News

Birthday Bulletins

By -

As you can tell by the author line, I'm back from my family vacation and ready to talk Halo with all of you! ske7ch, snickerdoodle, and Postums were kind enough to tap in for a Community Update while I was out and give you a heavy dose of art. Since I don't want to be outdone, as part of my return I've sourced a new piece of art from our Publishing Team's Art Director, Horia Dociu, to help celebrate Halo 3's twelfth anniversary. 

I don't know about you, but there's something about a cheerful Master Chief and Cortana that just makes me want to smile. It's a great reminder that even our favorite fictional universe, which always seems to be in turmoil, deserves a little time to party.

Now that we've kicked off the festivities, it feels like the right time to dive into the rest of our Halo news!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection


HALO INSIDER - XBOX MULTIPLAYER FLIGHT

We're happy to report that the upcoming Halo: Reach flight for MCC on Xbox One is getting closer and closer to being ready for the big show! Our Publishing Team is following our ring-based process, which you can read about here, and working to get it out there as soon as they can.

What is our goal for the upcoming Xbox One flight and how will we measure them? I'm glad you asked! Postums recently covered it in one of his weekly flighting updates in our Halo Insider forum, but I'll drop it here as well.

Goal: to validate Halo: Reach multiplayer networking through the matchmaking flow and during GAMEPLAY

We plan on putting this to the test by hosting play sessions for multiple playlists and game modes during the flight. Our current plan for the content inside is as follows:

Social Games

  • Halo: Reach
    • 2v2 Matchmaking
      • Maps: Countdown, Powerhouse, and Zealot
      • Game Categories: Slayer
    • 4v4 Matchmaking
      • Maps: Countdown, Powerhouse, Zealot, and Tempest
      • Game Categories: Slayer, Flag and Bomb, Zone Control, Asset Denial, and Action Sack
    • 8v8 Matchmaking
      • Maps: Tempest, Breakpoint, and Ridgeline
      • Game Categories: Slayer, Flag and Bomb, Zone Control, and Asset Denial

Competitive Games

  • Halo: Reach
    • Reach Team Hardcore
      • Maps: Countdown and Zealot
      • Game Variants: Slayer and Capture the Flag
    • Invasion
      • Maps: Breakpoint
      • Game Variants: Invasion

By the way, did I mention that this information came from the weekly updates we're posting about the development of MCC? I feel like I did, but I wanted to make sure you're aware that you can see what's happening inside the studio on a weekly basis. If you'd like to dive all the way in, below are some links to this month's posts that touch on the upcoming multiplayer flight.

To get a closer look at what the upcoming flight truly looks like, be sure to watch our most recent 343 Social Stream! It includes lots of Halo: Reach gameplay on different game types and has discussion around the work going into making sure our builds are ready for public flighting.

Playlist Updates

Our two most recent playlist updates have celebrated the anniversary of Halo 3 with the return of ranked H3 Doubles as well as improved the map and gametype offerings in our social experiences. You can find the full details on both of our recent playlist updates below:

Halo 5: Guardians

With the implementation of our Action Sack refresh and the launch of the brand-new ODST Slayer playlist, September proved to be quite a busy month for Halo 5. As we look forward towards October, I'd say we have another stacked month of fun modes (and Double XP) ahead. We're also going to try a fun experiment by running a Community Vote on the @Halo Twitter next week to determine which playlist will go live on October 3. If it goes smoothly and people enjoy it, we may try to do more Community Votes in the future. That means in October you'll need to prepare your thumbs for voting as well as hunting zombies.

Since you've rightfully come to expect it by now, here's a look at how the next month of Halo 5 playlists should pan out:

October Calendar

  • September 25 (yesterday): H3 Classic Throwback rotates in for Head to Head
  • September 26 (today): Shotty Snipers rotates in for Anniversary Throwback
  • September 26 (today): Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend
  • October 1: Infection receives Double XP for the entire month 
  • October 1: HCS Doubles rotates in for Doubles in Ranked
  • October 3: Community Vote on Twitter rotates in for ODST Slayer
  • October 10: Covenant Slayer rotates in for Shotty Snipers
  • October 17: H2 BR Slayer rotates in for Community Vote
  • October 17: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
  • October 24: Roaming King rotates in for Covenant Slayer
  • October 31: Castle Wars rotates in for H2 BR Slayer
  • October 31:  Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

Project xCloud Preview

Earlier this week, Xbox announced that Project xCloud would be launching a public preview program and that Halo 5: Guardians is included in its content library. They've also already opened registration so that interested and qualified people (like you!) could toss their hat, or phone, in the ring. As with any program, please be sure to read up on the requirements before applying.

  • If you're in the US & UK, you can sign up to register HERE
  • If you're in Korea, you can register HERE

If you don’t receive an invite right away, don't be alarmed. The xCloud Team has promisied that even though they will be starting small, they will continue to open up more spots over time.

I hope you enjoy going hands-on with Halo 5 wherever you may be!

Halo Esports

DreamHack Atlanta | November 15-17

Halo esports will be landing at its second DreamHack event of the year – this time as part of the DreamHack Halo Series! This Halo 3 4v4 tournament will feature a $50,000 prize pool and draw the best players in the world to Atlanta on November 15-17. These players will also be competing in online qualifiers hosted by UGC starting in October so that they can practice and improve their seeding at the live event.

Online Qualifiers

The first online qualifier will take place on October 12, with the three subsequent OQs happening on each Saturday after that. You can register your team for the first qualifier now at aka.ms/UGCHaloDHATL!

  • October 12: Online Qualifier #1
  • October 19: Online Qualifier #2
  • October 26: Online Qualifier #3
  • November 2: Online Qualifier #4

In-Person

DreamHack has outlined how these online qualifiers will contribute directly to your seeding at DreamHack Atlanta in a post on their website right here, so be sure to give it a read if you're thinking about competing. Additionally, you can start securing your team (or spectator) passes for DreamHack online right now by clicking here!

For all other information surrounding this event, follow @DreamHackHalo, @UGCevents, and @HCS on Twitter or head to DreamHack.com/Halo!

Microsoft Store Events

Our monthly Microsoft Store event will take place this Sunday, September 29, with a friendly Halo 5 2v2 tournament. Be sure to bring a friend and encourage local Halo players to swing by because these are usually a fun time to meetup with fellow Halo fans. As a reminder, although these usually start at 1pm local time, please remember to check your MS Store's schedule and register ahead of time on smash.gg/mrshalo!

Halo Gear

Halo: Oblivion

Troy Denning's highly-anticipated sequel to Halo: Silent Storm just landed earlier this week! I have it primed and ready to read on my flight to TwitchCon, but I've been hearing great things from dedicated readers who've already finished perusing their copies. For those of us who haven't started just yet, or are on the fence, the Halo Gear team worked with Simon & Schuster to provide an excerpt from the audiobook so you could get a sample of what to expect!

If you like what you heard or were already interested in securing a copy, you can purchase Halo: Oblivion online right now on aka.ms/HaloOblivion.

Halo: Meridian Divide (Battle born)

Since we know all good things come in twos, another highly-requested sequel is set to release extremely soon in the form of Halo: Meridian Divide (Battle Born: A Halo Young Adult Novel Series #2) by Cassandra Rose Clarke. And of course, by soon I mean it lands in stores this Tuesday, October 1!

I don't want to put the description of the novel here just yet, as it contains some spoilers to the first novel, but I will in the next Community Update. Instead, I'll link out to aka.ms/HaloMeridianDivide where you can read it and pre-order the book today!

I hope you enjoy the read(s)! And since I've heard murmurs of giveaways, I'd suggest keeping an eye on the @HaloGear Twitter account!

  • Community Spotlight: As snickerdoodle said last week, "boasting an assortment of sweet community sourced treats ranging from fantastic fan art to jaw-dropping tattoos, the Halo community never ceases to amaze with their passion and creativity." Check out the latest Community Spotlight to see why that's true!
  • 343 Social Stream: Publshing Producer, Sean "Dersky" Swidersky, joined us on the 343 Social Stream to play MCC's latest Halo: Reach multiplayer fight and talk about the next Halo Insider flight. If you're interested in learning more about where things stood, this is the stream to watch!
  • Canon Fodder: Grim recently released an entire Canon Fodder focusing in on the lore at Halo: Outpost Discovery. In it we released some VODs of our lore-focused panels, showed off some renders that were used in the Ring Experience, and provided an additional level of detail and clarity for those who are curious in diving a bit deeper.
  • Audio Team Field Recordings: We've mentioned this before, but the Audio Team here loves what they do and they love sharing it with you even more. In our most recent field recording video on the @Halo Instagram account, they record a custom V6 buggy to get some great vehicles sounds. Give it a look, but most importantly, give it a listen!
  • Reddit Halo 300,000: Our last note would be to congratulate the Halo subreddit for growing their community to over 300,000 Spartans. We know that they're just getting started.

Art

Halo 3 celebrated it's twelfth anniversary yesterday, and to celebrate a legendary game I wanted to release some truly legendary art. For this art drop we've gotten approval to release a 4K version of the poster, created by Ashley Wood, that came with Halo 3's Legendary Edition back in 2007. Be sure to click on the links (or art) below to get the high-resolution versions that you want!

That'll do it for this week, but I appreciate you joining me for another Community Update. If you happen to see me at TwitchCon this weekend in San Diego, be sure to say hi!

Until next time,

- UNY

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