Microsoft was already promoting Halo Infinite at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles last year

Halo Infinite, the next instalment of celebrated video game franchise, is being delayed until next year, its developer said, meaning the blockbuster title will not be available when Microsoft launches its new console later this year.

Multiple factors including ongoing impacts from COVID-19 led to the move, according to a statement posted late Tuesday by 343 Industries.

"We have made the to shift our release to 2021 to ensure the team has adequate time to deliver a Halo experience that meets our vision," said the studio's head, Chris Lee.

The military science fiction first-person shooter game is one of the best-selling game franchises, and Halo Infinite will be the sixth instalment.

Microsoft's new Xbox Series X game console is expected to launch later this year.

Releases of new games are often timed to drive sales of new consoles ahead of the holidays, and Halo was expected to a major boost for the Xbox Series X.

Lee acknowledged the delay would disappoint fans, but said "it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday."

Both Microsoft and Sony are updating their this year, offering much higher performance capabilities than the current generation that were launched in 2013.