Back in 2018 when Halo Infinite was first announced, 343 Industries mentioned plans to pursue public testing ahead of Infinite's launch. Now, the developer is tempering those expectations; there might be some hands-on testing prior to Halo Infinite's release, but the developer is "not quite where [it] expected to be in terms of broader public flighting."
"While not the full program we had envisioned, we have been working very closely with the community on nearly every facet of the project," writes Chris Lee, Studio Head on Infinite, in a new post at Halo Waypoint. Lee notes that "the unprecedented challenges" of 2020 played a role here, as 343 has been working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March. "The team is still working and assessing options for broader hands-on opportunities before launch and we'll share an update when we can, but this process doesn't stop with launch."
As Lee tells IGN, 343 plans for Halo Infinite to be "the start of [its] platform for the future," meaning it hopes to grow the title over time while involving players along the way, similar to how it has updated the Master Chief Collection since it was first released in 2014.
"It's really about creating Halo Infinite as the start of the next ten years for Halo and then building that as we go with our fans and community," Lee says.
One way Infinite will change post-launch is with the release of a free ray tracing update. 343 didn't confirm to IGN which versions of Infinite the update is planned for, however. The Xbox Series X supports ray tracing and today's high-end PC GPUs can also manage it, but Xbox One consoles don't.
Public testing or no, we will be seeing more of Halo Infinite ahead of its release. Today's showcase focused on the campaign, but 343 promises "first details" on Infinite's multiplayer soon. Halo Infinite will launch for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X alongside the release of Microsoft's new console later this year.