“It’s humorous,” he added. “It’s not dark and brooding. It’s not full of antiheroes. “

Last August, Microsoft said it would delay publication due to “several factors that have contributed to development challenges,” such as the difficulty and stress of remotely producing a game. Less than a month earlier, fans had flatly criticized a preview of the game for lacking inspirational graphics.

Without the Halo, last year’s release of the latest Xbox was hindered against Sony’s new PlayStation consoles. But bigger economic troubles could have turned out in Microsoft’s favor: Global supply chain problems caused by the pandemic made both companies’ new devices hard to come by.

The delay gave the developers time to “get constructive feedback from the community and really get some signals on what was or wasn’t resonating,” said Kiki Wolfkill, a 343 Industries executive who leads Halo all-media efforts. including a live-action television series premiering next year.

Bonnie Ross, the boss of 343, said in an email that the response to the Halo preview was one of the reasons for the delay. “The team was understandably disappointed, but it gave us a chance to take a step back and use this as an opportunity to improve,” she said.

However, the turbulence in the studio goes beyond the years of delay. The six-year gap since Halo’s fifth game was released is the longest between two major titles in the franchise – even longer than when Bungie, Halo’s original studio, split from Microsoft in 2007 and transferred ownership of the game to 343.

Halo Infinite has gone through the executives, with Creative Director Tim Longo and executive producer Mary Olson leaving the company in 2019. Weeks after last year’s delay, Chris Lee, the substitute director, passed control to Mr. Staten and another executive.

“There’s always going to be a change in leadership – it’s inevitable,” said Matt Booty, who runs Xbox’s game studios. He added that sometimes “the momentum of the project is one way and that person has a vision that goes the other direction”.

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