has yet to announce a release date for Halo: Infinite and the Xbox Series X beyond the vague "holiday 2020" release window, saying early on that the game would be a launch title for the new console is definitely putting more pressure on 343 Industries' shoulders. Obviously, the covid-19 pandemic isn't making things any easier for Microsoft's flagship game studio. We hope 343 Industries will get things right ahead of the game's release, but Microsoft may not want to wait too long before giving us a first look at Halo Infinite's multiplayer.
Update 10:40AM PT: Brian Jarrard, Community Director at 343 Industries, has now denied the rumor about multiplayer missing from Halo Infinite at launch. "Nothing to see here folks, this is not true," Jarrard said on Twitter.
Nothing to see here folks, this is not true.
— Brian Jarrard (@ske7ch) July 24, 2020