News

Happy Halodays

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Season's Greetings and Happy Halodays! Another action-packed year is in the books and we're looking forward to 2020. Before diving head-first into more work though, we're going to spend a little time relaxing with our loved ones, and of course, playing some Halo – especially now that Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo 5 will both feature Double XP rewards for the rest of the year.

If you'd like to save this festive artwork made by our Publishing Team's Art Director, Horia Dociu, so that you can share it with your friends and family, here are some links you might be interested in!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Since the last time we spoke, Noble Team has joined Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One and PC. By putting these Spartans' boots on a solid PC foundation, we've officially kicked off our journey to bring the rest of the collection to Microsoft Store & Steam users throughout 2020. Even though this has been a long time in the making for us at the studio, we couldn't have done it without the help of Halo Insiders that participated in our flights this year.

For the holidays, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be paying out Double XP across all playlists and also be giving players a chance to unwrap the Ugly Sweater nameplate. If you want to qualify for this beloved nameplate, complete one of the steps below before January 6, 2020:

  • Complete (without quitting) 10 matchmaking (Multiplayer and/or Firefight) matches on snowy maps
  • Beat the par score on any two snowy campaign missions

To celebrate the launch of Halo: Reach on MCC and give a little gift back to the community, Horia built this special Noble Team wallpaper, which you can now see in-game as our new splash screen. Enjoy!

Click on the wallpaper above or on this link to get the 4K version!

state of the game

As with any Halo game, the launch is just the first step in a much larger journey. At the moment, our Publishing Team is hard at work investigating the common pieces of feedback we've received over the past two weeks. Our Senior Program Manager on MCC, Farn, has written up a blog of his own, which should be dropping tomorrow, to help shed some light on where we're at in the development process with many of these hot ticket items. Here's a small glimpse into what you can expect tomorrow!

  • Audio Issues: Work on this is in progress, our goal is to get this out ASAP.
  • Stuttering: This has been a hard one to lock down and we are still investigating. In the reports we’ve seen this can vary based on hardware specs, third-party software and potential networking issues on the players end. While we don't have a fix ETA currently, we are actively investigating this. In the meantime, please try disabling any third-party applications that are running in the background and see if it offers any improvement. 
  • Screen Tearing/VSync: There have been some bugs fixes around this that will be in one of our upcoming patches and we will continue to address issues as they pop up.
  • Key Bindings: Work is in progress to support rebinding both text chat and push to talk.
  • Mouse Input: We have seen a small percentage of players reporting this as an issue, please continue to submit support tickets if you are experience input delay problems. This is an area of the game that we will continue to monitor and improve upon where we can.

    The patch we released this week does address an issue that should improve the input performance and experience for M+KB players. We’re eager to hear the community’s feedback, please let us know how this change feels for you.

  • View Model: We are currently working on allowing players to make changes along the X & Y axis. An initial implementation is in test and design review with our team.
  • Crouch While Moving: We are currently testing a solution for this and will release it once we have sorted out any bugs and design issues. For now, this mechanic remains consistent with the original Xbox 360 implementation.

And a little bit further in the blog Farn will touch on how things are looking for the future Halo titles coming to PC, including Halo: CE.

We are currently in a pre-alpha phase and have been making good progress against many of the same features you see in Reach today. To list a few that are in progress and/or being tested:

  • M&K Support
  • FOV Support
  • Aspect Ratio Support
  • Customization: We are already integrating a 3D model with live color adjustments for HCE and are investigating what more can be done.
  • HUD Upres
  • VFR Support
  • Input Latency Reduction
  • PC Optimizations

If work continues its trajectory, we are looking good to start flights in January.

Again, this was just a tiny preview of what should be dropping tomorrow, so please keep an eye out for it here on Waypoint.

Recent updates

Yesterday we released a small update to Halo: The Master Chief Collection on both platforms which was in development prior to launch. As we'll talk about in tomorrow's larger MCC blog post, even though we're aware of many other post-launch community requests, most are still under investigation. To learn more about yesterday's update, please read the patch notes for PC and Xbox One!

Improvements to narration across the front-end interface for Xbox.
One of our top priorities is ensuring that Halo: Reach is accessible to as many players as possible. Yesterday's patch includes a few updates to further improve accessibility for the title.

Addressed a mechanic for mouse + keyboard players which improves precision of aiming when taking damage.
As part of our ongoing work to assess player feedback across controller and M+KB inputs, the team discovered a legacy mechanic from the original game that was contributing to negative sentiment regarding the feel and responsiveness of playing on M+KB. We have adjusted this mechanic and are interested in what the community thinks of this change. The team will continue to monitor player feedback around controller/M+KB input.

Additional small fixes:

  • Fixed an issue which prevented the sound effect for unlocking a season tier from playing.
  • A stat error has been fixed that was causing multiplayer kills in Halo: Reach to increase the deaths in your service record.
  • A new Halo: Reach themed splash screen has been added to celebrate the inclusion of Reach, our sixth title into Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
  • Resolved an issue that could cause players to be kicked from a matchmade game when an intermittent loss of Xbox Live connectivity occurred.
  • Fixed an exploit where season items which were manually made available while Easy anti-cheat (EAC) was disabled and were able to equip them after launching on an EAC enabled exe.

This patch was also paired with a Playlist Update which made numerous community-requested changes to map and mode offerings in Social Matchmaking and fine-tuned the map weighting in some of the Halo: Reach Team Hardcore playlist. The patch notes for Xbox One & PC should include the nitty-gritty details if you're curious!

Halo Support

Our new Halo Support site (support.halowaypoint.com) and Twitter account (@HaloSupport) also launched earlier this month to assist players with any problems they may encounter with actively supported Halo titles. Our extensive library of Knowledge-Based Articles (KBAs) and known issues lists will help players find answers to their questions and provide solutions whenever possible. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, you should always feel free to submit a ticket on the site and our Support Site Monitors will assist you as soon as they can.

We're excited to have this new initiative off the ground and we hope you all take advantage of it!

Halo 5: Guardians

Throughout the rest of December and a little into January, Halo 5 will be offering Double XP across the entire game and another chance to earn the elusive Spartan Claus and Candy Cane emblems. If you are pursuing that SR 152 or just want some sweet in-game gear, hop on and get some games in during the break!

Holiday Calendar

  • December 19: Holiday Fiesta replaces Super Fiesta through the holidays
  • December 19: Castle Wars replaces Core Play through the holidays
  • December 19: Mythic WZFF goes live until Jan 6
  • December 19: Warzone Turbo goes live until Jan 6
  • December 19: Global Double XP goes live until Jan 9
  • January 9: Head to Head replaces Mythic Arena in Ranked
  • January 9: Super Fiesta replaces Holiday Fiesta

As mentioned in a Community Update back in October, we'll be looking to reduce the amount of playlists in 2020 to ensure a quality matchmaking experience across the entire game. This reduction will begin when we come back from the holiday break and get to examine current player trends. Over the past four years we've continuously added playlists to the point where we now have eighteen unique playlists (sometimes even more). This upcoming year we'll reel things in a bit to maintain good connections, search times, and match fairness.

Throughout 2020, we'll work to ensure Halo 5 maintains its high-quality bar for online play, has diverse and engaging playlist offerings rotating in, and is ultimately set up to succeed on its own when Halo Infinite launches next holiday season.

Halo Esports

To help put a bow on a fun-filled year of Halo esports and touch on what the future holds, I've asked Tashi, our Lead Esports Producer, to jump in and share his thoughts!

Heading into 2019, we had just launched the HCS Grassroots program and were planning to run events for Halo 3 all while experimenting with new partners, new formats, new platforms, and new ways to entertain. One year later we are pleased with the results and all thanks goes to you, the amazing Halo community who not only supported Halo esports but more importantly supported each other – as players, content creators, tournament organizers, and fans of this franchise.

Some of our favorite moments include:

And finally, on November 5 we celebrated the 5 year anniversary of the Halo Championship Series by looking back at the greatest moments but also looking forward to what the future holds in the Halo Infinite era. To read that full blog, head here: aka.ms/5YearsOfHCS

In the more near-term future, you can expect that we’ll continue to run live events through the HCS Grassroots program, expand the program to include more online tournament operator partners, and expand our approach in partnership with content creators for all audience sizes. And as mentioned in a tweet a few weeks ago, if you’re looking to compete in Halo: Reach we are going to be experimenting with competition on PC so keep an eye out for announcements in the coming weeks.

Thank you once again for the continued support – happy holidays and happy new year!

Community Spotlight

For the past year, snickerdoodle has been highlighting tons of community-created Halo content in our Community Spotlights. She takes everything from paintings to cosplays and montages to tattoos into account, and puts them here on Waypoint for the entire community to see. As a challenge earlier this week, I asked her to pick out her favorite pieces of the year and she had the near-impossible task of narrowing it down to five. Here are the top doodles of the year!

/u/armin_scientoonist's "Don't make a Princess a promise"

Rulez's painting of Forerunner structures

MasterJ2001's Halo x Red Dead Redemption mashup

Cole Protocol's Gray Team

Emad Ameri's Halo: Reach poster

Halo Gear

Our Halo Gear team is always hard at work bringing new toys, apparel, and books to life and they've got three new pieces that they wanted to call out as potential holiday gifts. Let's take a look at what they've got in store for us this year!

Master Chief Building Set by Mega Construx

Equipped with his MA5C Assault Rifle, this buildable Master Chief figure stands 9.5 inches tall is prepared for a battle on the Ark. Available at Target stores and online!

Warthog Run Set by Mega Construx

This buildable set includes the iconic Warthog and four highly-detailed micro action figures; Master Chief, Arbiter, and two Hunters. It also comes with interchangeable armor and Assault Rifle, Carbine, and a special 10th Anniversary Golden Flamethrower. Available at Target stores (it's currently sold out everywhere else) and online! 

Master Chief Plush by Stubbins

After years of intense training to become the UNSC's greatest asset, the Master Chief decided to live a simpler life as a softened Stubbins plush. Secure your own collectible Master Chief Plush at aka.ms/MasterChiefPlush or ToyWiz.com!

"She said that to me once. About being a plush."

  • Halo Waypoint: As we prepare for the launch of Halo Infinite in 2020, we've decided to give this site a fresh coat of paint. Our current plan for Waypoint is to make sure this overhaul, which will actually be much more than a fresh coat of paint, truly improves every aspect of the current site. We did want to provide a heads up that there may be features of the existing site that don't transition over to the new one. That means if there are any forum posts, stats pages, or Community Updates (­čśë) that you wouldn't want to get lost to the ether, we'd encourage you to start thinking about saving them for your own records just in case.
  • Community Spotlight: Last Thursday snickerdoodle wrapped up the year with our final Community Spotlight of 2019, which featured tons of Halo-focused holiday content. If you end up hitting a sick clip in Halo: Reach or decide to make a new suit of Spartan armor over the break, be sure to share it with us by including #HaloSpotlight in the post!
  • Audio Team Field Recordings: Tires on the ground, give our latest featured clip on @Halo's Instagram a look and listen!
  • 343 Social Stream: Last week, snickerdoodle had Pro Team member Richie Heinz on the show to play Halo: Reach in MCC. Together they ran the gamut of popular gametypes in social and handed out Ice Unicorn skins in the process. You can give the stream a watch here!

Halo TV Series

Yes, the news is true! Production on Showtime's Halo TV series has begun and, from the bits I've seen so far, it looks incredibly promising. Members of the studio have been working closely with our partners and we even have Kiki Wolfkill, Head of Transmedia, and Kenneth Peters, Senior Franchise Writer, on-site in Budapest right now. Since she's on the set, Kiki snapped a simple, yet meaningful, behind-the-scenes photo for us just to prove that it's really happening – so be sure to thank her!

 

If you'd like to make sure you're up to date, read the latest Halo TV Series news from November here and follow @SHO_Halo on Twitter!

Halo Infinite

Click on the art above or on this link to get the 4K version!

The last time we really spoke about Halo Infinite was when we debuted the Discover Hope trailer at E3 earlier this year. We know that's a long time to go without saying much about a Halo game, but please trust me when I say that the Halo hype train that kicked off two weeks ago with Halo: Reach will not be slowing down at all in 2020.

While I don't have any new Halo Infinite details for you in this Community Update, I did want to give you a refresher about what's been confirmed so far.

  • General Details
    • Release date: Holiday 2020
    • Platforms: Xbox Series X (formerly known as Project Scarlett), the entire Xbox One family of devices, and Windows PCs
    • In Universe Timing: It follows the Master Chief's story some time after Halo 5: Guardians' conclusion
    • Flighting Programs: These opt-in flights will start small and slowly expand out until release, so sign up for the Halo Insider program!
    • Pro Team: We've assembled an internal Pro Team for Halo Infinite
  • Game Features
    • Splitscreen: Splitscreen is up and running internally
    • LAN: Halo Infinite will support LAN
    • Back in Black: Black Undersuits will be in the game
    • Player Customization: If you liked the level of armor customization options in Halo: Reach, you will be pleased
    • SR 152: Players who hit SR 152 in Halo 5: Guardians will receive a token of appreciation in Halo Infinite
    • Forge: Our famous editing tool will be in Halo Infinite and will have Undo & Redo buttons, which is a first for Forge.

And since one piece of Halo Infinite concept art just didn't feel like enough, here's another!

Click on the art above or on this link to get the 4K version!

Art

Ahead of Halo: Reach's release, I once again went digging through our internal archives for familiar concept art that you all would enjoy getting your hands-on. Luckily, while in the process of doing so, I had a fellow 343er recommend releasing this piece, which I immediately knew would be the right one for this update.

You know it. You love it. Now, you can have it. Save yourself a copy of this brilliant Halo: Reach concept art by hitting the links below!

As we close out this year in style, our very own Studio Head, Bonnie Ross, also wanted to share a few words with all of you. Take it away, Bonnie!

As we wrap up 2019 I wanted to take a moment to thank the Halo community for all of your support and engagement over the last year – your passion, energy, and feedback constantly reminds us of how important this franchise and universe is to all of us, and it fuels our efforts across everything we do.

I have so many great Halo memories this year. We made a very deliberate effort to bring players into the fold to help us shape development on The Master Chief Collection, and WOW…I can’t begin to describe how incredibly thankful we are to all of the Halo Insiders that participated in our MCC flighting to help us learn, refine, and release Halo: Reach on PC. We couldn’t have done it without you and will continue to learn and invest in flighting as we release updates and the remainder of the games in MCC on PC. Through MCC on PC we’ve brought millions of new players in to the Halo universe, but it’s also been amazing to see the number of players returning on Xbox and their response to the MCC update and release of Halo: Reach. It was great to see the excitement around Halo 3 esports through HCS Grassroots and also see pros/casters having fun in BTB at SXSW. I’m excited about the future of Halo esports and its potential on PC.

At Halo: Outpost Discovery this year, it was incredible to meet so many fans and hear their personal stories. For those of us at 343 who were able to attend, it was such an honor to see Halo through your eyes and understand what it means to you. Spending this time with you was truly the heart-warming highlight of the year.

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a week in Budapest on the set of the upcoming Showtime Halo TV series and seeing the care and dedication of a different industry bringing our universe to life for a different medium was energizing. I know you’ve all waited patiently for this series, and I can say, without doubt, that the team working on this project is as passionate about Halo as anyone. It is in good hands and I can’t wait for when more will be shared.

There was nothing more memorable in 2019 than finally being able to announce that Halo Infinite will launch with Xbox Series X next holiday, as it feels like Halo is back where it belongs with Chief leading the way. The response to our E3 trailer and the reveal of Chief and the Pilot was phenomenal… I still watch the fan reaction videos when I need a pick-me-up! It’s hard not to look ahead to next year, knowing how much we have yet to show, but rest assured that 2020 is going to be the biggest year ever for the Halo franchise.

Lastly, I want to thank the amazingly talented and dedicated team here at 343 Industries for your continued dedication, hard work and fan focus. Through that, you accomplished so much to release Halo: Reach and push the development of Halo Infinite to new heights, setting us up for a HUGE 2020. You amaze me every day.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

It's hard to express what a great year it's been without copying the points that Bonnie mentioned above, so I'll just say thank you for letting me live every Halo player's dream and contribute to this wonderful franchise. And most importantly, whether it was through donating copious amounts of pizza to the studio or by showing up en mass at Halo: Outpost Discovery events around the country, I wanted to thank you all for making me proud to be a Halo fan and continuously proving that we've got one of the best communities in gaming.

Happy Holidays, and I'll see you all next year,

- UNY

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