News

Rockin' & Railin'

By -

Welcome back! This week we've got a new Halo 5 season kicking off, a new rotational playlist, exciting Halo product updates, Halo Wars 2 balance tweaks and sound files, and a plethora of Spotlight goodness. 

To open things up, Grim's got some exciting news for fans of Halo lore and printed entertainment so let's kick it over to him to get all the sweet deets...

 

Indeed I do, Mr. Factor! This week has seen a couple of awesome little lore-laden news nuggets that fans of the Halo universe will likely find quite appetizing. Let's check out what's been going on...

BRUTAL LEGEND

One of the best things about Halo Wars 2 has been the introduction of a new, intriguing faction within the Halo universe – the Banished. And of course, nothing exemplifies this emergent force more than their imposing and intimidating leader, Atriox. From his very first reveal to the closing moments of Halo Wars 2 itself, fans have been clamoring for more information on this vexing new villain. 

Today, we’re excited to announce a brand-new comic anthology series in partnership with our friends at Dark Horse that takes a deeper look into Atriox’s past, and the rise of his legacy. In Halo Wars 2, we got a glimpse of this history during Isabel’s initial intelligence report on the UNSC Spirit of Fire. In Halo: Rise of Atriox, fans will get an even closer look to events alluded to in those gorgeous Blur cutscenes.

Halo: Rise of Atriox is a five-chapter mini-series, and collects epic tales brought to life by acclaimed comics creators Cullen Bunn (Harrow County, Conan the Slayer), Jody Houser (The X-Files: Origins, Faith), John Jackson Miller (SMITE: The Pantheon War, Halo: Tales from Slipspace), Alex Irvine (Hellstorm: Son of Satan, Dark Sun: Ianto’s Tomb), Claire Roe (Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Saltire: Annihilation), Josan Gonzalez (Weird Detective), Jonathan Wayshak (Call of Duty: Zombies, Halo: Tales from Slipspace), and Tristan Jones (Rebels, Aliens: Defiance).

Seen here is the first issue’s incredible cover, lovingly crafted by Aleksi Briclot (The Art of Remember Me, Conan: Road of Kings). The series’ opening salvo (Cullen Bunn – author, Claire Roe – art, Jeremy Colwell – colors) finds Atriox, still a member of the Covenant, leading his fellow Brutes in an all-out assault on a UNSC outpost, with each successive installment revealing more about this cunning Jiralhanae’s ascension to power.

We’re extremely excited to get these awesome new additions to the Halo story out into the wild, and hope you’ll join us for the ride. Issue #1 of Halo: Rise of Atriox goes on sale August 2, 2017, and is available for preorder right now.

(click the cover art to make bigger and awesomer)

HOLEY SHIPS

Earlier this week, keen-eyed Halo fans spied the final cover art for the highly-anticipated Halo: Warfleet, heading into local systems on Sept 5. Unfamiliar with Halo: Warfleet? Here’s what we said back in Issue 90 of good ol’ Canon Fodder:

“So, what is it exactly? Halo: Warfleet is our next book project with our friends and publishing partners at Egmont – think of it as a sort of “technical companion” to the recently released Halo Mythos. Created by 343 Industries, this new guide is first and foremost a cross-section reference book, with ten full-color ship cross-sections by Hans Jenssen (yes, that Hans Jenssen, of the Star Wars Incredible Cross-Sections fame) and John Mullaney (the artistic brilliance behind Firefly Serenity cross-sections). In addition, amazing brand-new secondary art pieces are being crafted by epic art folk such as Sparth, Darren Bacon, Glenn Israel, Isaac Hannaford, Tyler Jeffers, and Carlos Naranjo.

Halo: Warfleet is a resource book that taps into the technology, scale, design, construction, and variety of ships, space stations, and colony worlds in the Halo Universe. The book is divided into five sections: Introduction/Technical Architecture, Human Ships, Covenant Ships, Forerunner Ships, and an expansive Glossary. The text itself is crafted by the internal team here at 343, with Franchise Writer and ship-savant Kenneth Peters leading the charge. If you enjoyed Halo Mythos, you’ll love Halo: Warfleet.

Designed not just for core Halo fans, Halo: Warfleet will be an awesome title to be devoured by folks interested in the sci-fi and military genres, as well as anyone who loves highly detailed technical illustrations in general. That being said, deep-lore lovin’ Halo fans will have a lot to dig into, including specific technical details and terminology once locked away in the Halo Story Bible vaults!

The format is oversized to allow for larger illustrations and detail, with each spread being filled with annotations explaining the function of specific parts of a ship’s anatomy, accompanied by some history of the vehicle and statistics.”

And here is some back-of-the-book descriptive text lovin’ as well:

Halo: Warfleet is the official, authoritative guide to spacecraft in the Halo universe, featuring ten intricately detailed full-color cross-sections of the franchise's most renowned ships--including the Pillar of Autumn, Truth and Reconciliation, Infinity, and Shadow of Intent. Discover encyclopedic information which reveals the secrets of Covenant, UNSC, and Forerunner weapons, sensors, fighters, planets, and more!

Now, about that beautiful cover art. The cover, carefully crafted by the incomparable Sparth, depicts another untold story among thousands like it from the Halo universe: the UNSC Toulouse, a lone Halcyon-class light cruiser, faces off against a Covenant attack force above a strange – yet somehow familiar – alien installation. Unfortunately, lacking the upgraded engines, weapons, and hyper-advanced AI of its sister ship, the Pillar of Autumn, the Toulouse's chance of survival is grimly slim. Of course, nothing is impossible...

We’ve also seen some discussion amongst the detail-discerning members of our incredible community regarding the... performance viability of this particular scene. From a technical perspective, most UNSC vessels have gravity control systems which facilitate operations in and near gravity wells, though maneuvering options are often extremely limited in such situations. The systems employed during the Covenant War were crude and power hungry, and did not typically scale well to the needs of larger ships. From a practical perspective, it’s also good to remember that sometimes, it’s just badass art. ;-)

And speaking of the art, you may have seen the cover itself, but you haven’t quite seen the full picture, so… here it is. Enjoy, don’t forget to preorder your own copy of Halo: Warfleet right here, and stay tuned for more tweeted teases and deets to be doled out in the nearish future!

 

And now, a pass the talking stick back over to my good ol’ pod-pal, ske7ch… take it away!

<3

Grim

HCS Daytona by UMG

We're t-minus one week until competitive Halo invades the sunshine state [woohoo! - Grim, FL native] for HCS Daytona by UMG! Team, FFA and spectator passes are still available so head over to UMGgaming.com and register now! HCS Daytona kicks off Friday, May 12 and runs through Sunday, May 14. We hope to see you there!

Open Bracket Placement Cup

This weekend will be the second (and final!) online placement cup for open bracket seeding at Daytona. Here are some important details for Placement Cup #2:

  • Date: May 6 – 7
  • Watch: Sunday, May 7 @ 1PM PT on Beam.Pro/Halo & Twitch.tv/Halo @ 1PM PT. Casted by Walshy and Tsquared
  • Format: Double elimination open tournament. Best of 5 until Best of 7 Grand Finals.
  • Game Settings: Final HCS Summer 2017 settings (v3) – stay tuned for any final adjustments from v2 to v3.
  • Stakes: Winner receives overall 8th seed at HCS Daytona and plays in Pro Groups on Friday, May 12

To register and learn more head over to MillennialEsports.gg!

On the topic of HCS, the final update to the HCS Playlist for the Summer Season dropped last Friday afternoon. You can check it out in-game now and read more about it right HERE.

Halo 5

As you may have already heard, Rock ‘n’ Rail is the new social rotational playlist in Halo 5! (Don’t worry about Extermination, it will be back in due time.) We’ve tried to replicate the flying, floating, and falling that you remember from the original as closely as possible. We asked Sara Stern, our MP Designer, to provide a little more information on the mode’s changes:

Sara: While this new iteration of Rock ‘n’ Rail is inspired by Halo 4’s beloved Rock ‘n’ Rail mode, it’s been specifically tailored to better fit the Halo 5 sandbox. Instead of basing gameplay around the use of jetpacks, we’ve altered the gravity, stabilizer time, and jump height settings to bring combat off the ground and into the air.

Halo 5’s Spartan Abilities allow for increased mobility when airborne, which made hitting shots with standard rockets and railguns a bit more difficult than desired. The SPNKr Prime and Whiplash can both snipe mid-air targets, and the Whiplash grants you a second round in case you miss your first shot. Equipping the SPNKr Prime grants you damage resistance, speed boost, and a further increase to your jump height.

Thanks Sara! I’m definitely a fan of the increased firepower in this version, and I hope all of you are too.

We're going to hold a 343 Playdate Monday, May 8 - at 4PM PT. You know the drill - if you match up with us you'll get the 343 Ice Unicorn Skin! We hope to see you online (and in our crosshairs!). 

Warzone Update

Great news! Mark your calendars Warzone fans, we've got this month's rotational updates locked and loaded:

  • Warzone Turbo will be back in action on May 12!
  • Warzone Warlords is back in service the weekend of May 26-29!

May-June Season

The May-June 2017 ranked season kicks off today and your reward for finishing placement matches is the sweet emblem you see above. This season was a wee bit delayed in part due to some tweaks and new features being added behind the scenes by the team. 343's Josh Menke shared details in this week's Matchmaking Update:

New Season Features


  • Soft Forfeit
    • It will be "safe" to leave if someone has already left the match (from either team)
    • No need to stay on to prevent a ban or extra point loss
    • No ban if someone has already left
    • No extra CSR loss penalty if someone has already left
    • You still lose the same amount of CSR as a normal loss
    • Leavers always lose CSR, regardless of how their team does after, so it’s better to stay if you’re on the winning / advantaged team until the other team leaves.
  • Reduced early-season wait times for higher-skilled players
    • High-skilled players sometimes get MMRs that are higher than is needed
    • These will now be truncated to a reasonable value at the beginning of the season
    • They are still high enough to prevent very uneven matches, but low enough to allow more timely matchmaking
  • Even Stricter CSR boundaries: Onyx population reduced again
    • The previously fixed inflation bug had inflated this despite the changes
    • We should see even stricter boundaries in the new season

previously added Features:

  • Expanded Switching back to Balanced bug is fixed
  • CSR inflation drastically reduced
  • CSR smurfing incentives greatly reduced
  • Better CSR gains for high-skilled players early in the season
  • Reduced wait times for SWAT and FFA

With all of these updates the May-June season should be a great one! As always, stay tuned to the Matchmaking Feedback forum for Josh's weekly updates.

In case you missed it, Colony - the newest leader for Halo Wars 2 - released late last week and is now available on Xbox One and Windows 10! Colony introduces several new interesting units and abilities and while some players are still debating the pros and cons of each I think it's safe to say that one area we can all universally agree on is that the Lekgolo voice-over is AWESOME! If you love the Lekgolo's linguistics as much as I do you're in luck - the team passed over a selection of choice dialog snippets for your aural pleasure:  (right-click 'save as' to grab these .WAV files for yourself!)

Halo Wars 2 Balance change preview

Right before I hit publish for today's update, I got a hot-off-the-presses mail from the Halo Wars 2 team with some details for a mid-season balance update they're looking to release in the near future. (I don't have a firm date yet but it's meant to be a mid-season update so it's not being held until the next DLC drop) These changes are the result of player feedback (thank you!) and combing through game data. Here's a preview of the upcoming Blance changes you can expect to see in Halo Wars 2 soon:

Shipmaster

  • Spirit Support - Now drops a veterancy level 2 Hunter (Previously veterancy level 3 Hunter)

Kinsano

Kinsano Cyclops

  • Flamewall ability cooldown time increased from 45 to 60 seconds
  • Flamewall damage versus buildings reduced by 70%

Flamehog w/ Flame Mortar Upgrade

  • Flame Mortar damage over time effect reduced damage by 35%
  • Flame Mortar damage over time effect, reduced damage vs buildings by 40%
  • Flame Mortar range decreased by 14%
  • Flame Mortar fire rate reduced by 0.5 seconds, overall impact damage per second not affected, but will create fewer DOT scorch areas.

Inferno

  • Reduced damage versus buildings by 20%
  • Reduced duration from 25 seconds to 20 seconds

Colony

  • Hunter Captain - Move speed increased by 19%
  • Sitterer - (bug fix) Now receives upgrade benefits from Global Vehicle Upgrades
  • Vehicle Symbiotes - (bug fix) No longer shows buff effect through Fog of War

Global Banished

Grunts

  • Banished leader now start with 3 Grunt squads instead of 2
  • Grunt squad resource gather speeds increased by 32%

Engineers - HP reduced by 20%

Hunters

  • Basic speed increased by 15%
  • Fuel rod projectile velocity increased to help hit moving

Brute Chopper

  • Move speed increased 11%
  • Explosive rounds upgrade now also increases damage by 15%

Locust

  • Line of sight reduced by 12.%
  • Locust cost increased from 250/175 to 300/200

Wraith - Scorch projectile initial damage reduced by 50%

Global UNSC


Jackrabbit
  • Basic DPS increased by 15%
  • Drone delay before healing reduced from 10 seconds to 7 seconds

Scorpion

  • HP increased by 10%
  • Cannon DPS increased by 10%
  • (bug fix) Unit ability Cannister Shell now fires almost instantly

When these balance changes go live it'll happen magically behind the scenes with a very small download (this isn't a "patch"). You'll get a prompt that "Halo Wars 2 has been updated and needs to restart."

Cheatz

Lastly, Dan over at Creative Assembly also sent over a quick note in response to increased forum chatter from players who are accusing the Halo Wars 2 AI opponents of cheating. Now them's fightin' words! One of the core design goals for the game was to make sure the AI plays with a fair and human-like approach without any cheats, buffs or advantages. Here's the word straight from the AI designer:

Recently we have been seeing a few threads discussing the skirmish AI and its cheats. We wanted to assure players that the skirmish AI is designed to not have any form of cheating – it has to abide every regular rule that you have to deal with as a player.

This means that for example the resourcing, unit production, scouting all work as if the AI players were human. If you do find that something looks off (like the micro-management during Glassing that you mentioned here), please let us know, because those are bugs and are not intended!

So there you have it - the Skirmish AI isn't cheating! If you need some tips to improve your skillz head down below and see two Halo Wars 2 unit strategy guides we've highlighted this week.

Radar Blips

Activity detected! We've got blips incoming! I'll be sad if I'm ever forced to get rid of this radar, won't someone please think of the poor blips!?

  • Hall of Fame, baby! Last week we shared the news that Halo: Combat Evolved was a finalist for inclusion in the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Today the results are in and we're thrilled to say that Halo: CE has been added to the World Video Game Hall of Fame! Halo joins a prestigious and legendary list of titles that includes classics like Doom, The Legend of Zelda, Pac-Man, and Pong. As a lifelong Halo fan I'm hardly surprised - to me, there was never any doubt as Halo is a game that has touched the lives of millions, spawned an incredible global community, and helped move the genre and industry forward. The fact that I've spent over a decade of my life working with the franchise and spent years working alongside the Bungie team that created Halo: CE makes this acknowledgment even more personal and awesome. Congratulations Halo, and thank you to everyone across the community who has supported the franchise for the past 15+ years to earn this spot in the Hall of Fame.
  • This month the beloved animated anthology Halo: Legends returns to Netflix! If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for? It's still one of my all-time favorite Halo franchise endeavors so do yourself a favor and check it out.
  • 343's Kiki Wolfkill joined The Ringer podcast to discuss "How Writers Add Story to Multiplayer-First Video Games." Kiki, and Michael Chu of Overwatch, share their thoughts on "grappling with storytelling in games." You can read more at the the site or listen for yourself here.  

343 Team Spotlight

Not everyone at 343 (or any game studio for that matter) is tasked with actually building games. Making games and running a studio is a full blown business so this week I'm shining the spotlight on a corner of the building that historically operates behind the scenes but is an instrumental part in just about every facet of the studio's operations. Please join me in welcoming Mark Yelverton!

Hey Mark! Welcome to the 343 Team Spotlight! To get things started can you tell us what your role is here at 343 and how long you’ve been with the team? 

Mark: I joined 343 about a two and half years ago and work in the business side of the studio as the Franchise Business Manager for Halo Wars 2 and Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. My role is essentially to be the connective tissue between all the various functions involved in game development to make sure the title is an awesome experience for our fans.

What were you up to prior to joining 343? What’s your background?

Mark: I have two degrees, a BS in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin (HOOK EM!!) [Roll Tide ;) - Grim] and a MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas with a focus in Finance. Before joining 343, I worked for the Xbox Finance team in a Finance manager role responsible for projects spanning the entire Xbox business. Since these projects didn’t sit completely in one line of business (i.e. console), they quickly got bounced for me to dive into. Two of my favorite projects were around analyzing pricing for Xbox products and landing the NFL / Microsoft partnership as the finance lead valuing the deal.

 Did you always want to work in the games industry? Why?

Mark: Growing up I played a ton of games. Mostly on the PC early on (Command and Conquer was my jam) and then switching to Xbox once "BillG" came on stage at CES in 2001 to announce it. I was so mad I let my Xbox LIVE subscription drop in college or else I would be right up there with Phil with 15 years on the service (I guess 11 is okay too). That said, I kind of sat in the middle of all the “cliques” in my youth. I loved playing and was good at sports - Football, Hockey, Soccer, anything competitive. I was smart and did well in school, especially problem solving and math-like subjects. I liked making videos (some creative and some with my friends doing stupid things). I didn’t really know what to identify as and where to focus, so I didn’t.

I made my way all the way to undergrad without clear focus and it was only when I started to dive deeper into the areas I liked did I discover gaming and analytics were a perfect intersection for me. Through my “re-focus” attempt in grad school, I was lucky to get an opportunity to come to Microsoft to show what I can do. I joined the Finance Rotation program which allowed me to have four different jobs over two years. Through those four experiences I knew I wanted to be in Xbox but needed to hone in on the type of analytical role. On my fourth and final rotation, I landed the perfect role working for my first “Full Time” manager, Tim Stuart, on the central finance team. Been diving deep into Xbox ever since!

 What prompted you to join 343?

Mark: Who wouldn’t want to be a part of 343?!? I mean, Master Chief and running an Ethernet cable from my room down to the router to play Halo CE through a make-shift multiplayer service before LIVE came and contributed to many late-night 4v4 split-screen multiplayer matches in college! When I had the opportunity to take my analytical skills and be on a kick ass team, that was an easy decision. One of the best moments of my career was seeing my name in the Halo 5 credits (right next to Phil’s)…what a cool moment!

 What does being a Franchise Business Manager entail? What’s a typical ‘day in the life’ for you here at 343?

Mark: It is really hard to answer that question as my day and focus is all over the place. I think the breadth is the thing I gravitate towards since I get to see so many things. One day it could be landing a contract with Creative Assembly to develop Halo Wars 2, the next day it could be spending hours down in the playtest lab giving feedback on Halo 5 before it was launched. My “seat” at the table is through the financials, so typically anything financial related is something I am responsible for analyzing, approving, driving, and/or influencing. A project I recently worked on was partnering with THQ Nordic to bring a PC boxed project to the European Economic area. I was responsible for setting contract terms, coordinating box art / assets, monitoring performance, and better understanding future opportunities. Essentially think of me a Dev project manager for the money the studio brings in.

When people think of a game studio they always think of designers, engineers, artists, producers, etc… But a game studio requires more than just the people that actually build the game content itself. What’s it like being a “businessy” type person in a studio that’s predominantly comprised of “development” personnel?

Mark: While I may hold a different function than the rest of the studio, at the heart we are all gamers and have tons of experience with all types of genres and platforms. So working with all the “development” personnel just means I bring a different perspective to trying to make kick-ass games. So much of our day is talking about games and what we like and don’t like. I am just now getting around to playing Witcher 3 and I find myself dissecting it and asking myself “why do you like this game?” as that helps me when doing my business-y things in my day-to-day.

What’s a common misconception out there that you think players have regarding the business of game development / running a game studio?

Mark: I think people think of the business people as trying to suck money out of players. That isn’t our job. Our job is to help create great experiences for gamers and then the financials will follow. If you make a game to just make money, I think you miss the mark from the onset. We at 343 want to bring great experiences to people’s lives.

How does the business team help inform and guide studio priorities in a world where we have “pie in the sky” creative ideas that aren’t always in alignment with fiscal reality?

Mark: I think everyone knows what it is like to have resource constraints. We do it in our day-to-day lives. I would love to have a pair of Bowers and Wilkins 800 D3 speakers in my house, but I know that isn’t in the realm of reasonableness (I like movies and music). We have to take the same mentality when creating games and our job is to help create the goal posts where the dev team can operate and how we can maximize positive gamer experiences within those constraints. If I from a business perspective can find ways to lower costs, then we are able to make the goal posts bigger, enabling more we can do as a studio.

What other groups do you partner with the most within 343? What about across Microsoft as a whole? (LCA, etc..)

Mark: Is everyone an okay answer? Just sitting in my part of the building are the people I interact with daily: Marketing, PR, HR, Finance, Legal, Biz Dev, Game Teams. We also team up with Console, Xbox LIVE, Accessories, Store, Azure…so many. [It's OK Mark, we work together but I won't take it personally you left out the Community Team :) - ske7ch]

What do you enjoy the most about your role here? What’s the biggest challenge you face as a Franchise Business Manager?

Mark: One of the greatest things about the role is something I alluded to before, working with so many teams. I get to see facets of the business I never would have seen in a more focused role. At the same time, all those people create the biggest challenge as my job is ensuring all parties are informed and bought off on actions of 343. Sometimes this is quick and other times can require a few cycles to get to a common ground.

What are some of the tools of the trade required in your role? I assume you aren’t using 3D Studio Max or Visual Studio?

Mark: I would say the tool of the trade is the ability to think analytically. I leverage Excel a lot but all the program does is create another way to “write code” in the language of formulas and functions. When evaluating various business opportunities for 343, I need to understand the various inputs and how they come together to tell the story. Excel will be the nails and hammer, but the real magic is when you are able to take complex and detailed information and boil it down to its key points.

What advice do you have for fans out there might want to follow in your footsteps some day? What skillsets are necessary to succeed? What kind of experience/education is required?

Mark: The easiest way to land a role like this is start early thinking what you enjoy and are good at. Once you figure that out, it is easier to figure out how to make a career out of it. I attribute my early professional success to my ability to have efficiencies in Excel and taking two steps when others take four to solve a problem. So, I would say Excel is a powerful tool someone in my role can leverage, but even more powerful is the thinking behind creating efficiencies and problem solving. Learn to “tell your story” because there are thousands of people gunning for the same position you are. How can you stand out?

What’s your favorite Halo game and/or mode? Why?

Mark: Ohhh that is hard, but recently I would say Super Fiesta. There were so many times I would come to work and ask the Business Manager for Halo 5 when Super Fiesta was going to be a permanent mode…finally!!! We sit in open space here at 343 and I frequently get three of my other co-workers to hop on for some rounds to break up the day at the office. Whenever someone gets “The Answer” while playing, we call it out and protect that person since we typically can do some major damage with those exploding bullets!

Any parting words or final thoughts you’d like to leave with our community?

Mark: Keep providing feedback. Good or bad, we are listening and taking the “data” in as we think about our next business-y opportunity! We love Halo just as much as you and can always learn from diverse perspectives!

 Thanks for taking the time to be a part of the Spotlight, Mark! Readers - if you have any requests for a future spotlight victim, let me know!

The Community Spotlight is working overtime of late on account of so much awesome stuff coming out of the Halo community! This week we've got a litlte bit of everything - an accomplishment a decade in the making, incredible cosplay, disgustingly cool art, plenty of screenshots, and a brand new Forge map contest!

Halo Customs par for the course Battlegolf Contest!

Our friends over at Halocustoms.com are kicking off a Forge contest to build new and unqiue Battlegolf experiences to Halo 5! Here's the scoop:

We can't get enough of the new Battle Golf mini game mode released last December. The original course, Sandtrap Resort, proved that the mode had a lot of potential. So, we decided to harness the creative power of the Forge community to see just how far that potential could be taken. 

The goal of Par for the Course is to create new and unique Battle Golf experiences without requiring the complex scripting seen on the original course. To that end, the mode’s original creator has kindly provided prefabs to aid Forgers in setting up their own courses with ease. We’re very excited to partner with 343 Industries to bring some great prizes to the contest as well. We can’t wait to see what sorts of creative, wacky courses contestants come up with! 

Contest Prizing

  • First place: A rare Play Arts Halo: Reach Red Team Mark V[B] Figure (2011 SDCC & Japan Expo Exclusive), a Halo 5 wristwatch, Halo Wars: Definitive Edition digital code, Halo 5: Voices of War REQ Pack, Halo 5: Classic Helmet Pack and the Halo 5 343 Unicorn Skin.
  • Second place: Halo Wars: Definitive Edition digital code, Halo 5: Voices of War REQ Pack, Halo 5: Classic Helmet REQ Pack, and Halo 5 343 Unicorn Skin.
  • Third Place: Halo 5 Voices of War REQ Pack, Halo 5 Classic Helmet Collection REQ Pack, and the Halo 5 343 Unicorn Skin.
Contest Details
  • Maps must be created in Halo 5: Guardians' or Halo 5: Forge for Windows 10's Forge mode
  • Maps must work for the official Battle Golf Mini Game variant at the 4v4 player count with all necessary scripting for scoring to function (see resources below)
  • Maps do not need to change each round via scripting like the original course does (though creative use of scripting will definitely not go unnoticed)
  • Maps must be submitted before 11:59 PM EST on June 15th, 2017
  • Maps may be constructed on any canvas in Halo 5.
  • Co-forging is allowed
  • Multiple submissions per person are allowed

Resources

For more info please check out the Battle Golf Contest page over at Halocustoms.com!

The Cage

We noticed this awesome story over at Kotaku and definitely wanted to share and celebrate this awesome accomplishment! Long story short: For years the Termacious Trickocity group has been trying to get inside "The Cage" in Halo 3's Sierra 117 level. Now, nearly ten years after the games release, they've done it! The tricking community has been at this a long time so major props on this monumental achievement. What's next?

Game Guides

Looking to elevate your Halo Wars 2 multiplayer strategy or tackle Halo Wars: DE Legendary campaign? Check out these great community created guides!

Halo Wars 2 - Grunt Squad & Skitterer Opener

Halo Wars 2 - Skitterer-Chopper Defensive Build Order Guide

Halo Wars: DE Legendary Solo Missions Guide

Steam member Martinoz put together a comprehensive guide covering the entire campaign to help you earn gold medals in your Legendary solo playthrough. You can check it out HERE.

COSPLAY

The Halo Community has never been short on amazing Cosplay creations and this week two folks in particular caught my attention.

Sarah Campbell works on 343's Consumer Products team by day and is an active member of the 405th by night. She shared some great images with me of armor created by Robert Letts, aka Asgardianhammer, which I simply had to share here. Robert's Halo: Reach "EOD" and Halo 4 "Hazop" suits are just incredible! Robert is the Division Identity Officer for the 405th and you can check out more of his work over on his Deviant Art page and/or follow him on Twitter.

Over on the Halo subreddit I came across SketchesFromMidgards post about his recently completed "RvBverse Medic" armor which was 2 years in the making and, IMO, turned out awesome!

As we start to get into the Summer con season I'll be on the lookout for much more Halo Cosplay goodness!

Art

ThemeFinland shared this awesome Flood pure form painting that was just begging to be spotlighted. Check out his DeviantArt post here.

Screenshots

With the release of the "Rock 'n' Rail" rotational playlist in Halo 5 today I put out a call for some screenshots featuring Rocket Launchers and Rail Guns. Here are a few of my favorites:

BeachesPls did such a great job with depth-of-field and a clean image that I had to use it for this week's front page module image! (*Note this one apparently had some magic worked on it in post which is OK though going forward I'll try to stick to legit in-game shots)

It's getting hot in herrrrre in TheArbiter_117's SPNKR screenshot.

This haunting image comes from A_Forerunner_AI.

I'm really digging the armor accents and popping contrasting colors in Danygrunt's screenshot. 

SpartanofLuck's screenshot reminded me of E.T... minus the bicycle, alien and kid. 

Note: WOW, you all have blown me away with so many awesome screenshots! I'm catching up on my feed and can see there are way more awesome screens than I can include this time around. I'm going to look at doing a bigger screenshot blowout next week, too much goodness not to share. 

Community Playdate w/ Greenskull

Online streaming personality and 343 pal Greenskull let us know that he's hosting a SIX HOUR Halo 5 customs & matchmaking game streaming event on Saturday from 3PM-9PM PT. He'll be streaming live over at Beam.pro/Greenskull and welcomes anyone and everyone to stop by and join the stream, join in on some games and generally hang out (there will be prizes!). 

Remember - if you have cool stuff for the Spotlight please let us know! We're always on the lookout for great fan creations (art, screenshots, Forge maps, videos, cosplay, etc..!) as well as just great stories from the heart of the community. Hit us up on Twitter and make sure to let @ske7ch, @GrimBrotherOne, and/or @Unyshek know. 

Play of the Week

What happens when Uny leaves the Play of the Week up to me? Well, you get something like the below which I found pretty awesome in a "huh, I never knew you could do that" kind of way. Plus, I'm known to fall off maps... from time to time. 

I think the title on Reddit says it all: "VERY IMPORTANT PSA: If you and another idiot fall off of Tyrant at similar points in time, you can ground pound each other before you fall to your death." 

I'd include the video but I'm told people will rage if I embed the 16MB .gif directly so you can go HERE to watch it.

Thanks to zrhodes2 for this helpful and insightful teaching!

And with that we come to the end of another update. Thanks as always for tuning in and we hope to see you online tomorrow for some Rock 'n' Rail action! Oh, and lest I forget - May the Fourth Be With You! 

ske7ch