A rumor resurfaced yesterday claiming that, despite 343 Industries' professed lack of interest, Halo Infinite will in fact get a battle royale mode, free for all players, in 2021. The tweet that got the ball rolling was actually posted in October, and was based on a Reddit post, also from October, saying that "343 has wanted to make this BR unlike any to come before and there are some BIG and I mean BIG plans for this."
The tweet has since been deleted (here's the cached version if you want to see it for yourself), but 343 Industries has responded nonetheless: Halo community manager Brian Jarrard took to Twitter to call the claim "unfounded."
Btw yes I’m aware we could help solve this with real news. We certainly have some things we’re overdue on and eager to talk more about. We’re in the process of pulling together a year-end update.November 30, 2020
It's not exactly a straight-up denial, and in fact implies that maybe there's something to it—at the very least, that there's more going on than 343 has shared so far. The rumor could be "unfounded" but still accurate: Halo would certainly be a good fit for a battle royale, after all, and it's been more than two years since lead writer Jeff Easterling said, "The only 'BR' we're really interested in is 'Battle Rifle'."
Halo Infinite hasn't had the smoothest ride recently: It was delayed to 2021 in August, studio director Chris Lee moved off the project a couple months later, and in November 343 Industries said it wasn't planning on having anything to show at the upcoming Game Awards. Jarrard addressed fan frustration in a series of later tweets, saying that he can "understand and appreciate the passion" the Halo community has, as well as "the frustration when things don’t go the way you want or it feels like you’re somehow being wronged or not heard."
No update is going to satisfy everyone. We want to turn the corner as 2020 comes to an end and leave the challenges of this year behind us and look ahead to 2021. We are committed to bringing you along on this journey, we just ask for bit of patience and understanding. 🙌December 1, 2020
There's currently no sign of a more precise release window for Halo Infinite than 2021, and it's possible that could be pushed all the way into November of next year, to tie in with the 20th anniversary of Halo: Combat Evolved. We'll hopefully start to get a clearer picture soon though, as the studio said in a recent blog post that it "plans to be much more communicative in the coming months."