Halo 2 has been delayed until Q1 2004 according to developer Bungie and leash-holder Microsoft. With the Xbox now strongly established, presumably neither company sees the need to make the Christmas rush. After all, wasn't that sort of thinking to blame for the copy-and-paste level design that blights the middle of the first game?
Needless to say, we still expect to have our jaws elasticised by Halo 2 at E3 this May, and both Bungie and Microsoft representatives have been running around reassuring everybody that the delay is good news. "This game is a vast undertaking, considerably more complex than any of our previous efforts, and there is just no way to squeeze all of the necessary work into this calendar year," a Bungie rep told GameSpot. "We know many of you were hoping to get your hands on Halo 2 during the holiday season, and we're sorry to disappoint you - but making this game as good as we possibly can is our paramount concern." Meanwhile, MS Game Studios chief Ed Fries said all sides were "committed to delivering the great gaming experience that Xbox fans are expecting from Halo 2."
PC owners will be pleased to learn that none of this affects the progress of the PC port of the original Halo, which is still on track for a summer release.