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Outpost Outro

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Happy Thursday friends, and welcome to the latest edition of the Halo Community Update! Unyshek is off enjoying tropical libations on a well-deserved vacation so yours truly has been thawed from cryosleep to retake the helm. I'm pretty rusty with the ole Waypoint blog systems so I'll do my best to not screw this up (but you've been warned). 

For today’s update, we’re reflecting back on a wild summer of Halo: Outpost Discovery, checking in on the latest status of the MCC PC project, recapping the recent UGC Classic in Atlantic City, and surfacing a few other odds and ends you have may have missed over the past two weeks. We've also got answers to a few community questions and a triple-header of sweet Halo artwork. Let’s get to it!

Au Revoir, Outpost

For the past two months we’ve been on an epic adventure bringing Halo goodness to fans across the country as part of the Halo: Outpost Discovery tour. This first-of-its-kind event was a long time in the making and represented a tremendous amount of work from our partners at Herschend and a dedicated strike team within 343 Industries. Before I ramble any further, I want to thank all the fans who came to Outpost this summer and everyone at 343 and Herschend who poured their passion and hard work into this project to make it happen! If you don’t care about my personal thoughts and a bunch of pics, feel free to scroll on past. Otherwise, get comfy, and let's reflect on what was truly an awesome and memorable summer!

I had the privilege of attending all five locations over the course of the summer, meeting tons of awesome community members and celebrating all things Halo in Orlando, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, and Anaheim. In case you’re wondering – that’s a lot of adventure – in fact, my own personal Outpost by the Numbers comes out to 26.7K miles of flying and more than 125 miles of walking! Unofficially, despite all the walking, I think I also gained one new chin per city on account of so much delicious local cuisine (deep dish! cheesesteaks! tex-mex! BBQ!). 

It’s been a real whirlwind, and quite exhausting at times, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It’s not often we get a chance to bring together Halo fans and spend three solid days basking in a shared love for Halo and its incredible, passionate community. For fifteen days this summer we all got a great reminder of why we love Halo, why we are so lucky and grateful to have such a passionate community, and why we’re more excited than ever for the future.

As I’ve reflected on Outpost and talked about it with others, I’ve been struggling to accurately sum up what made the event so special to me (and so many others). Then I saw this article from PC Gamer which fantastically captured my own sentiment and two key words that echo my own feelings – wholesome and family.

If you’ve ever been to a Halo esports event or LAN party or Outpost you no doubt have also experienced the sense that this community is one big family. Sure, we may fight online about different settings, modes, and games, but at the end of the day, we all share a common love and have so many memories and friendships and life moments that are rooted in Halo. Outpost brought this out in all of us, gave us a platform to celebrate it, and while it’s hard to really explain, each weekend felt like a close-knit gathering of lifelong friends.

It was also incredibly wholesome. It was uplifting. Inspiring. It was touching to see multiple generations of Halo fans sharing the franchise together. Parents who grew up playing Halo in college got the opportunity to reunite (some for the first time in person) and pass on their love of Halo to their children. I have to give a special shout out to the two dads I met at Galaxy’s Edge who used to read my old Bungie blogs and promoted me to pilot for our Millennium Falcon mission – sorry about the sketchy flying!

Everyone who attended Outpost no doubt has their own list of memorable moments and experiences you’ll fondly look back on – we’d love to hear ‘em over in the Halo Outpost forum. I could easily write more words than anyone would care to read so instead, here's a handful of just some of my favorite photos from the Summer of Outpost!

 

Steve Downes and Jen Taylor were so gracious and accommodating all summer long and definitely a highlight for attendees. The panels they did with Bravo and Grim were fantastic (we'll get them on YouTube down the road). 343's Frankie and Bonnie joined them in Orlando during our inaugural weekend. 

 

This was during the first Cosplay Contest in Orlando. For some unknown reason, Grim was put in a chair clear across stage from Kiki, Frank, and I - where he sat awkwardly alone. Poor Grim. This is actually when the whole notion of challenging Grim to build his own makeshift cosplay using fast food materials was born! 

 

This was one of our first 343 Community Playdates on the Mixer stage. We were joined by Xbox's Major Nelson who teamed up with Halo community Ninja doppleganger Greenskull and members of the audience to face off against Team Unyshek.

 

All of the cosplay on display at Outpost all summer was AMAZING. This creative Brute/Spartan hybrid was an early favorite of mine.

 

This Spartan cosplay from Anaheim was AWESOME! 

 

Speaking of Anaheim Cosplay, this incredible Elite took home the grand prize for obvious reasons!

 

The one. The only. Master Beef! Grim really came through on the challenge issued in Orlando thanks to some help from Arbys. 

 

The one and only Beamish also made an appearance at Outpost in Anaheim!

 

Over the course of the summer, Team 343 engaged in some heated laser tag battles against Team Outpost. I'm sad to say we went 0-3 for the tour - though, for the record, our opponents pulled some tactics in Anaheim that cost us the W. The same type of tactics that would get someone banned if we'd be inside a Halo game. :)

 

In Houston, Team Ske7ch got a boost from none other than Spiderman as we squared off against Team KP in the Community Playdate. Spiderman hit me with the game winning hail mary pass in Grifball, greeted with a roar of applause, which may be one of the highlights of my competitive halo career.

 

We had epic Community Playdates all over the country but Chicago is where our special guest Ethan breezed through Crossy Road in a swift 2 min 40 seconds and set a record nobody else would come close to touching all summer long. Also, gotta love that photo bomb by yours truly.

 

Even working at 343, this was the first time I'd ever seen this cool image showing where the inspiration came from for the updated Chief designs in Halo Infinite. The panel with Art Director "Sparth" and Marcus Lehto (original creator of Master Chief and long time Halo lead) was fantastic and is something we'll definitely get on YouTube for you to enjoy.

 

We were joined by Max Hoberman - current founder and president of Certain Affinity and the original lead behind Halo 2 and Halo 3 multiplayer. We had a great time in Houston and Anaheim. (Yep, this is also something we've targeted for YouTube release - some really great stories were shared about the origins of Halo multiplayer) 

 

The Halo Legacy panel we did in Chicago with Frank, Marcus Lehto, Tim Dadabo (the voice of 343 Guilty Spark!), and Carlos was a blast! 

 

Loved this iconic shot of some of the cosplayers who joined us in Chicago along with Steve, Jen, and newcomer Melisa Pereyra who was the actor portraying Gabriella - the UNSC AI at Outpost.

Dang, I feel like I've barely scratched the surface here, I have hundreds of photos on my phone and even more in our internal archives... and that doesnt even include all the food pictures I took. I should also note that the photo used for the main image for this update - the signed Chief helmets - is something that @Jessabirdy orchestrated. While fans asked us for autographs all summer long, she got THEM to sign these helmets as a token of thanks and appreciation to bring back to the 343 team. Thank you everyone! 

I'll spare your data plans from a further onslaught of pics and just leave you with a few last morsels - these awesome videos were shared on social that you really should check out if you haven't already! 

"

Franchise writer and community stalwart Jeff "GrimBrother One" Easterling also attended several Outpost events and he passed along a few words of his own....

Thanks ske7ch! I’m not gonna lie, it’s taken more than a few times for me to remember that I don’t have to be packed and leaving for a new Outpost site this weekend. I was recently looking back at our Discovery Dispatch series on Halo Waypoint, which chronicled the development of Outpost Discovery and helped preview the event all-up for potential attendees, and all at once it seems like both forever ago and yet just yesterday that we announced the brand new, in-person adventure. I was lucky enough to attend three of the five events, and each one got better and better.

Kicking things off in my home state, the Orlando show was an incredible experience, and was really only a precursor of things to come. When I arrived in Houston, it was immediately obvious that things had continued to evolve and improve thanks to not only the amazing partnership we had with our friends at Herschend, but also from the great feedback the community and attendees themselves were always willing to provide. The big state of Texas provided some big-time moments, with amazing crowd energy and warmth of welcome every day of the stop. And of course, it all culminated in an unforgettable finale in Anaheim, where you helped us send the 2019 tour out with a bang.

When ske7ch and I were originally discussing favorite moments across the tour, it seemed almost an impossible task. In Orlando I got to share the experience with my entire family, which really meant more than I can say in the space allotted here. In Houston, sharing the stage with the fine folks from Rooster Teeth was amazing (like always), as was being fed delicious quesadillas while on stage. Oh and the BBQ… oh the BBQ. And speaking of meaty memories, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include my first foray into cosplay down in Anaheim, as the mighty Master Beef went from joke-gone-too-far to roast-beef-reality. Getting to sit on stage and have conversations with colleagues, community, creatives, and legendary heroes like Steve and Jen, each moment brought out my own inner Halo fan like you wouldn’t believe. Which brings me to perhaps my greatest takeaway from it all – meeting people like you. To everyone that came out to each event, sat in on panels, waited in line, asked for a picture or signature, or just wanted to chat Halo lore, THANK YOU. You made Outpost Discovery what it was always meant to be: a celebration of Halo and what it means to its community.

YOU were my favorite memory.

Well, that and the BBQ.

❤ Grim

Thanks Grim! I'm looking forward to your next cosplay creation and seeing how you raise the bar from the incredible Master Beef showing in Anaheim. If our community has suggestions, be sure to let us know on Twitter! What should we make Grim do next? :)

Now to kick things over to Postums for an update on what's going on with MCC! 

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

In the past several months, a lot of information has been penned discussing MCC coming to PC and Halo: Reach coming to MCC. Just a few weeks back, our most recent flight for Steam was conducted where 10,000 Halo Insiders were able to play Firefight Matchmaking for the first time ever on PC! A brief recap was shared in the MCC Development Update for August. Feedback has been gathered via surveys and bug reports and overall the response was very positive from the community. The team is hard at work addressing the issues that did arise based on bugs reported to the Halo Support site. 

Looking ahead to the next flight, the Pub Team is hard at work on bringing the first flight together for Reach on Xbox One. This flight will be a PvP specific flight where players will be able to participate in matchmaking for the first time in our journey of bringing Reach to MCC. We don’t have any exact dates for it just quite yet, but the latest update on the whole process is that we are currently in Ring 0 for testing. If you are not familiar with the term rings, an explanation of this process is broken down HERE.

Yesterday though, MCC on Xbox did get a playlist update. With this week’s changes, Halo 4 in social matchmaking got some love and rebalance. The Slayer option in social matchmaking now has been rebalanced with a heavy focus on slayer game types that play best on various maps. In next week’s update, the playlists H2A Ranked Hardcore and H2A Fast Slayer playlists will be retired from ranked matchmaking. All forged maps that were present in these playlists will become available in H2A’s social categories. Both playlists are being retired due to low demand from players.

Remember to stay tuned to the Halo Insider forum here on Halo Waypoint for ongoing updates on the latest status of our MCC flighting efforts.

Until next time, we will see y’all online!

 -Postums

Thanks Postums! Last weekend we saw some great classic Halo 3 competition unfold in Atlantic City at the UGC Classic. Our own snickerdoodle was there in person and has the following field report to share. 

UGC CLASSIC

Thanks Ske7ch!

This past weekend, UGC Events hosted the latest Halo Classic featuring multiple tournaments including Halo 3 FFA, Halo CE 2v2, Halo 5 2v2, and Halo 3 4v4. Being the impulsive individual I often am, I decided at the last minute that I missed the East coast and needed a break, so I hopped on a plane for Philly and a weekend of Halo in Atlantic City, NJ!

Clutch and I arrived entirely too early Thursday morning and the first order of business was to find coffee because it was 0630 and I had some work to do – this trip wasn’t all fun and games, just mostly! This was when I was reminded that Dunkin Donuts exists and praise be to casinos for having 24 hour food courts. Coffee and cake donut in hand, I retreated to my room to wrap up last week’s Community Spotlight. Once that was done, it was all about the Halo action.

The Main Event

The first day of the Halo Classic was a flurry of action across the many, many consoles and stations set up across the venue. From Open Bracket and Pool Play to FFA to CE free play, you could find it all happening. The crowd was buzzing with excitement, staff was on hand to make sure things went as smoothly as possible, and Halo players from all points converged on a path that would eventually see Lux Gaming come out on top of the Halo 3 Tournament.

 I had been to a few events before so I had a general idea of what to expect. TOX gaming being knocked out before getting to the grand final in probably the biggest upset we’ve seen in a very long time? Definitely unexpected. Getting to meet Zyos? Also unexpected – in fact, I’m not sure anyone realized he was going to be at the event and even Bravo was really excited to meet him. Seeing the sheer passion and camaraderie shared by all the event staff, attendees, and players? Absolutely expected and priceless. I had the privilege of meeting many new people over the weekend and I’m pleased to say that every one of you I spoke with are fantastic individuals and I hope to see you at future events!

 At the end of the day, many champions were crowned. Lux Gaming (RyaNoob, Goofy, Gilkey, and Gab) took home the Halo 3 4v4 tournament, beating out The Goldmembers (Snipedown, Pistola, Frosty, and Eco) in game 7. TOX Gaming wound up in the Elimination bracket early on due to a surprising 1-3 loss to Aspire Esports and found themselves exiting the tournament in another surprise loss to Goldmembers in the Losers Final.

Str8Sick put up a dominating performance and easily won the Halo 3 FFA in a stacked lobby. How stacked? He faced off against the likes of Goofy, Porky J, HoaXer, King Nick, Dren, Flamehead, and the winner of the last H3 FFA at a UGC event, RyaNoob.

In the Halo 5 2v2 series, it all came down to Shotzzy and Renegade vs Saiyan and Neptune – battle of the pros. This series was incredibly intense and went the distance, the extra mile, the whole 9 yards, or whatever other turn of phrase you’d like to insert here. Bouncing up from the Losers bracket, Shotzzy/Renegade reset the bracket on Saiyan/Neptune and pushed the series to the full 14 games before emerging victorious.  

On the Halo CE 2v2 side, the dynamic duo of Legend and Skills (aka Patch) took it all home, to the surprise of exactly nobody in attendance. They easily beat out McDick and Repa with Meg/Ozyorsk and Cujjer/Devilman rounding out the top 4.

If you missed any of the weekend action but wanted to see it, you can check out the UGC VODs here:

UGC Twitch VODs

UGC_Bravo Twitch VODs

UGC_Charlie Twitch VODs

UGC_Delta Twitch VODs

 UGC Cast and Crew that made the event possible!

All in all, it was a very enjoyable weekend, 11/10 would go to another event. 

--Sam

Thanks snickerdoodle for the recap! Even though I was relieved to have a weekend of no travel after all the Outpost adventures, I did find myself facing FOMO upon seeing all the pics and posts hitting social. Looks like another awesome Halo esports weekend in the books! 

Halo 5

In case you missed it, Halo 5 got a sweet update last week with a big refresh to the Action Sack playlist! New modes like “Cannonball Evasion,” “Ground Smashers,” “Pig of the Hill,” “Bug Zapper,” and “Stay off my Lawn” were added among several other wild community creations. Be sure to check out Unyshek’s Action Sack Refresh blog for the full details!

Upcoming Matchmaking Updates

This week “Anniversary Throwback” is back, replacing “Rock ‘n’ Rail,” and Warzone Assault is also back in rotation for the weekend. Here’s the latest list of what’s on tap for the next few Halo 5 playlist updates:

  • September 12: Anniversary Throwback rotates in for Rock 'n' Rail
  • September 12: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
  • September 19: ODST Slayer (new!) rotates in for Action Sack
  • September 26: H3 Classic Throwback rotates in for Anniversary Throwback
  • September 26: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

Note that according to the team, “ODST Slayer” is still undergoing testing but looks to be on track for release (though things could shift if it’s not quite fully baked in time).

Radar Blips

Now for a quick rundown of various Radar Blips you may have missed over the past few weeks! (also known as, "pasting in stuff from the @Halo social feed")

  • Gears 5 is now available! Our friends at The Coalition launched Gears 5 this week and that means that Kat and Emile are now reporting for duty as part of the Halo: Reach Character Pack! Pick up the Gears 5 Ultimate Edition (included with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate) to suit up as Spartans in Gears’ multiplayer modes. Also, if you missed it the first time around, be sure to check out Grim's special "Gears of Lore" edition of Canon Fodder here on Waypoint! 

  • Classic Collectible! Pre-orders are now open for 1000toys' RE:EDIT series Master Chief figure! 

  • Halo: Oblivion Approaches! Save the date - Troy Denning's follow-up to Silent Storm, "Halo: Oblivion," will be released on September 24th! 

  • Field Recordings! Did you know that on the @Halo Instagram account we’ve been sharing some really cool video snippets of the 343 audio team doing field recordings as part of their sound design work on Halo Infinite? Approximately every other Saturday you can check out a new clip which thus far has ranged from microwaves to pugs to rockets to chemistry. Give us a follow on Instagram to see, and hear, how some of your favorite Halo sounds are brought to life!
  • Social Stream! In case you missed out, check out our most recent 343 Social Streams on Mixer.com/Halo. On Sept. 4, snickerdoodle was joined by special guest Josh Menke for a special "Get Menke'd" edition of the stream. This week, Blaze Lightcap stopped by to talk about the Action Sack refresh and play some wacky games with viewers. Tune in Wednesdays at 1:30PM PT on Mixer.com/Halo to hang out with members of the team and get a chance to earn the Ice Unicorn skin in Halo 5 and the nameplate in MCC.

MAIL BAG

When I started the outline for this community update I quickly realized we don't really have a whole lot to talk about right now. As we move on from Outpost and still await the release of Halo: Reach into MCC (and we're not talking Infinite yet), we're in a bit of a dark time, news-wise. So, I turned to the Halo subreddit to see what pressing questions you might have that I might be able to answer. Here are just a few (we can do more of this in the future):

Desgeras asked, "Does the MCC team plan to add adjustable viewmodels for guns?

I spoke with Lead Producer Fahrny and the team and while this is not something they will be able to fit in at launch, they've definitely heard this feedback and it's on the list of things they hope to get to a little further down the road. So, possibly, maybe, hopefully - but it's not something we're able to 100% commit to at this time. Stay tuned - once we get Reach out the door, we'll have a better idea of what post-launch additions are going to be feasible (keeping in mind the team also still has Halo CE, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 to also bring ot PC). 

Gr4phix asked, "Although I'm sure it's a ton of time away, what's 343s idea /stance for competitive Halo moving towards pc?"

For this one, I turned to Halo esports Lead Producer Tashi for the official word: We are super excited about Halo coming to PC and what that could mean for the HCS. First and foremost, we need to ensure that the PC player experience is fit for competitive play and the MCC team has been working with the community via flighting to make sure that’s the case – and this will continue over time. Early reactions seem to be very positive in terms of overall feeling of gameplay. Next, when Halo does release on PC, we’ll be looking for opportunities to run events for PC to test out the platform, learn more about what it takes to run Halo esports on PC, and see what the community thinks. All of this and more will inform how we think about the future - ultimately we want what’s best for players and fans and so that’s what we’re going after. We will be gathering feedback along the way and providing updates as we continue to evaluate for the future. To learn a bit more about the future of Halo esports, definitely check out the 5-year anniversary post dropping on November 5.

Atomicjorge asked, "Why Kat and Emile were specifically chosen to be part of Gears 5? How was the process of working with The Coalition?"

Here's Senior Halo Franchise Producer Carlos Naranjo with the scoop: In the early discussions with Rod and The Coalition team, Emile was the immediate first choice primarily due to his overall look and character detail (particularly his iconic helmet). Naturally, he's a fan-favorite from Reach. Kat was a perfect fit for numerous reasons and is always the default female we'd use since she's recognizable and representative (and a badass). Between the two characters it added good variety and diversity in options with nice differences in shapes, silhouettes, colors, and armor detail.

Working with The Coalition team was a really great experience! They were super collaborative and always open to feedback and sharing progress. They strived to really hit a high bar for bringing our characters into their world and staying true to the detail, look and feel, as well as translating it all to their tech. From the visuals, to the VO, ultimate abilities, weapon skins, and more they pushed to make everything high-quality and true to both Halo and Gears. They did a fantastic job!

JacksonSX35 asked, "What did Buck and the rest of Alpha-Nine get up to during the activation of the portal at Voi and the battle for the Ark? Did they deploy to the Ark with the Master Chief and company? Or remain behind on Earth to hold the line?" 

Halo Franchise Writer Kenneth Peters has the answer: Alpha-Nine was not part of the expeditionary force sent to Installation 00. They remained in the Sol system, fighting the Prophet of Truth’s remaining occupation forces.

KiLler10312 asked, "I know you must be tired of flight questions right now, so let me bamboozle you and ask how your morning is going?"

It's gone quite well, thanks for asking! And no worries on flight questions, I know everyone's super eager (so am I!), we just don't have a firm update to share quite yet. As Postums has said, the next flight for Halo: Reach will take place on Xbox One and will focus on Reach Multiplayer. The team is working through getting things ready and once we have a clear line of sight that we're moving towards Ring 3 (the Halo Insider ring), we'll be sure to let you know!

Pyrocitor asks, "Will there potentially be an opportunity for people looking forward to the PC releases of MCC to transfer maps and game modes from their 360 fileshares? Myself and a number of others (from the steam forum) were not able to log into an Xbox One to qualify for the transfer."

Unfortunately, the team has no current plans to do another UGC File Share migration into MCC on PC. I'll never say never - who knows what the future may bring - but as of now there are no plans to do another round. We're really excited the team was able to do the one-time transfer (which we've come to find totaled nearly 10 mllion pieces of content!). Sorry you missed out, but with so much content copied over, chances are high that your favorite maps and modes were accounted for by other players. 

If I didn't get to your questions this time, don't fret - I think we can convince Unyshek to do this again down the road. Barring that, you can always ask away on Twitter (though our ability to respond will vary). 

ART

A while back, Unyshek started including hi-res pieces of Halo artwork as a special treat in the Community Update. It seems this has gone over very well with our readers so of course I have to keep the tradition alive. But, I also have to take advantage of his absence and use this as an opportunity to one-up him so, rather than include a measely single piece of artwork, I've included THREE TIMES the amount of awesomeness you'd typically find in a Thursday update. 

I reached out on social to see if you had special requests and of course, you did! First up, @haruspis on Twitter said that a "full version of Chase Toole's incredible depiction of the Greater Ark's destruction in Halo Mythos would be awesome!" Ask and ye shall receive:

 

Download the 4K version HERE.

Meanwhile, @cia391 said "how about high rez versions of the og coveer art for the Halo books? They have never been released at all and it's a real shame. :("  You're right! Let's take the first step towards changing that! Here's the highest rez we have of Lorraine McLees' cover art for Eric Nylund's Fall of Reach.

 Download full-size version HERE

And lastly, for one last treat, here's something totally new! This piece of concept art was created for the Halo Infinite "Discover Hope" trailer from E3 earlier this year. 

 

Get the larger-sized version HERE.

Thanks for joining me for this Community Update! And big thanks to Snickerdoodle, Postums, and the rest of the crew who contributed to this week's write-up. Thanks to Unyshek for going to Hawaii, living it up, and giving me this opportunity to get intimately reacquainted with our Waypoint content systems. 

Have a great weekend, play some Halo, and we'll see you online!

Cheers,
ske7ch

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