Halo Infinite is coming, possibly a full year after the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles launched, but the game's developers appear confident that lower-spec Xbox One consoles should run the game fine.
January's iteration of the regular Inside Infinite development – which was teased but a few days prior – dives into the development process happening at 343 Studios, including the work being done to ensure Halo Infinite is optimized for every platform, from Xbox One and PC to Xbox Series X and Series S.
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"Here’s something that excites me as an engineering architect," writes Daniele Giannetti, Game Foundation Architect for the upcoming Halo game. "For Halo Infinite, we rebuilt the engine multi-threading solution to ensure high execution efficiency across all platforms and PCs, instead of running optimally just on Xbox One.
"We used this new system to transition the renderer to a massively parallel multi-threaded framework to support the increased cost of all our new rendering features and achieve high graphics efficiency on PC CPUs of various size as well as Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One X/S hardware. In practice, this means that we are doing our very best to make sure Halo Infinite runs optimally on any device you may choose to play on!"
It boils down to this: anyone playing on a next-gen Xbox console should have an experience appropriate to the machine's capabilities, rather than simply a souped-up Xbox One game, and anyone playing on an Xbox One should have a good experience, rather than simply a poor imitation of an Xbox Series X game.
The shadow of Cyberpunk
This is a hot topic after the troubled launch of Cyberpunk 2077 – a game that reviewers were only able to access on PC in its most impressive form, and which turned out to run terribly on PS4 and Xbox One consoles, even leading Sony to pull the title from the PlayStation Store entirely.
As we enter a new console generation, devs are having to make a choice between supporting older hardware and risk leaving a big install base behind in focusing efforts on the best and latest gaming machines.
It's something we're hesitantly confident that Microsoft will pull off, given its ongoing commitment to cross-gen releases and backward compatibility – including allowing players to access next-gen upgrades of Xbox games for free if they bought it on the Xbox One first, through the Smart Delivery program.
The last Inside Infinity update was in December 2020, revealing that the delayed Halo Infinite will now release in a "Fall 2021" release window (sometime between September and November). We expect there'll be more tidbits to come in the months ahead, though possibly not a firm release day until we approach the second half of the year.