News

Casting Call

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From announcing the actor that will play Master Chief in the upcoming Showtime Halo series to launching a ranked Super Fiesta mode in Halo 5, it's been an exciting and interesting week here at the studio. On top of the typical work week of meetings, emails, and announcements, I've also had to start mentally preparing to play on our studio's softball team which saw quite a few casualties last year. While I do play indoor soccer with the studio, I've been itching to take a few swings, run the bases, and risk it all.

Anyways, enough about the sporting activities, let's start jamming on all the Halo news that's come out in the past two weeks!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Flighting

In case you didn't see ske7ch's mini update on our forums yesterday, he wrote about where the game currently stands and provided an update on the status of MCC on PC. While we are still working towards getting a flight out before the end of the month, we have hit a few bumps along the way. Rest assured the teams here at 343, Splash Damage, and Ruffian are working hard to push through these bumps and start getting flights into your hands.

I implore you to read the full post as it really gives you a closer look at the details we're working to iron out before we can send a build to the public. I'll link it one more time here at the end too just so you don't miss it.

Playlist Update

After receiving community feedback on our Free-For-All experiences, we published a playlist update today that introduced Rumble Pit, and many customizable Match Composer options, to Social Games. To get in on this new set of game options, jump into matches by selecting the Rumble Pit game preset or by selecting the 8p FFA game size.

Social Games

  • This new Rumble Pit offering contains 56 maps across all games and will include a variety of game types.
  • Slayer: Includes standard Slayer, AR starts, Infinity variants, and higher weighted BR starts
  • Zone Control: Includes Crazy King variants across all titles
  • Asset Denial: Includes Oddball, Reign in CE, Juggernaut in H3, and Regicide in H4
  • Action Sack: Includes Fiesta, Swords, Rockets, Shotguns, Slayer Duals and Rally in H2A, Race in H3, and Ninja Assassins in H4
  • Skill based matchmaking has been enabled for Social Games

Our skill-based matchmaking system will sort potential players by skill and help form a match with the ones closest to you. We’ve ensured that this does not force matches to be made within any explicit range, extend matchmaking times, or make matches harder to find. It will simply do a check to find more balanced matches and create a better online experience.

Ranked Games

  • Halo 3 Lone Wolves content has moved to Rumble Pit and is being retired

Looking Ahead

With Rumble Pit rotating in, Multi Team will be rotating out next week. If you love Multi Team and are sad to see it go, know that it won’t be forever. We will evaluate reintroducting the playlist in the future and it will be better than ever when it eventually rotates back in.

The Yappening

The Yappening is coming to a close next week, which means you'll only have a few more days to unlock the latest nameplates. Be sure to complete all your unlock criteria by next Wednesday, April 24, at 10am PT!

Nameplate: Yapyap THE DESTROYER

 

Participate in Yapyap’s Grunt Rebellion to unlock.

Unlock Criteria: Complete seven Social matches using the Game Category “The Yappening” in Game Size 4v4 and/or 8v8

Nameplate: Shut Your Yap

 

Revolt against Yapyap’s Grunt Rebellion to unlock.

Unlock Criteria: Headshot 250 Grunts on Heroic or higher in Campaign and/or Spartan Ops

Halo 5: Guardians

Hardcore Super Fiesta

You might not have seen this suprise party coming, but it's definitely happening and everyone's invited. We took Halo 5's competitive Team Arena settings, introduced Super Fiesta weapons, and let the resulting hybrid loose as a ranked playlist. It's an absolute blast and you should give it a try the next time you hop online.

As much as we'd like to keep it around, the party will eventually have come to an end – so be sure to knock out your placement matches as soon as you can!

april Schedule

  • April 16: Hardcore Super Fiesta joins the Ranked lineup
  • April 18: Shotty Snipers rotates in for Action Sack
  • April 25: Covenant Slayer rotates in for Grifball
  • April 25: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

Big Team Battle Refresh

Here's a tease of a secret new map that might just make its way into our Big Team Battle Refresh!

Halo Championship Series

DreamHack Dallas

As we edge closer towards May, I figured it's worth reminding you that the next competitive Halo event is coming up fast!

  • Who: Fellow Halo fans, your family, your friends, and Tashi
  • What: Halo 3 4v4 Tournament on MCC
  • When: May 31 - June 2
  • Where: Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas, TX
  • Why: We couldn't wait to see more Halo esports

This HCS Grassroots event will be operated by the wonderful crew at DreamHack who helped us put on our final Halo 5 event in Atlanta last fall. We're already expecting a great turnout, but it'd be even better if you joined us. Here's some links that may help you plan your travel!

Big Team Battle 2: Electric Boogaloo

HCS Grassroots content creators are assembling like Avengers for an online Big Team Battle playdate with the community. To keep the marvelous metaphor going, the HCS Team is acting like S.H.I.E.L.D. agents trying to coordinate these players, their super powers, and their super schedules. The date and time have yet to be locked, but when it happens, everyone's going to love it.

Keep your eyes on the @HCS Twitter account to see when the big battle is going to take place.

Microsoft Store Tournaments

We've got two more Halo 3 2v2 tournaments at Microsoft Stores on the calendar! Our most immediate one is next Sunday, April 28, while the other will take place around mid-May on the 19th. Determined to keep our streak alive, Tashi and I will be calling the action for these next two cross-store showdowns each Sunday from Mixer's Studio One.

Head on over to aka.ms/MCCHalo to find your nearerst store and register online for free!

Halo Wars 2

The balance update mentioned in my last Community Update made its way to Halo Wars 2 earlier this morning! Although I'd typically touch on some of the high-level changes, Postums has already provided a full breakdown of the changes here on the Halo Wars 2 Forum.

There are quite a few tweaks, so give it a read and ensure that you're ready to go when you jump into the game!

Halo: Outpost Discovery

This past week I've stumbled upon two very cool bits of information from the Halo: Outpost Discovery team. The first piece was an email that had some work-in-progress photographs of the Hall of History exhibit which are looking great. And the second bit, which many of you probably saw earlier today, is that Steve Downes, the voice of Master Chief, and Jen Taylor, the voice of Cortana, will be joining us at all five locations this summer!

Since we're already seeing plenty of questions being asked about the specifics of their presence, we'll try to address a few of the common ones right here and now: 

  • There will be hour-long fan meet and greets with them on each day (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
  • They'll be joining us for a panel on the Saturday of each event
  • You do not need to be a VIP Ticket holder to meet them or attend the panel

It has been a while since I last shared the entire schedule and this seems like a good time to do it. If you want to attend Halo: Outpost Discovery and meet Jen and Steve in-person, here's where you'll need to be:

We hope to see you at one of these cities!

Halo: Meridian Divide

After finishing Halo: Battle Born at the start of the year, I became curious what would become of the main characters in the Halo universe. Luckily, I've got a friend on the inside and we've been given the greenlight to talk about their next adventure. Take it over from here, Grim!

Thanks Uny! And yes, as plenty of folks might already assume, if I’m suddenly reappearing in one of these Updates, it’s likely in order to be the harbinger of some canon-concerning content. Today is no different. Not long ago, fans got their first glimpse of Halo: Meridian Divide, the sequel to Cassandra Rose Clarke’s popular YA-genre novel Halo: Battle Born. If you missed the book’s description the first time around, let’s catch you up (warning, potential spoilers for Battle Born contained within).

It's been three months since the colony world of Meridian was invaded by the alien alliance known as the Covenant. Under the close watch of the military, Evie, Dorian, Saskia, and Victor have been put into an accelerated training program with ONI, the Office of Naval Intelligence. And to the teens' surprise, ONI has a mission for them: Return to their hometown on Meridian and monitor the Covenant's efforts to retrieve an ancient Forerunner artifact of untold power.

But what seems like a simple job quickly spirals out of their control. With the artifact at risk of falling into Covenant hands, the stakes are raised, and ONI tasks the teens and their team of militia fighters with extracting the artifact for study. After a series of missteps with command costs the militia more than half their fighting forces, the teens take matters into their own hands. Their journey will take them far behind enemy lines, into the heart of the war zones on Meridian.

Today, we’re excited to reveal Meridian Divide’s cover, once again created by Antonio Javier Caparo. If you haven’t preordered your copy yet, you can do so HERE – it’s slated for release on October 1 later this year, plenty of time to catch up on the first book if you need to do so. And with that, I return back to my desk to finish up my pass on [REDACTED] before they realize I’ve escaped out from behind the museum walls.

Much love,

Grim

  • Community Spotlight: Last week snickerdoodle found even more community creations, including this red dead mashup on the right, and built another fantastic spotlight. Click here to check it out!
  • 343 Social Stream: We featured community member and Mixer partner, Moto during our normal time slot this week. She played Super Fiesta in Halo 5 and helped us hand out an avalanche of Ice Unicorn items.You can watch the rebroadcast right here!

Halo showtime Series

Yesterday we announced the talent who will be playing the Master Chief in the upcoming Halo television series with Showtime – Pablo Shcreiber. Pablo is an Emmy and Tony nominated actor that many of you may recognize from American Gods and Orange Is the New Black. We couldn't be more excited to have him on board!

In addition to finding our Chief, we've also enlisted the help of Yerin Ha, who will play a new character named, Quan Ah. This audacious 16-year-old from the Outer Colonies meets Master Chief at a fateful time for them both.

I can't wait to see more Halo live-action goodness!

Halo Infinite

The Pro Team here at 343 has seen steady growth since the start of the year, which has luckily given me talking points for Halo Infinite in my Community Updates. This time, we'll be introducing three new members!

Vartan "Killer v" Karakashyan

Vartan, one of the first members of the Halo 5 Pro Team, has returned to 343 to work on Halo Infinite. His skills in every Halo title, combined with his learnings and experiences from his first foray, will surely help the entire team succeed. We're happy to have you back, V!

HUNTER "Babyj" SCHLINE

After winning the Free-For-All in the Novo Theater at the HCS Pro League Summer 2016 Finals, Hunter began to break into the scene and found himself playing on top Halo teams. After succeeding there, he began transitioning towards a professional career in Counter Strike: Global Offensive. His ability to excel with mouse and keyboard has already proven to be valuable, and will be extremely helpful as we bring MCC and Halo Infinite to PC. Welcome aboard, Hunter!

Greg "Gregor" Haas

Closing out our Pro Team hires for this Community Update is Greg Haas! Greg is a former Halo 3 Pro that you might remember from teams like High Society and Darkest Hour. In fact, he and Clutch (Pro Team Lead) teamed with each other for their first MLG event back in 2006 and now work together thirteen years later. Gregor's playstyle revolves around taking advantage of power weapons and locking down power positions, which I'm sure is going to make him a challenge to go up against during playtests. Another interesting note about Greg is that he joined the MCC Insider program last year to help us flight MCC, and quickly emerged as a valuable member due to his ability to provide quality feedback. His communication skills coupled with his in-game talent will allow him to help make Halo Infinite as good as it can be.

Be sure the send your congratulations to all three of them!

Art

Gabriel Garza's concept art of the Master Chief's upgrade in Halo 4 stands out to me for two big reasons: the pain and the armor. His work really highlights the intensity of Chief's experience, which has got to be a pretty unique challenge and I think he knocks it out of the park. Then while examing the armor, we get a glimpse at what a different set of MJOLNIR could look like thanks to Gabriel's imagination. Because the armor and the agony paired so well together in this piece, I knew it needed to be shared with all of you. 

Thanks for joining me for another Community Update!

Until next time,

- Uny

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