News

Bright Beginnings

By -

Welcome to the first Community Update of 2020 and the year of Halo Infinite! The entire studio came back from the holidays energized and ready to crush anything that dare stand in our way. I'm not sure if it's just me, but every day feels like the day of my soccer/baseball matches when I was growing up. You wake up knowing that you're going to give it your best – not because you have to, but because you want to – and it's truly invigorating.

If you can't tell, I'm excited for the road ahead of all of us this year. Before we jump into this Community Update though, I did want to make sure you read my final Communty Update of last year, which wrapped up 2019 nicely with plenty of art, reveals, and news. Alright, it's showtime. Let's take a look at how the Halo franchise is starting the year!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo Insider

Since I haven't reminded you to do so all year, please make sure you've registered for the Halo Insider program (or ensured your profile is up to date) if you're interested in participating in future MCC flights. While I can't personally guarantee that you'll get access to the flights you want, I do know that you'll need to be a Halo Insider to even be considered. Additionaly, including the information listed below on your profile will also increase your chances of being selected. For example, we can't invite you to a flight if you haven't opted-in to receive emails from us.

  • Register on HaloInsider.com
  • Verify the email address you've provided for communication
  • Opt-in to receive communications from us
  • Opt-in to PC flights
  • Link your Steam account
  • Upload/update your DxDiag

To follow our progress and preparation for flights, keep an eye on our dedicated Flighting Update thread.

Future Updates & FLIGHTS

This section is going to be pulled heavily from Postum's latest post in the Flighting Update thread mentioned above. You really should keep an eye on that thread. It's filled with weekly updates on the nitty-gritty details.

Game update

At 343 Industries, we value the inclusion of anyone who wants to participate and play the games we love building. With this value being a pillar of Xbox and Xbox Game Studios, the core of our next update includes improvements to MCC focused primarily on improving its accessibility. These changes may not be something that directly impact you as you may not use these features, but for those who want to enjoy the worlds of Halo, many for the first time, these are ones that will change their world. 343 is helping to lead the charge in these efforts and we hope our fans support us in making Halo more accessible.

We are continuing to make improvements to other areas of MCC and are making strong headway on several Known Issues across MCC (PC & Xbox). Some of these will changes are ones we will be flighting in our next PC flights while others have a slightly longer lead time and we will be able to speak to a little later in the blog. We know players are very eager to get some updates and improvements to key areas – and we are too – but a lot of these areas are fairly complex and just take time to work through.

MCC PC Flighting

At a high-level, our flighting goals are to verify future Halo: Reach updates and to bring us closer to Halo: CE Anniversary's launch on PC. Beneath those top-level goals are smaller objectives that need to be tackled to ensure the game has a solid foundation.

One of those more focused goals is to ensure the Intelligent Install feature works on PC at scale. This feature allows you to choose which titles, and even which parts of each title (Campaign/Mulltiplayer), you want to install on your machine so that you can manage the game's filesize based on personal preferences. Since MCC PC launched with one title, we want to make sure that we're not underestimating the challenges that present themselves when adding another game inside our game. We plan to flight this feature to ensure it is working as intended for both Halo: Reach and Halo: CEA.

Another targeted goal is to test a new crouch behavior in Halo: Reach. Before we change a movement mechanic like this out in the wild however, we want to get the thoughts from Halo Insiders on its feel, implementation, and effectiveness. We know players are really looking forward to getting their hands on this one, but we need to make sure it's accomplishing all the goals we want it to.

Again, with something like Halo: CEA's launch being the guide, each element inside of the game would considered a focused objective of flighting. As CEA flighting rolls out, we'll be monitoring it closely to validate the focused objectives such as dedicated servers, peer-to-peer connections, crossplay between Steam and Windows, etc. By making sure each of those aspects is looked at thoroughly and deliberately, we can all feel increasingly confident as we continue the journey to launch together.

Playlist Updates

After launching Halo: Reach, we've also kept a close eye on your feedback regarding its offerings in matchmaking. Our two most recent updates addressed a handful of hot topics including adding a ranked Halo: Reach Team Slayer playlist with DMR starts, which allowed us to increase the weighting of AR starts in social, and the removal of Team Slayer on Penance in the Halo: Reach Team Hardcore playlist.

To read further into the details of these weekly playlist updates, use the links below!

Halo 5: Guardians

Now that the Halo 5 Sustain Team has had a chance to get settled back in at the studio, they've been able to outline a plan that should last until early March. Though before diving into those details, I wanted to make sure you saw my post on the Waypoint Forums about the changes that have already been made to Halo 5's offerings. To summarize, we've combined the Super Fiesta and Husky Raid playlists into one Super Fiesta Party playlist, moved to a single rotational slot in social, and will be rotating that social slot on a weekly basis.

Upcoming Calendar

  • January 23: Rock 'n' Rail rotates in for Shotty Snipers
  • January 30: CE Anniversary Throwback rotates in for Rock 'N' Rail
  • January 30: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend
  • February 3: Double XP in Doubles all month
  • February 6: Mythic Rumble replaces default Free-For-All in February
  • February 6: Roaming King rotates in for CE Anniversary Throwback
  • February 13Community Slayer rotates in for Roaming King
  • February 13: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
  • February 20: Grifball rotates in for Community Slayer
  • February 27: Action Sack rotates in for Grifball
  • February 27: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend
  • March 5: Spring 2020 Arena Season begins
  • March 5: Halo 3 Classic Throwback rotates into Ranked for March

As we look to evolve our support of Halo 5 this year, the team will also need to continue investigating ways to consolidate playlists. In February, this means we'll be converting the existing Free-For-All playlist slot into our Ranked rotational slot, which will start by featuring Mythic Rumble. After the positive reception of Mythic Arena, we're hoping that this new 5-player FFA variant will be able to scratch that itch while also providing a fun and new competitive experience for you to sink your teeth into.

Halo Esports

DreamHack Anaheim | February 21-23

The first tournament for Halo on PC is happening one month from now at DreamHack Anaheim! This $50,000 Halo: Reach 4v4 tournament and $5,000 FFA competition will feature familiar Halo pros as well as new talent looking to prove themselves with the mouse and keyboard. As part of the lead-up to this event UGC will be hosting weekly Online Qualifiers, which will help give teams their seeding for the in-person tournament. While TOX Gaming claimed victory the last weekend, there will still be qualifiers happening over the next three weeks.

If you plan on competing at Anaheim, I highly suggest registering your team for the future Online Qualifiers on aka.ms/DHQualifiers.

Event Details

Below you can find more information on specifics as well as links out to where you'll be able to get more rapid updates about the event. I used a format similar to this last year to highlight details about DreamHack Atlanta, and since I felt it outlined everything pretty clearly, I've decided to reuse it – hopefully it serves you well again!

For more timely updates about this tournament and Halo esports happenings, I'd recommend keeping an eye on these accounts and webpages:

Halo Throwback Throwdown

Our Fridays have gotten busy recently with the launch of our Halo Throwback Throwdown tournaments. Last week we saw popular Halo pros and streamers go head-to-head in modes pulled from the Action Sack playlist. In this week's event, teams will be challenging each other in a Grab Bag of fun, yet competitive, modes.

The action will kick off tomorrow at 3pm PT on your favorite content creator's channel. To find others playing in the competition, check to see who's streaming at aka.ms/TwitchHaloaka.ms/MixerHalo, and aka.ms/YouTubeHalo!

Microsoft Store Events

Grab three of your friends and head to your local Microsoft Store this Sunday – full team events are returning with this weekend's Halo: Reach 4v4 tournament! And, although we're probably not nearly as interesting as the gameplay itself, Clutch, Tashi, and I will also be returning to provide coverage of the final matches from Mixer's Studio One starting at 1pm PT on mixer.com/Halo.

To learn more about these events, find your nearest store, and register for free, head to smash.gg/mrshalo!

Art

After looking back at some of the art I've released during 2019, I noticed that I could do a better job at rotating between different Halo titles. So, to make sure I was mixing things up a bit, I wanted to release some Halo 5 promotional art. In this piece the way the team managed to blend Chief and Locke's helmets together, using different camera angles, works out extremely well – especially in the horizontal version. It's one of my favorite pieces of art from Halo 5, so I hope you enjoy it too!

Click on the images or blue text below to save off the 4K versions!

Horizontal

Vertical

Thank you for joining me for the first Community Update of 2020 – we're in for one heck of year!

Until next time,

- UNY

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