News

Anniversary Analysis

By -

Welcome to the latest Community Update! In this week's update, you can expect information on Halo 2: Anniversary joining Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC, Halo Esports, Halo 5: Guardians, Halo Infinite, and more. It's going to be a good one, so let's get to it!

On the home front

During the month of April, our studio ran two programs to support GlobalGiving's Coronavirus Relief Fund: the Relief & Recovery REQ Pack and the official #WeGotThisSpartans shirt from Meta Threads. Together, through these two initiatives, the Halo community (yes, you!) helped raise over $430,000 to help those in need. More specifically, these funds will go directly towards giving communities on the front lines the resources they need to act quickly and protect the most vulnerable. Thank you for lending a helping hand, Spartans.

In our last Community Update, and in the April MCC Development Update, we touched on how members of 343 Industries were working from home in order to keep ourselves, our families, our team, and our communities safe. 

Thursday, March 5, was our first day working from home, meaning today marks 10 weeks (2+ months) of this new way of life. Since then, I've received more than a handful of inquiries about how the team has adjusted to our "new normal." Obviously I can't speak for everyone on a team of our size, but I'm pretty comfortable saying our spirits and productivity are in good shape given the circumstances.

Just like we have from the start, we will continue to follow the latest health and safety guidelines provided by the government and Microsoft. Adhering to these guidelines allows us to prioritize being both safe and responsible while we continue to build quality Halo experiences for all of you. As much as I love being in the office with everyone, I'm very happy with our studio's decision to prioritize everyone's safety.

TL;DR: We're staying safe and productive. We hope you are too.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo 2: Anniversary

That's right, Halo 2: Anniversary is now available for PC via Xbox Game Pass for PC (Beta), the Microsoft Store, and Steam! In this blockbuster title, the fight hits home and the Master Chief must defend Earth from a Covenant invasion. I've been asked not to spoil the 16-year-old game, so if you want to find out if he's successful, you'll need to play it yourself... or simply watch the cutscenes on YouTube.

Halo 2: Anniversary, which includes the entire classic Halo 2 experience, offers tons of fun gameplay options and unique experiences, all of which have been optimized for PC.

New H2A features

Halo 2: Anniversary for PC includes several updates and additions over the original Xbox One release including:

  • New Spartan and Elite player customization model viewer 
  • MCC Season Progression System w/ new Campaign Challenges (v1)
  • Mouse + Keyboard input support
  • Customizable key bindings
  • Variable Framerate Support (VFR) (*experimental)
  • Adjustable Field-of-View (FOV) (*experimental)
  • Ultrawide and alternate resolution support
  • Text chat

OVerall MCC Updates

Halo Support & KNown Issues

Shortly after people started loading into matches, we noticed two issues pop up that weren't quite what we expected. The first issue we spotted is impacting Halo 2 Classic multiplayer (Xbox & PC), causing projectiles to inexplicably betray teammates. The second issue leads to a degraded in-game experience during Halo 3 multiplayer (Xbox), causing shield/bullet FX to no longer appear, "ghost" driving vehicles, and a few other oddities. Please rest assured that the team is working hard to track down the root cause of these bugs as quickly as they can. Yesterday, to help shed some light on the Halo 2 Classic issue, we recapped the first 24 hours of our investigation in an update on our Halo Support site here. It's worth the read.

 A few other pages worth reading are our known issues lists for each title: 

Each article includes various issues the team is tracking and, in many cases, actively working on. If you encounter an issue on these lists, you don't need to file a support ticket. However, if you encounter any issues that are not on these lists, please take the time to file a ticket on the Halo Support site: aka.ms/HaloSupport

Halo Esports

MCC Pro Series

Last Friday we announced the MCC Pro Series, a new online tournament series for pro players and amateurs, which will start on May 23 and run to July 18. We hope that this new online format with cash prizes will be able to scratch that itch for high-octane Halo while the world takes a break from large in-person events.

OVerall FORMAT

If you're interested in competing or just want to learn more, here's high-level overview of how the MCC Pro Series will operate week to week:

  • Open tournaments and Pro tournaments will alternate every Saturday, starting with our first Open tournament on May 23.
  • The Top 8 teams from that first Open tournament will qualify for the first 16 team Pro tournament, where they will be met by the Top 8 teams from DreamHack Anaheim. From there, the Top 8 teams from each Pro tournament will automatically qualify for the next Pro Tournament – and the cycle will be set into motion.
  • Since Halo 2: Anniversary arrived on PC this week, it is poised to be our headline title. However, as the HCS Team stated in their announcement, we’ll be listening to player feedback to help determine which game(s) to play over the course of the program.

Tournament Dates

  • May 23 (Open)
  • May 30 (Pro)
  • June 6 (Open)
  • June 13 (Pro)
  • June 20 (Open)
  • June 27 (Pro)
  • July 4 (Holiday, no tournament)
  • July 11 (Open)
  • July 18 (Pro)

REGISTRATION & BRoadcast

Think you've got what it takes to throwdown against the best? Want to give it a try just to see where you stack up? Either way, the MCC Pro Series is meant for you. Sign up and register for the upcoming competition through FACEIT at aka.ms/PSRegistration!

As mentioned in our announcement, we're currently exploring the possibility of hosting at-home remote broadcasts so that we can bring the action directly to you on twitch.tv/Halo & mixer.com/Halo. If that doesn't become a reality immediately, we encourage you to tune in to your favorite players' streams at aka.ms/HaloMCCStreams.

We hope you all enjoy this new format and series!

HCS Grassroots

Europa Halo

The Division 3 Finals of the Europa Doubles Series take place this Saturday, May 16. See which teams will be facing off in their bracket here and be sure to catch the broadcast live over on twitch.tv/EuropaHalo!

Greater Toronto Halo

The GTHalo crew have been putting on a series of tournaments where you sign up with a partner and then get randomly paired with another duo to form your full squad. These Schoolyard Redux events are a fun way to mix things up a little. Registration for this weekend's tournament on May 17 is closed, but you can still tune in to their broadcast live on mixer.com/GTHalo starting at 9am PT / 12pm ET!

SWAT NATION

Next Sunday, May 24, SWAT Nation is hosting a 2v2 SWAT tournament as the first installment of our their new Challenger Series. Head here to learn more and register or tune in next weekend on mixer.com/SWATNation and twitch.tv/SWATNationLive!

Lastly, even though they aren't Grassroots, I did want to point out that Esports Arena will also be hosting a Halo 5 2v2 tournament this Sunday. You can find all the information for that right here!

Halo 5: Guardians

As the team continues to sustain Halo 5 while working from home, we have been able to update our playlist offerings and even make improvements to our matchmaking systems. In fact our Lead Engagement Designer, Josh Menke, recently built out a Matchmaking & Ranking FAQ right here on Waypoint that can help explain how we find ideal matches as well as how ranks are determined in Halo 5. Trust me, it's 100% worth the read.

Now, let's take a look at what's in store for May and June!

Upcoming Calendar

May

  • May 7: Snipers rotates into Ranked over Hardcore Super Fiesta
  • May 7: Roaming King rotates in for CE Anniversary
  • May 14: Grifball rotates in for Roaming King
  • May 14: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
  • May 21: Action Sack rotates in for Grifball
  • May 28: H2 BR Slayer rotates in for Action Sack
  • May 28: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

June

  • June 4: Summer 2020 Arena Season begins
  • June 4: Free-For-All rotates into Ranked for June*
  • June 4: Castle Wars rotates in for H2 BR Slayer
  • June 11: Triple Team rotates in for Castle Wars
  • June 11: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
  • June 18: Core Play rotates in for Triple Team
  • June 25: Forerunner Slayer rotates in for Core Play
  • June 25: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

*We'll be keeping a close eye on Free-For-All's performance throughout June. If it does well, we may have it stick around for July. For you lone wolves out there, the best way to ensure its survival is to vote with your play time. Good luck out there!

Halo Gear

To help you bring your Halo 2: Anniversary PC gameplay to the next level, the Xbox Official Gear store has released another legendary mousepad. I actually can't promise this mousepad will make you play better or help you BXR opponents, but I can promise that it will make your setup look good while you try. Snag one for yourself or a fellow Spartan at gear.xbox.com/Halo or by clicking on the image above!

  • Community Spotlight: Our most recent #HaloSpotlight from snickerdoodle brought even more community creations onto the virtual mainstage on Waypoint. These spotlights do a phenomenal job at showing off top creators while also featuring the work of up-and-coming and casual artists. If you love seeing Halo paintings, montages, cosplays, and more, these Community Spotlights are the place to be!
  • Audio Team Field Recordings: Our Audio Team's most recent #SoundDesignSaturday featured a slingshot launching bullet casings, washers, and other objects. This recording session helped the team gather more whizzing sound effects at slower velocities, which will pair nicely with the field recording with real bullets. If you've ever wanted a slingshot in Halo, be sure to give it a listen!
  • Community Playdates: While we continue working from home, we've started hosting Community Playdates to have more regular touchpoints with all of you. You can find us online every Tuesday at 1pm PT on mixer.com/Halo. Our current schedule has us handing out Ice Unicorn skins and nameplates in MCC and Halo 5 on alternating weeks. Next Tuesday's playdate is shaping up to be on MCC PC, with a focus on Halo 2, but isn't 100% locked in. If you're curious where to find Team 343 during Community Playdates, keep an eye on @Halo on Twitter!

Art

We've been pretty quiet over the past few weeks, which led me to start posting more compact Community Updates on Twitter. After feeling bad about not releasing a piece for a few Twitter updates, I finally pushed to get a piece out there for you all. The concept art I dropped two weeks ago comes from the Halo 5 Warzone map, Battle of Noctus. A battlefield and a beautiful sky, what else could you want from a piece of Halo concept art?

Feel free to save this art by clicking on the links (or the art itself) below!

 And since that Halo 5 art was released two weeks ago, it wouldn't be fair of me to not share another. So, in honor of Halo 2: Anniversary's launch on PC, here's a piece of Halo 2 concept art featuring the Master Chief and a Scarab!

Once again, you can save it for yourself just by clicking on the links (or art) below!

Halo Infinite

You may have seen people talking about this lightly before, but we're extremely excited to confirm that Halo Infinite will be one of many first-party titles included in the Xbox 20/20 event in July. Get ready.

Thanks for joining us for another Community Update, and please continue to stay home and stay safe whenever possible.

Until next time, 

- UNY

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