News

Building Blasters

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We're more than halfway through February, and as hard as that is to believe, it's only good news for a Halo player like me. The more the clock ticks away from the first half of 2020, the closer we are to the next MCC PC launch as well as the release of Halo Infinite. Until those clocks tick all the way around though, I'll do my best to provide you with updates and information as it becomes available. That said, let's dive right into the latest edition of the Community Update!

Building a Spartan

343 Industries teamed up with EVAkura Armor to create Master Chief’s suit from Halo 5: Guardians in exquisite detail. Over many months, the teams crafted a realistic set of the legendary Spartan's MJOLNIR armor which would be used at Halo events like Xbox's E3 FanFest event (I got a picture with Chief there), and more. In the video below, we go behind-the-scenes to see the level of skill and attention to detail required to bring Master Chief to life.

You can always see more incredible Halo armor builds from EVAkura Armor by following them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

Halo Esports

Halo Infinite Esports

Yesterday we announced that as part of our ambitious esports plan for Halo Infinite, which includes having a 12-month roadmap available at launch, we've partnered with the industry veterans at Esports Engine. This experienced team, which is made up of long-time Halo fans and founders of MLG, will serve as our Global Management Partner for the Halo Infinite esport program. In the words of our Lead Esports Producer, Tashi: "Esports Engine have been integrated with the HCS team here at 343 Industries as we've been building out the program. Whether it’s ecosystem design, format and league operations, broadcasts, and more, the Esports Engine team are equipped to help us fully realize our vision for Halo Infinite esports." Esports Engine's CEO, Adam Apicella, joined Tashi in person to chat about the program's vision, how the we will work together, and how much fun we're going to have at Halo Infinite tournaments.

We're excited, they're excited, and you should be excited too. To read the full written announcement by Tashi, simply click right here!

DREAMHACK ANAHEIM | FEBRUARY 21-23

Tomorrow the DreamHack Halo Series kicks off in Anaheim and will feature the first tournament for Halo on PC! On top of the $50,000 Halo: Reach 4v4 tournament, the DreamHack crew will also be organizing a $5,000 FFA competition for the lone wolves among the crowd. If you haven't already planned your trip to Orange County yet it might be a tight squeeze, but you can always tune in online and show your support for Halo esports from home.

EVENT DETAILS

For those of you attending the event, you should be able to find all the information needed below in this list:

For those of you watching from afar, you can catch the event broadcast on mixer.com/DreamHackHalo & twitch.tv/DreamHackHalo each day at the following times:

  • Friday: 2pm PT / 5pm ET
  • Saturday: 12pm PT / 3pm ET
  • Championship Sunday: 10am PT / 1pm PT

And if you'd like to make sure you're getting additional updates about the tournament, whether you're at the event or at home, I'd also highly recommend following @DreamHackHalo and @HCS on Twitter.

Speedrunning Tournament

The DreamHack staff have also added a $2,000 competition for Halo: Reach campaign speedruns on select campaign missions. Friday's Top 24 runners and Saturday's Top 24 runners will be face off on Sunday for the grand prize. To help add to the excitement on site legendary Halo speedrunner, ProAceJoker, and Grifball extraordinaire, DJBluePDX, will be there to call the action for this community-focused event!

Microsoft Store Halo

The next Microsoft Store Halo event will be taking place in just over a month on Sunday, March 29! In addition to competing for Xbox Game Pass prizes, all players who participate in their local tournament will also receive the new "Make it a Venti" nameplate in MCC which is exclusive to MS Store event attendees. That means grab a friend, compete in this Halo: Reach Doubles tournament, and get rewarded no matter what.

You're probably all used to me saying it by now, but always be sure to double-check your store's specific event information and register ahead of time on smash.gg/mrshalo!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo Insider Flight

Our Halo: CE Anniversary PC flight went out to approximately 100K registered Halo Insiders last week to gather feedback on our Microsoft Store and Steam builds. As a reminder, here's a list of some of the content that we're hoping to test out and get feedback on during this flight:

Halo: Reach Updates / New Features:

  • Message of the Day added
  • Datacenter pings are now visible
  • Push-to-talk voice chat and Push-to-talk key binding
  • New crouch-while-moving behavior for mouse+keyboard

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

  • Includes support for several missions of Single Player and Co-Op Campaign
  • Multiplayer (Matchmaking and Custom Games)
  • New Customization (3D model viewer)

Like ske7ch mentioned last week, we're excited to have this flighting build in the hands of the community so that the team can gather more feedback and data, both of which push us closer towards the next update and release. In fact, since this current flight has been so insightful, the team is looking to push out a mid-flight update today and invite a small portion of additional Halo Insiders to join.

Halo Insider & Halo Support

Since there are two instances of MCC being played right now, both the active retail version and our Halo Insider flight, we've had to create a Halo Insider-specific version of the Halo Support site. This allows us – and hopefully you – to better differentiate between different versions of the game and reduce the number of incorrectly reported tickets.

And last, but certainly not least, please be sure to read the Known Issues provided in your invitation emails and listed on the Insider Support site. While we love your eagerness to report problems when you find them, you can save yourself some time (and get more game time in) by checking to see if we're already tracking that particular issue. If it's not mentioned on that list, feel free to file away!

Events & Playlist Updates

February has brought with it the launch of three events and three playlist updates to MCC. Two of our events, the Valentine's Day and Winter Contigency events, concluded earlier this week while our celebration of Black History Month will continue throughout the rest of February. As Winter Contingency came to a close on Wednesday, it made room for a new rotational playlist in the form of the beloved Shotty Snipers. Now you'll be able to sport a Shotgun and Sniper Rifle in FFA & 4v4 social matchmaking for Halo: Reach, Halo 2, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4.

To read further into the details of MCC's recent playlist updates, use the links below!

Halo 5: Guardians

After meeting with the Halo 5 Sustain Team earlier this week, they've told me that they're confident in Halo 5's schedule through all of March – which now includes the return of Mythic Arena. They're extremely excited for this fan-favorite mode to come back at the start of the Spring 2020 Arena Season on March 5. As part of that new season, we'll also be introducing a few updates to how players rank up and down in ranked playlists. You can dive into the details of these updates by reading Josh Menke's latest forum post here on Waypoint.

To see what else is in store for Halo 5, look no further than the calendar below!

February-MArch Calendar

  • February: Double XP in Doubles all month
  • February: Mythic Rumble replaces default Free-For-All in February
  • 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: Mythic Arena rotates into Ranked for March
  • March 5: H2 BR Slayer rotates in for Action Sack
  • March 12: Castle Wars rotates in for H2 BR Slayer
  • March 12: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
  • March 19: Triple Team rotates in for Castle Wars
  • March 26: Core Play rotates in for Triple Team
  • March 26: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

Community Slayer

Last week, Community Slayer returned and introduced four fantastic community-made maps into matchmaking. Although the playlist has now rotated out to make way for Grifball, you can expect to see those maps making their way into other playlists in the coming weeks. If you didn't get a chance to play, here are the four maps that made their debut!

fever Pitch by Sikamikanico

Fullmetal by Xdemption

Hourglass by Sn1p3r C

Transit by INeedMoreBleach

Warzone Firefight

As the team is continues to monitor playlist health, we'll eventually be looking to reduce the number of Warzone offerings that are up at any specific time. The current plan to help alleviate the bifurcation of players is to eventually consolidate our Warzone Firefight playlists. While there are differences between Heroic Warzone Firefight, Legendary Warzone Firefight, and Mythic Warzone Firefight, we've noticed that Legendary WZFF players will jump over to Mythic WZFF during the weekends. Due to this split offering, we see Legendary WZFF activity fall during the weekend while Heroic WZFF remains steady. As a result, we've decided to "combine" Legendary & Heroic WZFF into one Warzone Firefight playlist and leave Mythic WZFF up permanently – bringing our three playlists to two.

The reason "combine" is in quotes is because the playlist will exclusively feature Heroic difficulty, but the XP Rewards will now match those of Legendary WZFF. Fear not though, Mythic WZFF will continue to provide it's higher XP payouts due to its extreme difficulty. By doing this we believe that the population will no longer be split between Legendary & Mythic WZFF, and the two existing playlists will remain healthy for quite some time. The timing for this change has not been locked in yet, but will probably happen within the next few weeks.

Halo Gear

Leading up to New York Toy Fair this weekend, the Halo Gear team made a splash by announcing that we'll be partnering up with Nerf to bring Halo Infinite blasters to the hands of Spartans, young and old alike.

As part of the announcement, we showed off three of the new blasters – a MA40 Assault Rifle (pictured above) along with the SPNKr & Needler, which will both be a part of their adorable-yet-powerful Microshot line. Even though the announcement is out there now, I've been told to keep an eye on Nerf's Instagram stories this weekend for closer looks at some of these blasters.

In addition to Nerf, two more of our partners (Mega Construx & Wicked Cool Toys) will also be attending NY Toy Fair. If you're a collector connoisseur or gatherer of gear, it may be worth paying attention to @HaloGear this weekend!

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  • Community Spotlight: Last week snickerdoodle's Community Spotlight landed on a day loaded with impassioned Halo creations – Valentine's Day. Featuring Halo-themed weddings, heart-filled Forge art, and more, it's certainly our most romantic #HaloSpotlight to date!
  • Audio Team Field Recordings: In our most recent #SoundDesignSaturday, the Audio Team recorded our Principal Software Engineering Lead while he fired small arms to gather additional combat sounds for Halo Infinite. It's definitely loud, but that just means it's good. Give it a listen!
  • 343 Social Stream: Our newly hired Esports Broadcast Producer, Matt Kline, joined snickerdoodle on our weekly stream to talk about his journey through the esports industry and played some CE in the ongoing MCC PC flight. If you've ever been interested in how esports shows comes together, be sure to check it out and give him a follow!

Art

As we march closer and closer towards to the launch of Halo: CE Anniversary on PC, I wanted to release a piece of CEA concept art that I've been holding on to for a while now. Based on the campaign mission The Truth and Reconciliation, which I've always associated with sneaking around and more subtle colors, this piece goes wild with vibrant colors and tons of action. From powered-up Covenant troop carriers to fiery explosions in the background, the energy in this shot immediately grabbed my attention and captivated me. It reminded me that despite the dire situations we encounter in the Halo universe, it is always filled with spectacularly beautiful environments.

If you like this piece as much as I do, feel free to save it off by clicking on the links (or the art itself) below!

As always, thank you for joining me for another Community Update!

Until next time,

- UNY

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