Microsoft had a lot to show at their E3 2019 press conference: the first look at Project Scarlett, new footage for games like Halo Infinite and Gears 5, and the announcement that Psychonauts 2 developer Double Fine had become an Xbox Game Studio. However, one noticeable absence from the show was the announcement of a new game in the Forza Motorsport series and Microsoft’s Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has a pretty good reason for it.
While 343 Industries’ upcoming Halo Infinite received a lengthy trailer and a release window, very little is currently known about what the new spiritual reboot will become. That’s because with Microsoft increasing the number of first-party studios and console exclusives, the company is giving its studios more time to develop their games in hopes that they’ll have more of an impact.
In an interview with Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo, Phil Spencer explained that of the companies 14 first-party games, 12 of those games including Ninja Theory’s 4v4 multiplayer game Bleeding Edge would be releasing in the next year. “We were really able to focus on what’s coming now,” he said. “And then I think about the studios: where was Initiative? Where was [Forza Motorsport studio] Turn 10? Where was Playground’s second team?”
The last time a year went by without the release of a new game in the Forza franchise was 2010, before the release of Forza Horizon. Spencer went on to say that after releasing four Halo games in four years, they wanted to give 343 Industries time to work on the next one and the Forza franchise is getting the same treatment. “I love what they do with Motorsport, but you’ve got to be able to listen to your studios when they need time and they want to focus on more things. And as you have more content, you’re able to do that,” he said.
Halo Infinite has been confirmed as a launch title for Microsoft’s next Xbox console codenamed Project Scarlett, which Microsoft officially unveiled during E3, meaning that [Halo] Infinite would be released 5 years after the last core Halo game. This is a far longer development schedule than the usual 3-year cycle and that’s entirely by design.
Microsoft has taken huge strides forward in the last couple of years purchasing new studios, releasing services such as Xbox Game Pass, and preparing for the launch of their game streaming service XCloud later in October this year. It’s clear that the company has switched gears entirely to focus on quality over quantity and now their developers are getting the time to deliver on that.
Halo Infinite will release in Holiday 2020 for Project Scarlett and PC.
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