And, arguably, one of the clearest indicators of this has recently emerged on the Xbox Series X Reddit, in a thread entitled "Microsoft should consider handing future Halo games to new developers. 343 is an abysmal studio" (opens in new tab). This thread finds a number of clearly unhappy gamers making their disappointment with the delay very clear.
User u/Ghulam_Jewel kickstarted the thread with a breakdown of why they thought 343 Industries had not only dropped the ball on the Halo Infinite release, but also on past Halo games, too.
Starting with Halo 4, the poster describes it as a, "Decent Halo game but not to the standard people expected." Halo MCC meanwhile is characterised as, "a broken incomplete mess that took 5 years to fix", while Halo 5 is truly dumped on: "Awful story, characters and campaign," opines Ghulam_Jewel.
Ghulam_Jewel concluded their analysis by saying: "Too early to say if Infinite will deliver but if fail again 343 should not deal with Halo franchise ever again. Sorry they have proved themselves to be incompetent mediocre devs."
In the thread's replies, user oneanotherand agreed but thought that blame for the slip was not just on 343 Industries, but also on Microsoft itself, stating that: "They created a mediocre studio to handle their main franchise, not sure how they could f**k up so badly."
User Bananapants919 weighed in with, "some people might say this is harsh, but I agree. They have dropped the ball time and time again and haven't released a single product that was a complete well received game from launch".
Surelock01 agreed with the thread's analysis too, saying "honestly, I agree with this", before adding their personal opinion that "had Microsoft not been so greedy and let Bungie take a break from Halo, they would probably still have the studio to make other great games and return to Halo later on."
As T3 noted when we reported on the delay originally, we think 2020 has been a truly exceptional year, and one with unprecedented challenges. We are pretty sure nobody is going to argue with that. These challenges have had a massive impact on almost every industry around the world including the video games industry, and the shockwaves are far from over.
It's entirely unsurprising that we have seen big delays to many AAA games this year, including a multiple month delay for Cyberpunk 2077 not just once, but twice. Delays are par for the course for many games even when the world hasn't gone mad, and in 2020, slippages above and beyond the usual slippage level are totally understandable.
That said, the harsh fact of the matter is that with no Halo Infinite in 2020, Microsoft is now left to launch its Xbox Series X flagship console without THE flagship-grade Xbox exclusive game. Gamers around the world were looking forward to playing Halo Infinite and, while a delay into 2021 certainly isn't the end of the world– that's pencilled in for 2025 or so – it is frustrating for gamers, and will likely hurt sales of Xbox Series X hardware this holiday season.
Here at T3 we hope that the Halo Infinite delay isn't too long and 343 Industries deliver the jaw-dropping Halo game Xbox gamers deserve. And, well, there are plenty of other games to look forward to playing on Xbox Series X, the most powerful console in the world, as recently highlighted by Xbox Wire (opens in new tab).