Microsoft has continuously bragged about how powerful the Series X is, how pretty the games will look, and how it supports ray tracing. It would be silly not to include the main next-gen graphical leap on their flagship title. Delaying the game should not also mean delaying the lighting feature again. Including it at launch should help justify the original delay.
Also, I love how Xbox fans were all about graphics.
Infinite took some serious criticism for the graphics and suddenly everyone claimed, "I don't care. I only like gameplay!" It felt like the Nintendo community.
After the February update, people start caring about graphics again. And honestly, the screenshots changed very little from the gameplay demo. Had 343 released still high resolution screenshots from July, they would have looked nearly identical (this is different than simply pausing the video). These screenshots don't show off the in-game draw distance, particle effects, lighting, motion of soft objects. Still a pretty style though.
seems like you have more of an issue that people aren't up in arms anymore about visuals. While important, not everything needs to be a technical showcase or a graphical powerhouse. I also don't think Halo is their flagship title anymore. It hasn't been for a while. Given the amount of IPs and talent MS has and is now developing, Halo is more of a pillar, one that stands with many. It's not the crown jewel, and I don't think MS is trying to act like it is anymore. Much of the focus was on Halo cause of the launch of the new consoles and how there were no other 1st party titles launching in that window.
Also, no, not everyone claimed "I don't care." A good chunk of the halo community did but much of the 3rd party viewpoints only focused on visuals. Unfortunately, visuals have become the main focus when it comes to games and their initial reception (at least from a 1st party perspective).