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Hey Friends,

This is going to be our last Friday & Development Update for the year and will be a brief one as this past week has not been shy for new news relating to MCC. If you haven’t seen it yet, this week we dropped the MCC Development Update for December on Tuesday of this week. For all your latest development need to knows, you will definitely want to check it out. We also had a Community Update go out yesterday covering everything Halo. Also a fantastic holiday Spotlight where we gathered some of the amazing community art and creations from across the interwebs. A big piece of news that is also very noteworthy was last week’s Halo Infinite deep dive. You can check that bountiful blog in the Inside Infinite update and catch up on it as well.

Needless to say, we’ve been busy this week, month, and year! If you haven’t checked them out, make sure to. A LOT of awesome in each one for sure. For everything MCC, we will be back in January with news, our Friday updates, and will be sure to share what the future holds!

Happy Holidays everyone, and as always – we will see y’all online!

Happy New Year Friends,

Welcome to 2021, the 20th year of Halo. In the world of Development & Flighting, the team is back online and at work ironing out what the year will end up looking like for MCC. Let’s talk about Season 5, flighting, bloggos, and armor toggles.

Season 5 and Flighting
Right now we are looking at Season 5 coming down the pipe and rolled out early this year. After that we are working towards flighting additional global features. Both are in the midst of development as we speak, and though we have internal dates we are working towards, we are not yet ready to share them with you.

Once we have those locked in, y’all will be the… well.. probably not the first? I think we might share that with Bonnie and folks across the studio first, but we will shout them from the mountain top to y’all when we are good to go!

Future Bloggos
Last year, players asked for more video content in our blogs and new ways to ingest the content we are working on. Right now, I’m working on just that. If all goes well and it’s signed off on, players can look forward to a fun new way to learn more about some of our development work and specifically a look at what’s in Season 5. Like most things in production, this piece is subject to change, but it's looking pretty great right now. I can't wait to share!

Armor Toggle
We received the question last year about the new armors coming to Season 5 and whether there will be a toggle added in. While we definitely heard you, at this time I do not have an update. Our team just got back in office and our partners are still investigating. Once this information is at hand and we have a decisive plan going forward, we will be sure to share it with you.

This year is going to be an awesome, fun, and very Halo filled yet again! Super excited for everything we’ve got planned in 2021 across MCC and look forward to working hand in hand with folks once more.

Thanks for stopping in y’all, and as always, we will see you online.

Hey Friends,

It’s that day again and we are back with another Friday Development & Flighting Update. Today we will be talking through a couple of development pieces that are coming down the pipe. As a gentle reminder, there is no new flighting news, but we will be continuing flighting this year for MCC. If you haven’t already registered or updated your Halo Insider profile recently, make sure to get in on the action. More news will come for flighting in the future. Let’s dive on into today’s new details!

Halo 3 Cosmetic Toggle
In our last game update for MCC, new content was added ahead of Season 5 which included several new armors for Halo 3. As images of these armors circulated online, we read feedback from players in the community wanting an option to “turn off” these new armors to maintain a classic legacy experience (similar to how weapon skins operate in MCC today).

We heard you and are happy to report that this feature is coming to MCC.

The team is currently working on a game update that expands the existing skin toggle in the settings menu to also apply to armor. If you prefer a true classic experience, you’ll be able to flip the “New Skins in Halo 3” toggle to “disabled” and you won’t see any new cosmetic items (weapon skins, vehicle skins, or armor) when you’re playing Halo 3. If you decide to turn off cosmetics, any players in your game who are wearing new armor will appear as default Mark VI.

Thank you for the continued feedback and discussions around balancing the original legacy experiences in these games with a desire to add fun, new, unexpected cosmetics. Once again, we’re grateful to be able to partner with our players to make your MCC experiences even better.

Matchmaking Ranked Update
Next Wednesday, January 20, Halo 2 Classic Team Hardcore will be rotating out and Halo: Reach Team Hardcore will be rotating in. As a part of this change, we will be including an updated map. Specifically, the Pit remake from the map variant of Forge World, made by, “Just SaLoT,” has been rebuilt using the map variant Tempest, made by, “runNOKYARDrun.”

Halo: Reach’s playlist map pools include many different ones created in Forge. With this change, we aim to break up the similar look of many maps that use the same color palettes. In a nutshell, it takes advantage of our “Thorage” update and breathes some life into the map by moving away from the traditionally grey aesthetics. It has also allowed us to fix various geometry issues present in the original. We hope you enjoy it and do not hesitate to reach out in our feedback threads to share your thoughts!

Thanks for stopping in and getting caught up on the latest and greatest! We will catch y’all back here next week, and as always, we will see you online!

Hello Friends,

And welcome back to another weekly MCC Development and Flighting Update! This week we are going to discuss a nameplate you can earn through this Sunday, take a brief look at next week’s playlist update, and flag a change we made based on player feedback yesterday. There is still no new news this week on the next series of flights for MCC, but we are working through plans of when and what.

Though speaking of new news, you may have seen we announced that Season 5 is going to kick off next week!

Season 5
On Wednesday, January 27th, Season 5 along with a game update will roll out to players around the globe for all platforms. With it, players can look forward to all new customization options that you can unlock through Timed Seasonal Challenges, in-game events, and through the free 100 tier season pass. As part of the game update, we do have a few bug fixes and as well as an update to the cosmetic toggle for players in Halo 3 who want to hide the new armors coming with Season 5 and keep a more classic visual experience. For an early understanding of what all is coming, players can look forward to these things in game next week:
  • 80+ pieces of armor to unlock across Halo 3 and Halo: Reach
  • New Weapon Skins
  • New Timed Seasonal Challenges with 4 customization rewards
  • A game update for the Xbox One, Series X|S, and PC
  • And even more!
Stay tuned next week for more details and information about Season 5!

117 Day
Every year we celebrate something for January 17th, also known as 117 day. This year is no different! Players who have logged in starting at 4pm on January 16th until this weekend on January 23rd, will unlock the 117 nameplates to customize your online persona. If you have not logged in yet, get to it!

Rocket Race
Rocket Race is coming back to MCC next week. On January 27th, players can look forward to grabbing a friend, some spare rockets, and yeet their way cross map to victory!

Halo: Reach Team Hardcore
Last week, we mentioned an update we made this week to Halo: Reach Team Hardcore. It’s actually the update directly above this one! Unfortunately, soon after it went live players began letting us know that the spawns on the map were not working appropriately for the Team Slayer and Capture the Flag variants played on this map. Due to these issues, we rolled back that map swap on Thursday of this week. Thank you all for the feedback that this was happening. We will work on getting these fixed up before bringing it back again at some point in the future.

That’s all we got for this week friends. Thanks everyone for stopping in this week and checking out the latest and greatest in the land of MCC. As always, thank you for stopping by and we will see y’all online!

Hey Friends,

Welcome back to another Friday Development Update. In cased you missed it, Season 5 rolled out earlier this week and is live for the next couple of months. If you want to learn more about it, we have the Go Live blog HERE, the Trailer for it HERE, and the all new Seasonal Sitrep series video HERE. For the lore lovers, we also have a new Canon Fodder you can check out HERE covering all of the new armors added in with Season 5. Let’s jump on into the flighting update portion for today.

Future Flights
Flighting conversations have been ongoing for some time with testing of various pieces of the next new offerings coming in future flights already going through Ring 1. We are still a bit off from locking in on when the go-live date for our next flight and its plethora of pieces. I know players are chomping at the bit for news on it, but we should be in great shape to start talking about it next month. Please stay tuned and patient for more details. They are coming!
Also, I would be remiss if I did not ask, are you already a Halo Insider? Sweet! Please make sure your profile is current. This includes if you have picked up an Xbox One Series S|X recently or new parts for your PC. Verifying your email address and making sure it's up-to-date is the only way we can contact you when the time comes to send out flighting invites.
Not yet a Halo Insider? No problem! It’s quick and easy to opt-in – just head HERE and enter your info. Make sure to opt-in for communications and complete your email verification. And, if you want to participate via PC, please make sure to include a DXDIAG hardware snapshot.
Let’s get after it Spartans and dive into the bulk of today’s development update to talk about the quite challenging challenge just a few players have been discussing since Anvil rolled out earlier this week!

You Begged for it…
Since players found out Halo: Reach was coming to MCC in 2019, there was talk about bringing the Achievement “If They Came to Hear Me Beg” coming to MCC with it. But behind closed doors in the studio, we also talked quite a bit about it because of the difficulty around it. With Season 5, we brought this achievement back in the form of the Seasonal Challenge “Because You Begged.”

Watching social media, forums, and feedback threads light up since it became available has been crazy to watch in real time. Players completing it, players not able to, various theories of the best way, map, and some even calling it out as being impossible to complete.
To summarize, you all might be right.

In the first 24 hours, we saw it be the most attempted Challenge amongst the seasonal ones by a large margin. To date, thousands of people have successfully earned this challenge, but we’ve also heard from a number of players who haven’t had success and feel they may be encountering an underlying issue in completing it.
Right now, our teams have heard various troubleshooting techniques the community has been doing to obtain it and are investigating what may be the cause of some of these failed attempts.

For players who are encountering troubles, we would suggest holding out on continuing to bang your Spartans head against those pesky Elites and let us investigate. Until we truly know what is going on, we would hate for you to waste time and instead have some fun working on other Season 5 content. The challenge will be available for the next few months, so please let us dig in and figure out what is going on for now. When we know what’s going on, we will get on the horn and let y’all know!
Also, to hint at some future things that are cooking up, the team already has some cool plans to expand the ways in which players can acquire customization items, including previous expired challenge offerings from past seasons that have proven to be too difficult to obtain. Stay tuned!

Story Time
Over this week digging into the story of “Because You Begged,” I was able to talk with some members of the Publishing Team and learned about some interesting stories around the history around it. So, let’s start this off with some technical backstory around this from one of my friends.

“In the original release of Halo: Reach, the achievement ‘If They Came to Hear Me Beg’ was put in as a very challenging achievement to acquire. It was both loved and loathed back then by many, because of the finicky mechanics of the achievement. Specifically, the validation code based on the physics calculations of the interaction.

Truth be told this achievement was one you were either extremely lucky and got it on the first time, or spent hours and hours attempting to master the technique necessary to acquire it.

Before that achievement saw the light of day, it was internally tested by both the Bungie and Microsoft teams. Feedback from the Test team was that the Achievement often looked like it was completed successfully but was not actually given credit.

One of the goals for the Product team was to try to make sure to try to minimize the scenarios where the player ever felt ‘cheated’ by the systems that were implemented. Unfortunately, due to the way the invisible physics pill around the player would interact with the collision of the Elite in conjunction with the speed the player needed to be travelling, often made the player fail to earn the achievement, although it looked like they ‘stuck’ the landing. These concerns were voiced, but this was as intended and by design. Therefore, the achievement stayed in and its functionality remained difficult.

For each release candidate, the Test team had to verify all achievements in the title functionality, and this achievement alone spent 30-man hours of time to verify across the different builds before release.

Flash forward to 2019, and achievements were being identified for bringing into MCC. This infamous achievement came into consideration, and due to the community reservations and the amount of time required to support it, it was decided to not formally support it with an achievement.

After release, there were posts, comments, and mentions of surprise, disappointment, and sadness about it not being in the title. As we implemented the challenge system, we saw an opportunity to bring back the original implementation, and award those who accomplished it with a worthy reward.
It came back ‘Because you Begged.’”

Thank you, friend!

This is continued in the next post below.
Thank you for taking the jump with us from the previous post. Let's continue!

Duck Tales
Now, let’s roll on into more about 2021 and its most current implementation from the Publishing Team’s Technical Designer, Dana Jerpback. Take it away buddy!

“Thank you Postums! One of the goals of MCC’s challenge system is to create exciting moments for players to rally behind and remember each season. One such opportunity to facilitate this is reviving legacy Halo achievements as challenges with new and unique rewards. With the launch of ODST Firefight in MCC, we brought back the legendary “Vidmaster Endure” achievement as a challenge. To facilitate this, we updated the original achievement logic to account for game variants and ODST Firefight’s new asynchronous networking model. The former ensured we maintained the integrity of the challenge in a world where players could grant themselves infinite ammo, damage multipliers, extra health, weapon and vehicle upgrades, etc. The latter required us to change the way the challenge criteria were tracked by the game host and then messaged to and then queued for clients (this is why clients would often see the challenge pop a few seconds after the host).

For this season, we took variations of this approach for two new challenges. First, we created a new challenge “Release the Geese!” (somewhat of a misnomer given that the plural form of “Mongoose” is, in fact “Mongooses”, but I digress). This challenge was inspired by and, in part, based on the existing “Vidmaster Annual” achievement (which is already in MCC as an actual achievement). This was a fun mix of new and old and the reward prompted us to rotate in the fan-favorite Rocket Race playlist in social matchmaking for players to show off their fancy new Mongoose skin. On the other end of the spectrum, we also decided it was time to bring back the infamous “If They Came to Hear Me Beg” achievement. For this challenge, we left the original achievement logic completely untouched as a “black box”. You could say it’s back wort wort worts and all. For some, the frustration of the achievement was part of the charm. We intentionally tied a silly reward to this somewhat silly challenge to complete the package.”
Thanks, Dana, for sharing more on the behind the scenes for our Mongeese, Mister Chiefs, and all the workings of updates to Challenges.

Closing Time
Alright friends, that will do it for this week. We will see y’all back here next Friday. We will be sure to share any new details we find around the “Because You Begged” challenge as we take a look behind the scenes, so make sure to take a break from it as it will be available to earn through the entire duration of Season 5. Thanks all, and as always, we will see you online!

Hey Friends,

Welcome back to another MCC Weekly Flighting and Development Update! This week has been one of investigations, planning, bug fixing, and prep work for our next series of flights set to begin soon-ish. Topics for today’s update are as follows:
  • Workaround for “Because You Begged.”
  • February is Black History Month.
  • HCS Halo 3 Weekly Tournaments back on Feb 14.
  • Quit Bans and when you can quit PSA.
  • Flighting Update
Let’s get after it!

Challenging Challenges
Last month, Season 5 rolled out and with it a whole slew of new Seasonal Challenges. One has been causing quite a bit of grief unfortunately. After taking some time to investigate it, we have found a bug. However, we also have found a work around with some community help that helped us identify where the bug lives.

If you have been having issues achieving the Mister Chief helmet for Halo: Reach from doing the “Because You Begged” Seasonal Challenge please head over to the Halo Support site and check out the workaround steps for both Xbox and PC HERE.

Long story short, anyone who had attempted the old achievement from Halo: Reach and successfully completed it, the logic for the achievement still lives in the game and it was marked as completed and saved in your profile’s data. Clearing that data through the work around, now makes it so when you complete it, the challenge can unlock appropriately.

Please follow the steps in the link above and we will see you all rocking out in the Mister Chief helmets soon enough! Thank you for your patience and we will let players know if there’s anything else we see possibly causing a ruckus with this one.

For some eager beavers however, this workaround won’t impact everyone’s issue. There is another one scenario when the Season was changing over, roughly 300 players unlocked it prior the game update on January 27th. For the select few who encountered this, we have completed a manual grant of the Mister Chief helmet today, so you suit up your Spartan proudly with the Mister Chief.

Black History Month Nameplate
When Season 5 rolled out, we talked about a new nameplate players can acquire in the month of February for Black History Month. The time is now Spartans! Hop into game anytime this month and you will unlock the Black History Nameplate.
Black History Month Nameplate

HCS Events
Later this month, weekly Halo 3 tournaments will be making their way back into MCC. On February 14th, players can jump into the action for a shot at $1,000 if you can keep up. Full details and how to register can be found HERE.

Quit Ban PSA
If you’ve quit out of a game either intentionally or unintentionally, you will receive a quit ban if you are within the first 50% of players to quit from your team.
Current ban ladder for MCC:
  • First offence: 1 minute ban
  • Second offense: 3 minute ban
  • Third offense: 5 minute ban
  • Fourth offense: 10 minute ban
  • Additional offences: 10 minutes
The “First 50%” means that if you are in a 4v4, that the first 2 players to quit on your team will receive a quit ban. However, after at least 50% quit, you are free to quit without a ban. There is a caveat where if a player doesn’t connect to the server and does not make it into the game, the automated quit ban service will not see them as ever being a part of the game. In that situation, the first 2 players to manually quit on that team will receive the ban.

Moral of the story: don’t quit, but if half of your team has then you won’t be punished for doing so.

Flighting Future
Later this month we are currently planning to kick off our next series of flights. We have quite a bit of new content we are looking to get into your hands, but we are deciding what the right amount is and are still waiting to see what progress is made in the coming weeks.

If all goes well, later this month or early next month is when we plan to roll out our next public flight. Some of the items we are hoping (things can change) to have make it into this flight are as follows:
  • FOV slider support for all Xbox One consoles
  • FOV slider will no longer be locked when Xbox Series S|X devices are set to 120hz
  • Additional ways to customize controls
  • Additional Keybindings
  • Mouse & Keyboard Support for consoles
  • View Model Adjustments
  • And maybe a new place and way to play
As we get closer, we will start sharing more details of when and what players can expect for our next flight. For the time being, please make sure all of your Halo Insider information is accurate and current. This includes if you have picked up an Xbox One Series S|X recently or new parts for your PC. Verifying your email address and making sure it's up-to-date is the only way we can contact you when the time comes to send out flighting invites.

Not yet a Halo Insider? No problem! It’s quick and easy to opt-in – just head HERE and enter your info. Make sure to opt-in for communications and complete your email verification. And, if you want to participate via PC, please make sure to include a DXDIAG hardware snapshot.

With that, I must bid you a farewell and a happy Friday y’all! As always, thank you for stopping by, and we will see you online!

Hey Friends,

Welcome back to another MCC Development & Flighting Update. This week we have development and flighting news to share!

February Flighting
ICYMI – The Halo Community Update came out yesterday, and in it we talked to MCC flighting which is kicking off next week! The core details for flighting from it are as follows:
If all goes well in Rings 1 and 2, we plan to roll out our next public flight as early as next Thursday, February 18th. Some of the items we are hoping (things can change) to include in this flight are:
  • Custom Game Browser: a new way to play with each other in MCC
  • Season 6 content
  • A new map for Halo 3 from Halo Online
  • FOV slider support for all Xbox One consoles
  • FOV slider will no longer be locked when Xbox Series X|S devices are set to 120hz
  • Double Keybindings
  • Mouse & Keyboard support for consoles
  • Advanced Audio options
  • View Model Customization options
Stay tuned and get ready to jump into the next flight planned to kick off next week! If you aren’t prepared…

Update Halo Insider Profile for Flighting
If you want to get in on the action, please make sure all of your Halo Insider information is accurate and current. This includes if you have picked up an Xbox One Series S|X recently or new parts for your PC. Verifying your email address and making sure it's up-to-date is the only way we can contact you when the time comes to send out flighting invites.
Not yet a Halo Insider? No problem! It’s quick and easy to opt-in – just head HERE and enter your info. Make sure to opt-in for communications and complete your email verification. And, if you want to participate via PC, please make sure to include a DXDIAG hardware snapshot.

Development Updates
This week, we have a reminder about 2 new pieces and are going to touch on a new feature! To kick this section off we are going to take a look at two nameplates you can snag in the month of February!

Black History Month
When Season 5 rolled out, we talked about a new nameplate players can acquire in the month of February for Black History Month. The time is now Spartans! Hop into game anytime this month and you will unlock the Black History Nameplate featured below:
Black History Month Nameplate

Valentine’s Day Nameplate - February 11-15
Players can earn the “Put a Ring On It” nameplate from now through Valentine’s Day weekend, if you log in to MCC. Get in on it to show your love!
Please note, this nameplate is not automatically granted so it may take a week or two for you to see it. You should expect to see it by February 26.
Put A Ring On It Nameplate

Now onto a new feature coming to MCC in the near future!

Design Diaries
We are adding in an additional way for players to access content beyond the traditional Seasonal Challenges and Season Pass. Previously, players had to complete Seasonal Challenges while they were available and after that time was gone, you didn’t have a way to earn that same content again. With our new seasonal currency “store,” that is going to change up a bit. If you missed out on things previously, such as the Mister Chief Helmet in Halo: Reach from difficulties with the “Because you Begged” challenge, you may be able to use Season Points to still acquire the reward at a later date. We aim to offer up an additional way for players to use earned Seasonal Points to unlock various cosmetic content items.

Below I interviewed Max Szlagor, Design Director for the Publishing Team, to talk a little bit more about this new feature and what players can expect. Let’s get after it!

Postums: Hey Max, thank you so much for joining me today. So first and foremost, tell me what this new way to acquire Customization Content is? Let’s break this down a bit.
Max: We are introducing a seasonal currency “store” – and there’s no real money involved. Instead, the currency is season points (SP) which players will still continue to earn. Now instead of using SP solely to unlock items in the season pass, there will be opportunities to spend those points on prior seasonal challenge content you may have previously missed as well as all new items that debut in the seasonal currency “store.”

Is there a “cash” option for this where players will buy SP if they want to?
Nope. Players can only earn and spend season points as they always have – via the first 100 levels and the various Seasonal and Weekly Challenges.

Where did the idea for allowing previous seasonal challenge items to be unlockable come from?
We wanted to add more choices for players to unlock items and heard feedback that some prior season challenge requirements did not match the intended play patterns of people interested in the rewards.

We think challenges that require a bit of extra effort and offer unique rewards are important, and we will continue to introduce some items through these challenges going forward. The good news is that we now have another way to reintroduce those items at a later date.

How often will items rotate in and out for these?
Some items will rotate each week while others will be available for the duration of a season. Items may return to the rotation in future seasons.

Will there ever be new or unique items that are showcased in this new option?
Some items will debut in the season currency “store” They may end up being reintroduced through challenges or the seasonal “store” at a later date.

Will the rotation of items be linear and on a regular rotation or are we going to mix things up a bit?
There will be a scheduled rotation we regularly schedule, and we also work to share information on what items are rotating in and out for the following week to players.

That sounds like an amazing new way to give players additional options to get these customization pieces! What are some of the key design elements of this that excite you for players?
Expanding the ways players can earn and unlock items has been a goal for some time, and this is the foundation of another way for doing that. While we are using the seasonal currency “store” as a way to rotate in new items and to reintroduce items that are no longer available, we are also looking ahead at other ways this interface opens up new item catalog possibilities.

I have to ask, is this going to be available in flight for players to preview?
We are working to make this available in the flight. Our current goal is for a flight patch, which will come about a week or so after the flight kicks off.

Okay, that’s awesome. When would this become available to players in game and not in flight?
We are currently working towards having this become available with the Season 6 update.

Will players be able to use all previously earned SP on this?
Yes, as Seasonal currency doesn’t expire, and all earned Seasonal Points can be spent in this new “store” or in the season tiers interchangeably. One currency to rule them all.

Thank you Max for stopping in, as always, it’s been a pleasure!
Thank you Tyler for reaching out. I can’t wait to see how players interact with and use the “store.” As always, if there is feedback on this new option, please make sure to let us know! Thanks again!

Closing Time
Thank you everyone for stopping in and checking out this week’s MCC Development and Flighting Update. We have a lot coming down the pipe in terms of new content, flights, and news. Stay tuned next week as we get ready to kick off February’s flights in prep for Season 6 and all the new features coming to MCC with it! Happy Friday y’all, and as always – we will see you online!

Hey Friends,

Welcome back to another MCC Development & Flighting Update. This week we are knee deep in preparation for flighting and an update on where things are at. One development update note is that next week, we are rotating in H2A Team Hardcore and rotating out Halo: Reach Team Hardcore. This will happen on Wednesday in our regularly scheduled playlist update. Now, onward to flighting news!

February Flighting
ICYMI – The Halo Community Update came out last week, and in it we talked to MCC flighting which we planned to have roll out this week. Unfortunately, there are a handful of Ring 3 blockers (bugs preventing public flighting) that are present. We are going to give this month’s flight another week of development prior to getting it out in front of everyone.

This is game development and things change. We will continue to do our best to keep you informed on these changes through our weekly flighting updates when we have news available to share.

So, our new target is later next week. We know that players are very excited for this flight and as we’ve discussed, there’s a lot of new features and content coming in the next one! Since last week’s update, we have made a minor shift of timing for the content in it and when it will be available over the course of it.

If all goes well in Rings 1 and 2, we plan to roll out our next public flight as early as next Thursday, February 25th. Then we are planning in roughly a week or so, an update to the flight to bring more content and features online that we are working hard on.

Some of the items we are hoping (things can change) to include in this flight at the start are:
  • Season 6 content
  • 2 new maps for Halo 3 from Halo Online (Edge and Waterfall)
  • FOV slider support for all Xbox One consoles
  • FOV slider will no longer be locked when Xbox Series X|S devices are set to 120hz
  • Double Keybindings
  • Mouse & Keyboard support for consoles
  • Advanced Audio options
  • Weapon Display Offsets for view model position customization options
Planned Update content a week or two after flighting starts:
  • Custom Game Browser: a new way to play with each other in MCC
  • Additional bug fixes and content.
Thanks for being flexible, patient, and ready for this next one to kick off! We will let you know as soon as we are good to go and shout it on the bull horn.

Halo Insider Registration
I know that this sounds like I’m beating a dead horse, but if you really want into flighting, it’s as simple as following the below steps to get into it.

Update Halo Insider Profile for Flighting
If you want to get in on the action, please make sure all of your Halo Insider information is accurate and current. This includes if you have picked up an Xbox One Series S|X recently or new parts for your PC. Verifying your email address and making sure it's up-to-date is the only way we can contact you when the time comes to send out flighting invites.
Not yet a Halo Insider? No problem! It’s quick and easy to opt-in – just head HERE and enter your info. Make sure to opt-in for communications and complete your email verification. And, if you want to participate via PC, please make sure to include a DXDIAG hardware snapshot.

Well, that’s it. But – before we go, here’s a nice new screenshot for Edge, another Halo Online map that is coming to Halo 3 in the next flight.

Halo Online's Edge

Oh, and another work-in-progress screenshot for Waterfall (that's me on the forklift).

Waterfall Screenshot

Thanks all for stopping in and we will work to let folks know as soon as things are ready, we’re strapped in, and ready to kick February’s flight off! Happy Friday all, and as always – we will see y’all online!


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I write things about 343 Industries, but mostly just Halo Wars and MCC stuff.
Hey Friends,

Welcome back to the latest edition of MCC’s Friday Development & Flighting Updates for February 26th, 2021. Today we have a light (but, information packed) flight and development update.

Flight is LIVE
Big news coming up first, flighting has kicked off for Ring 3 today! For those of you who are registered Halo Insiders, check your Waypoint messages for all the necessary details to get in on the action. We invited every Halo Insider this time based on your platform preferences, so make sure to check those inboxes. If you just recently registered, you may have missed the cutoff for this flight, but hang tight as there are more coming this year!

For this flight, there’s a lot of content and it’s all broken down in the flight overview - which will be linked to in your messages here on Halo Waypoint. To make sure you’re all caught up with the latest, be sure to give it a look to learn all about MCC’s February flight.

Custom Game Browser
On the development side, the long-awaited Custom Game Browser is coming in a future update to our current flight! (So long as the next week-or-so goes smoothly.)

With Custom Game Browser, we took time to listen to as much feedback as we could over the years of what players really wanted and brought in as much of that core functionality as we could. This means allowing for games to be played on dedicated servers and allowing players to effectively create your own playlists. These are referred to in-game as “variants” which allow you to create a custom selection of game modes and maps built with custom rotations and repeatable options.

We think players will be pleasantly surprised and quite happy with this tool’s feature set when it’s out in the wild. We are very excited to roll it out in the flight first for Halo: Reach and build on it and expand it to more games over time. It’s a very robust tool and over time will come online for all titles in MCC as we have to tinker with and customize it to “play nice” with all of the various game engines and file types each Halo uses. So, if you’re in this flight, please make sure to jump in and try it out! Help us figure out if there are any oddities or issues with this tool at scale with a large audience so we can smooth out any wrinkles it may have before it’s ready for primetime.

Custom Game Team Changing
With this flight, players will now be able to change teams while in-game during a custom game. This is a feature we are tracking to have functional across all games in MCC by the time Season 6 comes out and are curious to see how players interact with it during the flight, ae if there are any odd scenarios present. This is a big win for players who have been asking for this behavior to make its way back into the legacy Halo titles in MCC as it was present in the original releases. The most prominent example being players wanting to play Halo 2’s zombies and be able to change teams from Red to Green. This option will be available for both the Halo: Reach and Halo 3 content via the pause menu roster in the flight.

Alright, those are the big things for this week. We’ll check back in next week and see how everything is going in the flight and to discuss what we are hearing from players, what issues players are encountering, and talk about how the flight is going!

Thanks for stopping in, and as always, we will see y’all online!

Hey Friends,

This week we are continuing to discuss the latest MCC flight that kicked off last week. In our last post, we discussed that we were planning to update the flight this week with the Custom Game Browser, the new Season Points Exchange feature, and some various bug fixes. The team is still working on blockers this week for the flight update, so we are now targeting next week for this to happen and extending the flight to accommodate this change.

Flighting Update
When the update goes live, it will have the first iteration of the Custom Game Browser (which will only be available for Halo: Reach), improvements to performance for the map Waterfall, and various bug fixes.

There are numerous feedback items shared in our forums, across social media, and beyond that we are hearing coming through and the team is listening. When the flight update goes live, be sure to checkout to view the updated Flight Overview and the Patch Notes. These will have the broken-down details for each change made with the update.

Custom Game Browser
Custom Game Browser (CGB) will be added into MCC over “Phases” as we build it to be supported across all games. Since sharing our initial concepts of it vs. what we are building now, it has really grown in terms of scope and features. Given this increase it is taking a bit more time for the entire feature to be developed and we are building it in a phased approach. This allows players to enjoy the foundation we have built and enjoy these benefits in the near term.

In flight, we will be releasing the “Phase 1” version which is the initial iteration of this feature to be built on over time. Once completed, this feature will be available for all titles in MCC, receiving various updates and bug fixes as needed as time progresses.

In advance of getting into the build and checking it out first hand, we wanted to share some additional insights into how the CGB will work and some of its core functionality. The CGB has three primary functions for players: Create, Browse, and Report which are detailed below.

Game: CGB will only be available for Halo: Reach in Phase 1.

Create Flow: CGB allows players to ‘Create’ your own custom game ‘sessions’ that will run on dedicated servers. Below are the options you will have as part of the “Create” flow for setting up ‘sessions’
  • ‘Sessions’ will allow for a Session Name, a Minimum Players count, a Max Player count, Regional Server Selection, Repeat Game option, Team Changing options, and map and mode selections.
  • There will be a ‘Pre-Game’ phase where if the minimum player count isn’t met, you will load in and play a modified slayer variant while waiting for the Minimum player threshold to be reached.
  • CGB will allow players to essentially create your own ‘playlists’ to play the games you want how you want and run through a series of maps and modes. There is a ‘Repeat Game’ option which will allow you to continue playing with the same players on the maps and modes you’ve defined for the session immediately when a game ends when it is turned on. If not, when the match ends you will go through the natural Post Game Carnage Report flow and be able to select what happens next.
  • Team Changing options include Leader Only, Pre-Game Only, and Always.
  • You will be able to select the maps and modes you want to play with some limitations to how many combinations you can choose. We ask that you play around with it and let us know what you think.
Browse Flow: This is used for players to select and join an already active CGB session when you open up the browse tool. By default, the browse list is sorted by the Player column, in descending order and prioritizes games that have more players in them.
  • Browse will display information about the session including Name, Game Modes, Maps, Player Count (current and possible), and ping to the server region being used.
  • Selecting a session will allow the user to see more information about it, as well as join directly on it (if slots are available).
Report a Session Feature: Players can report a CGB session that violates the code of conduct.
  • This can be done by clicking a new ‘Report’ option when viewing the details of a specific session.
  • When reporting, the player can submit a string detailing what the report is on.
  • Players have a maximum of 5 reports daily.
We are excited to have this feature rollout in its initial phase and look forward to seeing how players use it, hearing feedback on it, and then iterating on this feature over time as we move through the various phases to completion of it in the collection.

To be very clear to all players, if this feature is not ready based on flighting feedback like any feature we flight, we will not release it in the next season. Please be open, honest, and share your feedback about it and we will evaluate it and keep you posted on status accordingly. Thanks all!

Waterfall Improvements
Waterfall, a Halo Online map that’s being added to Halo 3, will also be receiving various performance bug fixes. We have seen many tickets and feedback come in around this map and have already been making improvements that will go-live with our next flight update.

Also, to be clear with everyone, we discussed a little bit on the MCC Season 6 Preview stream earlier this week, that Edge (the other Halo Online map current in the MCC flight) is currently not at the right bar to be released with Season 6. We flight content to have the community evaluate and provide feedback. Based on this feedback there are quite a few fundamental improvements needed at this time prior to it going out into the wild. So, we will be taking this information and letting it bake a little while longer for a future season.

Additional Bug Fixes
There are a handful of other smaller bug fixes that are coming in this update such as animated visor preview fixes, some name and vehicle customization debug strings, and a few other things. For full details on this, make sure to check out the flight’s patch notes that will be on the Insider Halo Support site when the update goes live.

Armor and Undersuit Feedback
We are looking for feedback from players around updates we have done to the Halo 3 armors in this flight. If you have participated in it, you will notice several updates we have made based on player feedback since the inclusion of the Halo Online armors for Halo 3 with Season 5. If you could please take some time to head over to this pinned thread and let us know your thoughts, it would be greatly appreciated around Halo 3’s armors and undersuits.

Thanks everyone for stopping in, Happy Friday, and as always, we will see y’all online!

Hey Friends,

Welcome back to another weekly MCC development and flighting update. This week’s is very brief as we recently did an update to flighting and dropped news regarding it yesterday! You can check out the Steam News piece HERE. As well, yesterday, the month’s Community Update, Zeta Zone, went LIVE with loads of information across the board for all things Halo. Beyond those items, nothing crazy new going on!

For those curious about Custom Game Browser and its recent no-show in flighting, we know that there are questions, but we ask for you to please stay tuned over the next few weeks. We are looking at how best to get this out to the community at this time. Once we have resolved various bugs, we will be sure to get back on the bull horn and let y’all know when and where you can get your hands on it first!

Thanks all for stopping in, and as always, we will see y’all online!

Hello Friends,

Welcome back to another weekly MCC Development & Flighting update. This week, we are going to dive into a brand new feature that players were able to interact with during flighting. We saw that players had a lot of thoughts and opinions on this particular feature (among others) but for the Exchange, we had not yet fully explained the details behind it, our philosophy for how we plan to use it, and what our goals were with it to players.

For this week, let us just dive on into the details of what makes up the Exchange and what players should expect!

Design Discussion – Exchange
After the Exchange went live in our latest MCC flight, we got a lot of questions from players about the Exchange’s prices and how it would be ultimately used. To help shed some light on this, we reached out to folks on the Publishing Team’s Design Team for clarity. I would like to welcome to the floor, Dana “Duck” Jerpbak, the Technical Designer for MCC. Take it away Dana!

When we began designing the Season Points Exchange, we had two primary goals in mind. First, we wanted to create more incentive for players to engage with our progression system and afford them more choice in what they unlock. Second, we wanted to create an opportunity for players with a surplus of Season Points (SP) to spend them on items they may have missed out on initially. As an additional goal, we also wanted to minimize the fear of missing out, or “FOMO” associated with this experience. The Exchange will offer customization items from two overarching categories: previous limited-time season content and new themed content. With each season, each of these categories will expand and the total pool of available items will grow. These items will be split between Featured and Limited Time categories in the Exchange. The former is a collection of themed bundles of items which will grow over time (typically when a new season is introduced). The latter is a collection of standalone items which rotates each week. Of course, you could see featured standalone items or rotational bundles introduced in the future as well.

The limited time offers are an opportunity to bring past items which haven’t been available for some time back into the fold periodically (as well as to rotate in new content). For items which were previously available from challenges, it’s important that the item price reflects the difficulty of the associated challenge. Additionally, challenge rewards must “sit out” for a minimum of one season (roughly two months) after the challenge expires until they may enter the Exchange item pool. It’s important that players who worked hard to earn a reward experience the temporal value of having the reward well before it becomes more broadly available. Players are understandably attached to rewards they’ve earned for difficult challenges and we intend not to trivialize that by “just giving away” prestigious rewards. In the flight, we presented a selection of potential rewards with rough prices associated with them to gauge player feedback. Unsurprisingly, the players who earned the Avalanche Sniper skin from reaching rank 20 in the Recon Slayer playlist weren’t too happy to see it up for grabs for a handful of SP. In part due to this feedback, we will not be offering any former ranked rewards in the Exchange during Season 6. We won’t rule out the possibility of that happening in the future (with appropriate prices and after an appropriate time period, of course) but it is not planned for this season.

We want the Exchange to be something players are excited to revisit each week. It adds another choice for where players can spend their hard-earned SP. Players shouldn’t expect to unlock everything the first time it rotates into the Exchange AND blow through the season’s track right away. However, there will be a few additional SP on offer each week to accommodate the new place to spend them. If players miss out on an item they’re interested in, they can rest easy knowing that it will rotate back through the Exchange before too long. Additionally, the upcoming week’s batch of items is always displayed (along with their SP price) and fully previewable so players can plan to save up or set aside SP for an upcoming item.

We hope you enjoy the Exchange’s first outing with Season 6 and we look forward to tuning the content on offer based on your feedback in the future. Thank you to everyone who took it for a spin in the flight!

Postums: Alright Dana, thank you for that awesome breakdown! Now, I’ve got a handful of questions I’ve seen floating around out in the wild that I would love for us to breakdown and answer if you don’t mind? First and foremost - Do items in the Exchange cost real money?
Dana: No. Exchange items are unlocked through Season Points which players earn by leveling up and completing Challenges in MCC. No real money is involved whatsoever.

Was the Exchange content in the flight final?
Like with everything in a flight, the Exchange offers and prices were a work in progress and not final. They were a small set of example content to test the feature and gather feedback.

I’m a new player without any Season Points banked up. Will I be able to afford to unlock items in the Exchange?
Yes! New players earn SP at an accelerated rate because they earn one each time they level up until reaching level 100 in addition to the SP earned through Challenges. Players also earn XP through Challenges, increasing the rate at which they level up. We’ve increased XP payouts for some Challenges with Season 6 so this will be even faster than before. With that said, you have a lot of choices on where you spend your SP. You can spend them in the Exchange or on any Season’s items. The items will remain available (or rotational, in the Exchange’s case) so while it may take a while to unlock everything you want, you won’t be missing out on anything if you can’t afford to unlock it in the short term.

If I complete every Challenge available and have a backlog of SP banked up, will the Exchange be relevant to me?
The Exchange will give you a place to drop some of those surplus SP, especially up front on the featured bundle, if you so choose. It’ll also give you something to come back and spend more SP on each week. If you continue to complete every available Challenge, you’ll still have an SP surplus but this will certainly put a dent in it.

I worked really hard for my Avalanche Sniper Rifle skin. Are you just going to give it away for a handful of Season Points?
While we do want to use the Exchange to offer unique items which were formerly available for a limited time, we also don’t want to trivialize the efforts players went through to unlock them initially. No ranked rewards will be offered in the Exchange in Season 6 and any former challenge item will “sit out” for at least a full season before entering the Exchange rotation. If an item was difficult to earn from a Challenge, its SP price should reflect that if it does eventually enter the Exchange. There is also temporal value in earning a reward from a challenge well before it becomes more broadly available.

Will I ever be able to earn more Season Points outside of leveling and seasonal challenges?
SP will continue to be earned from the first 100 progression levels and from Challenges. We will continue to tune the rate they’re earned from both based on the SP price of items in the Exchange and seasons.

Thank you so much Dana for taking some time to dive into this feature and shed some light on what the team is thinking!

Alright folks, there’s lots of more features to be discussed in the future, but for now – this is going to do it. We hope players enjoyed the flight, got to spend some hands-on time with all of the new things we are working on, and know that most of it will be available in the near future as we get closer towards MCC’s Season 6, Raven.

We will hopefully have some more news in the coming weeks around Custom Game Browser and the work that is being done that postponed it from being in flight, but I definitely think players will be pleasantly surprised with what the Publishing Team has planned around it and when you can expect to get some hands-on time. Stay tuned!

As always, thank you for stopping in, and we will see y’all online!

Welcome back to our weekly MCC Development & Flighting Update series! This week we are going to be talking about issues in MCC features, CGB, improvements to Waterfall and some Legacy Halo 3 toggle work - and what we are doing to continue our investigations and improvements to all of them. Let’s dive on in!

View Model Offset

During our flight that ended earlier this month, players were able to see the first iteration of player view model offset options for customizing your view model in gameplay. We heard a lot of feedback from players who interacted with this and quickly realized it was not as robust as players had hoped. So, we have decided to hold off on this feature rolling out and are going to spend some more time addressing feedback that was given. It is in progress, but players will need to hold on for just a little bit longer for this to get into your hot little hands in game.

Custom Game Browser

This highly anticipated feature unfortunately was not able to make its way into the flight as we ran into several bugs along the way preventing its debut in the flight this month. We had hoped, and worked, but there’s just some critical bugs that were found and need to be addressed. Things relating to the launching of a team game not functioning appropriately, gameplay flows, and some additional core issues that needed to be resolved.
We don’t have an exact timeline of when we will be able to debut it to players, but it will be coming in a future flight for players to experience and give feedback on in much better shape than where we were at. Thank you all for understanding and the support for our teams to take their time to polish this feature up and get it out when it’s in a much better place!

Feedback and Bugs Addressed Since Flight

Through the duration of the flight earlier this month, we had quite a bit of discussion around many technical issues and feedback coming in across various parts. Two of them were various discrepancies that were meant to be put behind the Legacy view toggle for Halo 3 as well performance issues on the new map Waterfall.
For the first piece – we have made updates to both the Katana for the Hayabusa armor to appear correctly in all states and also resolved an issue where the updated first-person hands displayed the new models. Thank you to everyone who submitted tickets during the flight on both of these issues!

For Waterfall, we have made additional improvements to the map through the flight and afterwards to help address performance dips. Waterfall will be releasing alongside Season 6, but will be limited to custom games for the time being. We will keep our ears to the ground on what players are saying and find if there are additional changes needed to improve on the map.

That will do it folks. Thank you everyone for stopping in and we will see y’all same place next week? As always, we will catch y’all online!
Hey Friends,

Welcome back to another week of Development & Flighting Updates on Halo: The Master Chief Collection (MCC). Earlier this week, we discussed that Season 6, “Raven,” is coming out on next Wednesday, April 7, 2021. With it, we have a ton of new features, content, and bug fixes! There are also some features that players have been discussing relating to flighting that aren’t going to be coming in this update. First however, we need to remind players that with each update, mid-mission checkpoints and theater films can often be impacted. So, let’s start there with what you can expect with this update regarding those two in-game features.

Mid-Mission Checkpoints, Theater Films, and Server Regions
Ahead of next week’s update, there are three things we wanted to give you a pre-emptive heads-up about.

First, mid-mission checkpoints for all games in MCC will not be valid post-update. You will still have access to play the campaign missions but will need to restart from the beginning as the previous ones will become invalid.

Second, all theater files created prior to the update will also become invalid.

There is quite a bit of new content being added and various bug fixes require content rebuilds for this update. So please make sure to go in and record the videos you want before next Wednesday, April 7, when Season 6 and the MCC update are released!

And lastly, with next week’s update the team is making some efficiency changes to our global server infrastructure and as a result, a small subset of players may find they are now connecting to different server regions. This should not result in noticeable changes to your game experience, but we wanted to give you a heads up since the server regions listed in the UI may change. As a reminder, players do have the ability to manually select their preferred server regions at any time – otherwise, the game will connect you to the best available option.

Raven Inbound
Next week, with Raven, we have a game update that is going to include many features that were in our most previous MCC flight last month. The full list of features will be outlined in next week’s go-live blog, but players can expect options available for the Xbox One that were only previously available on PC, the map Waterfall for custom games, as well as new audio options. Additionally, the all-new Exchange where players can unlock Exchange Items through the Seasonal Points currency is coming online.

Keep your eyes peeled on the Halo Twitter account for all of the information relating to the new season in the coming week!

Content Not in Update
As stated through the duration of the flight, the build included content that wasn’t necessarily certain to launch with Season 6. This is true and we have a final list of content that will not be launching next week based on feedback and overall readiness. Below are 3 key items, 2 that were in the flight, and 1 that didn’t make it in, but all will not be included when Season 6 goes live next week.
We are working diligently on each of these items right now and will bring them back in an updated capacity either to future flights or into an update. As we get closer to final with each feature and piece of content, we will make sure to shout from the rooftops when they are ready.

If you haven’t already completed them, make sure to wrap up your seasonal challenges this week to claim your rewards before they disappear! We know that there were some issues at the beginning of the season with a couple of challenges and the team has resolved many of them. However, if you do have any technical issues unlocking seasonal content, please make sure to head on over to the Halo Support site and submit a ticket for our teams to review!

Thank you for stopping on by, and as always, we will see y’all online!

Hey Friends,

Well, we did a thing this week. That thing was release Season 6, Raven, for Halo: The Master Chief Collection! A slew of information came with it. Below, are the important pieces in case you missed it:
Grab some snacks and drinks to get caught up in case you haven’t already dug into them!

Content in Custom Games
As a reminder in case, you did not click on all the links above, there are 2 new content pieces added in the most recent update that are only available in custom games for now.
  • Halo 3’s new map – Waterfall.
  • “Escalation Slayer” that is available for Halo 2: Anniversary,Halo: Reach, and Halo 4!
Escalation Slayer will be making it’s debut into matchmaking next week! Waterfall will just take a little bit longer before it is added into the regular social rotation, but will first be coming with a rotational game category in social games. We are working on wrapping up a few more performance bugs on the map before rolling it out wide! Until then, here are the icons for them both when they go LIVE!
Escalation Slayer

To read up on both of these additions, don’t forget to check out the Season 6 Launch Blog.

Halo Insider Program
Want to check out new content ahead of releases? You can! Players can get a sneak peek and help us make sure content is ready for prime time through the Halo Insider program!

If you are not yet a Halo Insider that’s not a problem! It’s quick and easy to opt-in – just head HERE and enter your info. Make sure to opt-in for communications and complete your email verification. And, if you want to participate via PC, please make sure to include a DxDiag hardware snapshot.

If you’re already registered, head on over to your Halo Insider profile and make sure your information is accurate and up-to-date. This includes if you have picked up an Xbox One Series S|X recently or new parts for your PC. Verifying your email address and making sure it's up-to-date is the only way we can contact you when the time comes to send out flighting invites.

Thank you all for jumping into game, into registering for our next series of flights, and have some fun this weekend in game!

Hey Friends,

Welcome back to another MCC Development and Flighting Update! This week we want to look at one of the most recent additions to MCC – Modding Support! This is just the beginning for our mod work this year as the team preps more robust work for all titles within the collection.

Modding MCC
As of last week, support to allow for Halo Custom Edition maps coming to MCC was brought online. This isn’t the first effort the team has conducted around modding but is one of the more impactful that players have been able to get their hands on. The Publishing Team is hard at work exploring how to expand this support for other titles (looking at you Halo 2 Vista), but only time will tell.

As of right now, there are no plans to bring mods down to console from PC. Our goal for this year is to roll out and improve the modding experience on PC before we begin evaluating how we would, should we choose to, bring that to consoles. We have seen quite a bit of chatter around it and want to set expectations accordingly that as of right now, there is no official plan of record to make it so. This could possibly change in the future, but it is not in the current roadmap.

For those who are really interested in modding or learning more, first and foremost, please go check out the newly crafted MCC EULA HERE. We also have an FAQ which we will be updating over time, it can be found HERE . You can ask more questions HERE. There are lots of modding communities out there filled with players already in the thick of it making custom content for MCC, if you are interested in finding new ways to play Halo. Dive on in!

Thank you all for stopping in again this week! We are excited for the future of MCC and all of the efforts put in by the community in modding. We look forward to seeing what y’all do. As always Spartans, we will see y’all online!

Hello Friends,

Welcome back again for another Friday Development & Flighting Update! This week we have an announcement to make for players that we know you have been waiting on for MCC!

Custom Game Browser Scale Test with Halo: Reach in MCC
CGB is about to be in your hands! Last month, we had several issues that blocked CGB from being a part of our most recent flight. The team has been hard at work resolving issues and conducting a variety of tests internally and with our Ring 1 partners. All signs point to it being ready for primetime and we are inching closer.

As early as next Thursday we are working to get a scale test underway for Custom Game Browser (CGB) in MCC for Halo: Reach. If all goes well, it will kick off then and run until the following Monday. As with all things game development, this is just a target window and is subject to change.

Once the scale test is completed, CGB will be taken offline, and we will begin evaluating how the support systems handled the scale test. Based on these findings we will determine what (if any) additional work is needed to turn this feature on permanently. We cannot wait to get it into your hands, so start getting ready friends, CGB is on its way for Halo: Reach in MCC soon!

Design Discussions
Ahead of its release, I took some time to interview Max Szlagor, the Design Director on the Publishing Team here at 343. We have seen quite a few questions come up since flighting around CGB and our roll-out plan. So, grab some snacks and get ready for an update!

Postums: Hey Max, thank you for joining me! Alright, so let’s talk about the elephant in the room, what is the CGB?

Max: Thanks Tyler, it is always fun to talk with the community about our work! The CGB allows players to jump in and out of public custom game experiences quickly with an emphasis on maximizing time in game. Players will have the ability to create and join public custom multiplayer games of MCC that will initially operate on dedicated servers. In phase 1, players can create game sessions in Halo: Reach that include up to 3 CGB variants. Each CGB variant includes a single game variant and up to 6 map variants. This initial release is the beginning of an all-new custom game experience built from the ground up specifically for MCC. The focus of this initial phase is to validate our goal of maximizing player time through CGB variants and quick create and join scenarios.

I would be remiss if I didn’t ask the question some players will want to hear. We announced this feature, what, back in 2018 – what took so long for this one?

The CGB was announced prior to our work on the PC versions of Halo: The Master Chief Collection and the addition of Halo: Reach. As we looked at our roadmap and investigated the needs of CGB, we determined that additional foundational work in each game and our overall network code was required to deliver this feature at a higher quality. We are excited about the new ways everyone can play with the CGB and thank everyone for their patience as we roll out this feature in phases.

Speaking of phases, can you talk a little bit about what the phases are for CGB?

Due to the complexity of the CGB systems and the need to ensure correct functionality in each game, we will be rolling this feature out in phases. Each phase will be focused on a specific game and feature set. For future phases, we are looking to include support for additional games in MCC along with features pulled from our design plan and player feedback.

Why are we doing phases instead of all at once?

Rolling this feature out in phases helps ensure each game can run well in the new CGB framework. New network functionality is required for each game to support the browser.

What went into the decision to make Halo: Reach be the first title to get CGB?
We are starting with Halo: Reach because it is a good test case for new features, we are introducing into the CGB such as our pre-game phase where players can gather until the minimum specified player count is met that allows the full match to start.

New features huh? That sounds awesome! Do we have an idea of how long is it going to take to expand the feature to all games across the collection?

We expect each game will have unique challenges to address for it to be compliant with the new CGB flow. We do not have an estimate for when new games will be introduced at this time.

Do you have a list of some of the new features being added over time to CGB?

Key features being added to CGB over time include enhanced game creation options, filtering, quick matching, and several ways to make it easier for friends to play together.

A question that I have seen come up across the community for the server options includes a big one I’m very interested in! Will players ever be able to have servers up 24/7 on rotation?

While there is a possibility for servers to run for extended periods of time, we do not have the ability for a server to remain up indefinitely at this time.

Another question that I’ve seen: Will players be able to have modded maps and content in CGB?

We are focused on bringing each game and currently planned phases out ahead of any exploration into adding mods into CGB. Modded content has several additional requirements above and beyond what traditional game and map variants need for support.

Alright, one more specific ask: Will players be able to complete challenges in CGB?

Any challenges that could be completed in custom games should be completable in the CGB.

Those are all great things to know. Let’s take a sidestep and talk core design. What have been some of the key design pillars around this feature?

CGB is a way for players to host and find unique multiplayer content that may not be as suitable for traditional matchmaking scenarios. Our goal is to provide an intuitive and robust game hosting system that keeps players in matches as long as possible without having to jump in and out of the front end.

Since our initial announcement, CGB has changed a lot. What are some of the key changes the team has made to make this feature a reality?

CGB is a big, complex feature that required a lot of critical discussion, technical evaluation, and adjustment as we added more games to MCC, upgraded the networking infrastructure, and expanded on the core game feature set. We also wanted to make sure CGB offered a unique and new way to host, find, and play the variety of games and modes available.

From experience working on other CGBs, we felt the pre-game phase was important for keeping players engaged and this required new network plumbing work in MCC. We also wanted to improve in-game leader functionality ahead of the release of this feature to make it easier to manage players. And there is still more evolution to come as we roll this feature out, gather additional feedback, and discover the variety of games and ways in which players engage with CGB.

Thank you so much Max for stopping in and sharing some details around this new game feature! Let’s take a look at some updated screenshots for the Custom Game Browser below.

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