Microsoft has claimed that while having Halo Infinite as a launch title for its next-gen consoles would have been “tremendous,” the Xbox Series X doesn’t need major exclusives to succeed. Speaking to The New York Times, spokesperson Cindy Walker said that Halo Infinite delay isn’t that big a deal.
Walker said that “having Halo at our launch would have been tremendous,” but went on to say that “we are not reliant on massive exclusive titles to drive console adoption.” Last month, 343 Industries announced that it needed more time “to deliver a Halo game experience that meets our vision,” and that the game would now launch in 2021.
The reason Microsoft thinks it can forgo the likes of Halo is that it’s banking on the rest of the Xbox catalogue to sell players on the console. Walker claimed that “our players will have thousands of games from four generations of Xbox available to play on launch day.” That’s drawing on the Xbox Series X backwards compatibility (and Xbox Series S of course), which will allow the consoles access to Xbox One games, as well as the games that its predecessor could already play via its own heritage options.
Given Sony’s slate of excellent PS4 exclusives in recent years, it’s no surprise that Microsoft is trying a slightly different tack - it’s purchased several new first-party studios, but it’s also pushing ideas like Xbox Game Pass as a means of trying to sell new consoles.
Nevertheless, no matter what Xbox says, it still seems a bit of a shame that something as significant as Halo won’t be launching with its new consoles, particularly since the Series X’s only exclusive launch titles will be the console edition of Gears Tactics and the next-gen version of Gears 5. A number of third-party titles, including Dirt 5 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, will also be available at launch.
Hopefully the Xbox Series X price will still be worth it, even without Master Chief along for the ride.