Do you know what the hardest part of writing blogs like this is for me? It’s not the content or making sure all the ducks are in a row. It’s writing intros and outros. This week, I tried to gather some intro-spiration from the Halo’d Pantheon of authors before me but the universe had other things in mind and nothing would load. So we’re here and I’ve heard the “do your own work instead of trying to be someone else” lesson, loud and clear.
For those of you at home keeping track, Halo and Xbox both turn 20 this year. Can you believe it? Twenty. Years. The journey has been nothing short of incredible and I still can't believe I have had the opportunity to be here, working on the future of Halo. It's been an absolute dream come true and I can't think of a more exciting time to be a Halo fan than now. 💚
(You can grab a 4K image by clicking above or by taking a look at our latest press kit!)
Halo Gear, HCS, MCC recaps… There’s no shortage of things to cover this month. Let’s jump in and check it out, shall we?
HALO: THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION
Everyone in the studio is hard at work and our Publishing Team is no exception. They are absolutely crushing it with their work on MCC and have continued to put out Season after Season, all while flighting other things in the meantime. Absolutely no easy task, especially during a pandemic.
CGB AND SEASON 7 FLIGHTING
MCC team recently wrapped up the first public scale test of the fabled and long-awaited Custom Games Browser (CGB). We recapped this in our latest flighting and dev update (bookmark this link – we post these updates weekly!) but if you just want the highlights, I got you covered. The ultimate sum-up is: You had feedback, you provided it to us, and we’re listening and working on that. Some of the top themes:
- Searching, sorting, filtering CGB content
- Full session confusion (Is it full? Joinable? Is there a queue?)
- Lack of game session information
- Host controls (Give me the power!)
While there’s no public release date, we know you’re eager to play JENGA and Assassination Towers all night and we’re working on making sure you can do that.
In the meantime, Pub Team is heads down preparing for Season 7 flighting too. Ring 1 is hands-on with the content right now and we’re gathering bug reports and feedback while we work to finalize the release plans. There’s a lot of Really Exciting Content™ in this next update and we want to be sure things roll out smoothly. When the flight is ready for public testing, here’s the areas that we’ll be focusing on:
- Visual improvements for Halo: Combat Evolved to better mirror legacy
- Improvements to the maps Waterfall and Edge
- Season 7 customization content
If you’re wondering, “Yes! That all sounds great, how do I sign up?” then it’s your lucky day...
HALO INSIDER REGISTRATION
We rely on community participation to help test and flight content prior to release. This can range from MCC Seasons, features, and more. If you’d like to participate, signing up is easy. You can head over to the Halo Insider Program page and register today! Please be sure that you use a valid email address and verify your registration. No verification = no participation. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that your information is as up to date as possible. If you recently managed to get your hands on a
unicorn new GPU, give us a new DXDIAG! If you upgraded to more teraflops with a Series X|S console, let us know.
Reiterating the point: If your email address and registration is not fully updated and verified, we will be unable to invite you to our flights.
Hopefully reading about everything that MCC team has been tackling has you itching to pick up the sticks. Season 6: Raven is a great time to jump in and get your feet wet. There’s tons of cosmetics to unlock, you can shop the local Exchange with your painstakingly saved Season Points, and more. You can get the low-down on what’s up with the current goings-on by taking a gander at our launch blog.
My personal favorite addition was the introduction of Escalation Slayer for Halo: Reach, Halo 2: Anniversary, and Halo 4. You may have played a version of this in other games but there’s something exciting about starting off on an even playing field and then having to run the gauntlet of weapons to earn that victory. This playlist rotated into MCC yesterday for 4v4 and FFA so if you haven’t yet, I highly recommend you give it a whirl while it’s featured! We also restocked the Exchange with new offerings (as we do each Wednesday) so feel free to window shop while you’re there.
One final additional housekeeping note about quits and quit bans. We’re aware that the messaging could be clearer but we wanted to remind players that if half of your team quits the current match, you may leave without any quit penalty – regardless of what the pop-up says.
We know real life happens and sometimes quitting is unavoidable; it happens to the best of us once in a while. Quitting for frivolous reasons is less okay and impacts matchmaking for everyone else in the game. When you queue up matchmaking to play games, the expectation is that you play out the game – win or lose. In an effort to support fair play and full matches, we'll be rolling out our new quit ban ladder soon. Here’s what you can expect if you choose to leave matches early:
- 1st offense: 5 minutes
- 2nd offense: 15 minutes
- 3rd offense: 30 minutes
- 4th offense: 60 minutes
- 5th offense: 180 minutes
- 6th offense: 16 hours
Now, we're off to the land of esports and their upcoming calendar of events!
Any competitively inclined player knows the grind doesn’t stop. If you’re looking for something new to try your hand at, aiming to support your fellow players, or maybe snag some new nameplates to adorn your Gamertag in MCC, you have options and I’m here to be your guide.
There's a whole slew of events happening so hopefully you find something that is your cup of tea!
THE HALO INFINITE ESPORTS ECOSYSTEM
The HCS team has been quietly laying the groundwork for the future of Halo Infinite esports. We've been lucky to get some peeks behind the curtain in the form of their "Designing the Halo Esports Ecosystem" series of blogs. Tashi's latest edition explains why sponsors are important to an esports program and how they will play a role in our future endeavors. If you're interested, read up on it now!
If you aren’t familiar with Cliptrocity, it’s basically Top Shots for Halo. Did you land some super sick 720 no-scope? Get a clutch exterm to win a match? Land an insane killtac? If you didn’t clip it, it didn’t happen, but if you have clips, then the HCS team wants to see those plays! Grab a Twitch clip, put “#HaloCliptrocity” somewhere in the name, then tweet it out using #HaloCliptrocity and tag @HCS to throw your hat in the ring.
If you’re like me and just here to see the plays you can only dream of, you can watch the latest Top 10 and take notes.
GRASSROOTS BTB PLAYDATE – LADIES' NIGHT
If you’ve set your sights on the Subzero Sniper nameplate, you have another chance to bag it tomorrow, May 14. HCS Grassroots member @Lady_Echidna has put together a squad of superwomen and will be setting up shop in MCC’s Big Team Battle. You’ll find the ladies searching Halo: Reach, Halo 3, and Halo 4 with all options EXCEPT Heavies and AR starts selected. Match them in-game (and complete the match!) between 5-7pm PT to earn your very own nameplate.
PS – Did we mention that each streamer has 5 Frozen Ring nameplates up for grabs too? You’ll have to cheer on the streamers to earn that one since awarding it is up to each lady’s discretion. Catch the action on your choice of stream:
HCS GRASSROOTS SWATNATION – HALO 4 EVA
If you prefer more fast-paced action, SWATNation is here to serve up headshots. On Wednesday, May 19 from 4-6pm PT, join the crew on MCC for some Halo 4 SWAT. If you find yourself lucky enough to go toe-to-toe with them, you’ll earn a Frozen Ring nameplate of your very own. Alternatively, you can hang out in chat and cheer people on for a chance to snag the Subzero Sniper nameplate from the streamer.
So who should you be on the lookout for? I gotchu covered:
EUROPA HALO – MAY BTB
For those that are across the pond or in timezones that are less favorable to matching US streamers, the folks over at Europa Halo are hosing their own BTB night on Tuesday, May 18. Find UberNick and his company of hired guns to nab your own Frozen Ring nameplate. And, much like the Grassroots playdate, each streamer has 5 Frozen Ring nameplates in their pocket to give away as they deem fit.
Here’s the crew to keep an eye out for. Oh and good luck, you’ll need it:
Europa Halo x EGL 4v4 Series
The Spring Series is on-going and sign-ups for week 2 are open now. If you're in Europe and want to jump in for some 4v4 Halo, you can sign up today. No team? No problem! Join their Discord to find some battle buddies to party up with. Signing up is free so you should definitely do that today. If you want more information, you can always keep an eye on their Twitter account.
GTHALO SPRING FLING AND SNIPER SHOWDOWN
April shower bring May flowers which is the perfect time for a Spring Fling! Our friends at Greater Toronto Halo are putting together a unique 4v4 tournament for MCC. It’s a showdown of unique proportions as you can only register with a buddy and teams of 4 will be created by pairing up duos. Put your communication, callouts, and teamwork to the test as you run the gamut of games across MCC. Exclusive nameplates are on the line so if you’re up for a challenge, check out the information from GTHalo. Good luck!
One shot. One kill. That's all it takes when it comes to a battle of the long barreled rifles. If you think you've got the precision, focus, and determination that it takes to best your fellow Spartans in a sniper shootout, it's all going down on May 26. Keep an eye on the Greater Toronto team for more information as the event draws closer.
KELLOGG'S ESPORTS ARENA TOURNAMENTS
The series of Halo 5 FFA tournaments over the past 5 weeks all comes down to this. With $15,000 on the line, the Grand Finals kick off on Sunday, May 16 at noon. The culimination of the top 8 players from the previous qualifiers square off in the arena 1v1. First place goes home with a cool $10,000 so this is a show you won't want to miss. Follow the EsportsArena Twitch channel and turn on notifications so you can join chat for the action!
HALO 5: GUARDIANS
If you’re still shooting for 152, we’re still doling out Double XP in our weekly rotational/featured playlists. There’s something for everyone so if this week isn’t your cuppa, check again next week! For those of you that prefer to “1v1 me bro,” you’ll be pleased to see Ranked Head to Head rotating back into the ranked hoppers for the Summer 2021 Season. Pack a punch with those pistols, Spartans, and emerge victorious.
Here’s the full schedule for the next couple months:
- May 6: Action Sack rotates in for Community Slayer
- May 13: CE Anniversary Throwback rotates in for Action Sack
- May 13: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
- May 20: Castle Wars rotates in for CE Anniversary Throwback
- May 27: Triple Team rotates in for Castle Wars
- May 27: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend
- June 3: Summer 2021 Arena Season begins
- June 3: Ranked Head to Head rotates in for Ranked Snipers for the Month
- June 3: Core Play rotates in for Triple Team
- June 10: Covenant Slayer rotates in for Core Play
- June 10: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
- June 17: Rock 'n' Rail rotates in for Covenant Slayer
- June 24: ODST Slayer rotates in for Rock 'n' Rail
- June 24: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend
There's no shortage of awesome artifacts for collectors to get their hands on and I've seen some absolutely incredible pieces. Toys, to coins, to anniversary gear, we got it all.
World of Halo Toymation: Our partner Jazwares collaborated with the incredibly talented D.M. Galloway of @dgdxofficial to create not one, but three fantastic action-packed stop motion moments featuring Master Chief and some of your favorite World of Halo figures. Be sure to check them out on our YouTube and to learn more about the different sets check out the official site.
Master Chief Chibi Coin: Looking for the next truly impressive piece of Halo Merch for your collection? Look no further than this beautiful Master Chief Chibi coin from New Zealand Mint, a true limited-edition collectible with only 2,000 coins being produced. The pure silver coin is stamped confirming legal tender and a Certificate of Authenticity is printed on the box, along with confirmation of the coin’s unique serial number.
Halo 20th Anniversary Gear: Celebrate two decades of Halo love with a fantastic new collection fit for any Spartan. Check out the Gear Shop for all the latest.
- AAPIHM: May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! To acknowledge our team members and their contributions we collaborated on a very special social beat that celebrates the richness and diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander culture through pattern and color.
- Community Spotlight: This month, I delivered the goods with another beautiful bunch of community creations. Whether you’re looking for the Halo Kitty Grunt, some quality cosplay, or something completely different, there’s a little spring sunshine for everyone.
- Halo Xbox 360 Service Sunsetting: Don’t Forget! This December services for legacy Halo Xbox 360 titles will be discontinued. Game owners will be able to play these titles indefinitely, but there may be some impacts of this change. Be sure to check out the blog for all the details.
- May Employee Spotlight: Irene Zhu is a UX expert supporting the tools used to build Halo Infinite. Learn how she builds trust as a designer and made the jump to games when she joined 343 Industries.
- Smash Enemies, Score Goals: The DJBluePDX Grifball Summer Series, powered by DreamHack, rolls on. Catch the Halo: Reach draft game on DJ's Twitch channel on May 22. If you're eyeing that Halo 3 Grifball event, sign-ups open on May 29 so mark your calendars. In the meantime, for all other info, be sure to follow @PlayGrifball and keep those swords sharp!
Our road to Fall 2021 continues and teams across the studio are pouring their hearts and souls into the game.
The latest installment of our Inside Infinite blogs was centered around the PC experience and what the wizards on the PC team are doing to build a first class experience for players in that ecosystem. We talked graphics, FOV, settings, triple keybinds, and so much more.
If you're a PC player then this edition is for you. As an added bonus, click the image above then step back and marvel at the majesty of the W I D E FOV options.
Later this month, we're getting cozy with the Waypoint team to talk about all things website. I've seen glimpses of the new coat of paint that's coming and it's super slick. I don't want to steal their thunder so I'll leave it at that for now!
CANON FODDER ISSUE 113: PEEK DESIGN
Yet another compelling issue of Canon Fodder, this one with some ties to Halo Infinite, hit the (digital) shelves! We all know we'll be seeing the Banished as we meander along Zeta Halo and GrimBrother One helpfully puts names to some of the fearsome foes we'll be facing.
That's not all you'll find – there's also a collection of recaps about Kelly Gay's recent novel Halo: Point of Light, some canon-centric communities to learn about, and a new vehicle that will drive you hog wild.
I was looking through the folder of assets that have been approved to release to you and noticed this one by none other than Isaac Hannaford. Then I remembered that Isaac recently made himself a twitter account (welcome to 2021, Isaac!) and, well, the timing is fortitous. Enjoy this concept sketch of the Betrayal on Talista from Mythos. As always, clicking the image below will net you with a pretty 4K copy or you can click this link.
That'll do it for this month! At the rate this year is zooming by, it'll be June tomorrow, probably. You can always follow along on our official Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook channels for all the latest news until the next Community Update. Oh before I forget – if you've been looking to dress up your desktops, may I recommend the fantastic 20th Anniversary wallpapers? Again. 😇