News

Spring Seasonings

By -

Today, just like any day, seems like a great day to talk about Halo. I'm glad we're doing this Community Update now, because it's quite possible if we waited another week it would become too much to handle in one post. We've rolled out a new Arena Season in Halo 5, released another update to MCC, added a map to Halo Wars 2, begun final preparations for back-to-back HCS events, unveiled the title of our next Halo novel, and gained two more members for the Halo Infinite Pro Team. Since a simple rundown isn't enough, let's talk about all of the details!

Halo 5: Guardians

The Spring 2019 Season just kicked off in Halo 5 and brought some pretty big changes to Doubles as well as new maps to Free-For-All.

Doubles

After hearing lots of feedback surrounding Doubles, we wanted to make a shift in the playlist, however, implementing them in the middle of a Season just didn't seem like the right thing to do. This meant we'd have to update them during a Season change, and so we prepared and polished all Winter to have updated maps for this Spring 2019 Season. A lot of the maps received fairly hefty overhauls, so it's worth jumping in and seeing it for yourself.

For the curious, here's a list of the maps currently in Doubles:

If you don't recognize the four Forge maps we've added, you must've missed out on Community Doubles! We ran the playlist twice in order to put these maps through the gauntlet that is online matchmaking, and these four emerged as quality candidates for our ranked Doubles experience.

To read up on all our changes for Doubles, head to our Forums here on Waypoint!

Free-For-All

As mentioned above, we’ve also added new maps to Free-For-All for all the lone wolves out there. In the playlist, you’ll be able to find updated versions of Echelon, Furnace, and Seclusion from Community Slayer as well as White Cell from Team Slayer. After playtesting internally, we believe that these four maps will be an excellent addition to the Free-For-All experience.

If you'd like to leave feedback on the maps or discuss how they play in matchmaking, you can do so right here on our Forums!

Social Playlists

I'm sure there are plenty of you out there that like to plan out your Halo time a full month in advance. To help you optimize your Halo playtime with your favorite modes in Halo 5, we've locked in our social playlist plan for the rest of the month. Take a look and prep your next few weeks accordingly!

  • March 7: Core Play rotates in for Halo 3 Classic Throwback
  • March 14: Forerunner Slayer rotates in for Triple Team
  • March 14: Warzone Assault goes live for the weekend
  • March 21: Castle Wars rotates in for Core Play
  • March 28: Rock 'n' Rail rotates in for Forerunner Slayer
  • March 28: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend

Also, here's a little tease of the work happening on the Big Team Battle refresh courtesy of the Halo 5 Sustain Team!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

As I began writing about our latest update to MCC, I realized that it would probably be way better if I just tossed to ske7ch's forum post with all the information about it. You can read a condensed version of it below or the full version here on our Forums!

Following all the feedback gathered from the community regarding social and competitive playlist offerings, this update focuses on matchmaking. Focusing on the social playlists, we are bringing Halo: Combat Evolved Action Sack, adding a few maps for Halo 2 Classic Team Snipers, and some cleanup for Halo 2 Anniversary across a few modes. On the competitive side, we are retiring both the H2A and H2C Team Arenas while bringing both H2C and H2A Team Hardcore online. Outside of matchmaking, the main menu is returning to its state prior to October’s Flood takeover.

Main Menu

The end of February also draws a close on the Black History month celebration and, as a result, we are retiring the Warthog winter background; pressing reset as we move forward into March. The past few months have been fun from changing up the look and feel of the menus, adding community maps, and introducing some much asked for features. We have had fun working with the community to bring new life to the loading screens and we are looking forward to the next update.

Social Games

As a result of community feedback, we’ve also updated the following for Social Games:

  • 4v4 HCS Action Sack: Chiron-TL34, Chill Out, and Rat Race support Team Muskets
    • Team Musket: A Team Slayer variant consisting of no shields and shotguns (Similar to ShWATguns from later titles, just with more health)
  • 4v4 HCE Action Sack: Battle Creek, Chill Out, and Wizard support Team Rocketball4v4 HCE Action Sack: Moved Reverse Tag on Damnation from Asset Denial to Action Sack
    • Rocketball: Who doesn’t love blowing up a friend? (Yes this is what it sounds like – Oddball with Rockets)
  • 4v4 HCE Action Sack: Chill Out, Longest, and Rat Race support Team Reign4v4 H2C Snipers: Added Lockout, Midship, Beaver Creek, and Sanctuary and retuned weighting
    • Team Reign: An Oddball variant where a player on each team is ‘it’ and must be protected at all costs
  • 2v2v2v2 Action Sack: Score to win in Fiesta increased from 25 to 50
  • 8v8 H2A Flag and Bomb: Reduced number of rounds from 6 to 4 for One Flag CTF and One Bomb Assault
  • 8v8 H2A Zone Control: Added attack/defend Territories to Remnant and Stonetown
  • 8v8 H2A all: Disabled Sudden Death and better aligned game settings across modes

Competitive Games

We have also made some changes to our Competitive Games offerings. We are retiring H2C Team Arena in favor of H2C Team Hardcore to focus our ranked playlists on the most hardcore settings while the arena experience can be found in Social Games. If you think what you have it takes, hop in and try your shot at the professional gaming settings that were used during the era of Halo 2 Classic.

Additional changes for Competitive Games:

  • H2C Team Arena is replaced with H2C Team Hardcore.H2A Team Arena is replaced with H2A Team Hardcore (the original HCS maps and settings)
    • All H2C Arena contents can still be played in Match Composer
  • Betrayal and Suicide penalties have been disabled in Hardcore

Boot up your playlist of choice to try out these changes and have some fun. As always, thank you for playing and we will see you online!

Thanks ske7ch! Now, it's time we head over to the game that celebrated its birthday last month!

Halo Wars 2

The original Halo Wars celebrated its birthday last week, making it now a full decade young. To celebrate that milestone, we brought one of its most popular maps over to Halo Wars 2 – Fort Deen – in the form of Fort Jordan!

To learn more about Fort Jordan, the process it took to bring it over to Halo Wars 2, and how to play now, just click anywhere here that looks like it's hyperlinked.. because it is.

Halo Championship Series

After lots of mentions in previous Community Updates, the HCS Invitational at SXSW is finally upon us! Next week at the legendary SXSW festival in Austin, TX, we'll be bringing the fun with competitive Halo. After that, we'll adventuring to our second-ever HCS Grassroots event, Gamers for Giving. This means we'll be traveling from a (hopefully) warmer climate in Texas to the wild midwest winter in Michigan. Let's take a closer look at these events!

HCS Invitational at SXSW: March 15-17

Actually, Tashi just swung by my desk to let me know we've got some pretty cool news about that last bullet point. Two of the eight spots in the Free For All Finals will be awarded to players who compete in a Free For All at the local Microsoft Store at The Domain in Austin this Satuday, March 9 starting at 4pm. If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to him on Twitter!

If you want to purchase wristbands for the event, you can do so here! To watch online next weekend on your computer or on your couch, we'll be live all weekend on mixer.com/Halo and twitch.tv/Halo!

Gamers for Giving: March 22-24

The week immediately after our trip down to SXSW, we'll be heading up to Michigan for the Gamers Outreach Foundation's charity event, Gamers for Giving! The HCS Team has jumped in to officially support their Halo 3 4v4 tournament via the HCS Grassroots program.

For the last-minute planners, I've got some links to help you out:

We hope you can watch one or both of these events, because we're sure they are going to be a good time!

Halo Gear

If you haven't noticed by now, our Halo Gear team always up to something – and its always awesome. Here are some of their most recent headlines, some of which have been in the works for a while now, that they can finally share with everyone!

Halo: Outpost Discovery

Submissions for Community Panels at each of our Halo: Outpost Discovery locations are now open! Whether it’s fan-hosted roundtables focused on Halo lore, how-tos on building your own cosplay armor, or maybe a group of Halo-playing parents looking to offer advice on family engagement and online safety, community-hosted panels of varying subjects are just one element that will help enrich the entire experience at Outpost Discovery, and we’re excited to see what ideas you might have in mind. Show us what you've got!

Halo: Lone Wolf

Issue #3 dropped in stores yesterday! With Covenant forces closing in on her location, Linda-058 must rally the human settlers under a single essential cause: protect an AI that contains the bulk of human history. Secure a physical copy here or get a digital version here!

Halo: Oblivion (NEW BOOK!)

We've started talking about lore, which means Grim has something to say!

Thanks, Uny – and hi everyone else! Man, it feels like just last week we were poring over the latest Canon Fodder to dissect details derived from some of our latest fiction fountains. This week, however, were looking a bit further ahead. Last year, fiction fans all over the globe were treated to an awesome old-school adventure – particularly if you find Blue Team beloved – as our favorite extended-universe icons took the early days of the Covenant War by storm. Silent Storm to be specific. The Troy Denning-penned novel by the same name gave us a new look at the Spartan-II program, and the harrowing scenarios they constantly found themselves in to try and give humanity a fighting chance. If you haven’t checked out Halo: Silent Storm yet, you owe it to yourself to do so. It’s already available in hardcover, but if you prefer paperback (or, like me, just want something that maintains a consistent size on your shelf), then you’ll be happy to know that it will be available later this summer.

So why am I telling you to make sure you check out Silent Storm? Because today we’re excited to announce its sequel, Halo: Oblivion. Troy Denning has put together another fantastic journey for you to go on, but instead of me just yapping, let’s take a look at the official description:

2526. It has been more than a year since humanity first encountered the hostile military alliance of alien races known as the Covenant, and several weeks after the United Nations Space Command’s devastating counterattack of Operation: SILENT STORM was deemed an overwhelming success. The UNSC has put its faith in the hands of the Spartans, led by the legendary Master Chief, John-117: enhanced super-soldiers raised and trained from childhood via a clandestine black ops project to be living weapons.

But the Covenant—enraged and fearful of their enemy’s unexpected strategies and prowess—is not taking its recent defeat lightly, and is now fully determined to eradicate humanity from existence, brutally overrunning the ill-fated planets of the Outer Colonies faster than retreats can be ordered.

If the UNSC has any chance of stemming the tide of the war, the Master Chief and Blue Team must drop onto an empty, hellish world in order to capture a disabled Covenant frigate filled with valuable technology. It has all the makings of a trap, but the bait is far too tempting to ignore—and this tantalizing prize is being offered by a disgraced and vengeful Covenant fleetmaster, whose sole opportunity for redemption lies in extinguishing humanity’s only hope of survival….

Let’s. GO. Hopefully, you are excited as I am about the upcoming tale as I am – and if not, that’s okay, nobody’s perfect. Halo: Oblivion is slated to drop later this year on Sept 24. Hope you’re ready – I know Uny is! Speaking of which…

Thanks, Grim! I've enjoyed all of Troy Denning's Halo novels, so I'm really looking forward to his next story about the Chief's heroic adventures with Blue Team.

Radar Blips

  • Halo Cosplay at ECCC: Next Saturday, March 16 the 405th will be hosting a Halo Cosplay Meet-up. For those of you in the Seattle area, or making the trip out here for the convention, you can catch these Spartans and their admirers at 3pm in room TCC L2-R5. If you're a Halo fan, this would be a great opportunity to meet people and take pictures with some of the best Halo cosplayers out there!
  • Community Spotlight: Our most recent Community Spotlight went live last Thursday, as it always does, courtesy of snickerdoodle. With plenty of creative cosplay, paintings, montages and even tattoos - this one has something for everyone. If you want to get featured in next week's Community Spotlight don't forget to post your Halo creations on Twitter and Instagram with #HaloSpotlight so that we can find it!
  • 343 Social Stream: Yesterday the Halo Gear team's very own Sarah Campbell joined snickerdoodle on the 343 Social Stream to chat about her role on the team and her involvement on Halo: Outpost Discovery. Catch the full rebroadcast here on mixer.com/Halo!
  • Inside Xbox: Last but certainly not least, we're going to be on Inside Xbox next week to talk about Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The news we were going to share during the HCS Invitational at SXSW will now take place during the show. Since this will be something you won't want to miss, tune in live on mixer.com/Xbox this upcoming Tuesday, March 12 at 2pm PT. And if you're craving even more MCC news, be sure to watch our broadcast down at SXSW on Championship Sunday. These streams will be worth your while!

Halo Infinite

We've been slowly messaging out tidbits of Halo Infinite news here and there, but one thing I've really enjoyed doing is recognizing our newest members of Pro Team. Last week Richie "Heinz" Heinz, shared his joining the team on Twitter. Heinz won TEN major Halo tournaments throughout his professional career in Halo 3, Halo: Reach, Halo 4, and Halo 2: Anniversary. During the 2009 MLG Pro Circuit for Halo 3, Richie was also named the Best Overall Player in a pro player vote. We're excited to have him on board!

Richie is not our only new addition either. While most of Pro Team announces their new roles on social media before I get to share the news here, our latest member decided to hold his announcement until this Community Update – which now makes him my favorite person. Please welcome and congratulate Austin "Mikwen" McCleary on his new role at 343 Industries! Mikwen is known predominantly for his individual skill, especially as a sniper, and has seen success in every Halo title since 2010; Halo: Reach, Halo 4, Halo 2: Anniversary, and Halo 5: Guardians. Again, please be sure to wish him luck as he begins his journey here at 343!

If you haven't noticed, I'm a big fan of ending these Community Updates with art ­čÖé

Until next time,

- Uny

P.S. It's Master Chief's birthday today!

Happy -492nd, John! Big fan.

Related


Recapping Renegade

Halo Community Update

Recapping Renegade

By Unyshek -

The last two weeks have been filled with meetings, lots of writing, working on PowerPoint slides, attempts to stay warm, and of course fitting in some games of Halo. Everyone I talk to in the studio seems to be in the same boat: working on all sorts of projects, doing their best to find time for fun weekend activities, and preparing for a potential return of the snowpocalypse. Now that I've started to write about work, I won't be able to stop ÔÇô so let's take a look at what's been happening and...

Snowy Salutations

Halo Community Update

Snowy Salutations

By Unyshek -

It hasn't been that long since our last Community Update, but a lot has happened. Whether we've been surviving snow storms at an HCS Grassroots event or delivering the latest MCC update, the various teams around the building have been knocking down milestones whenever possible. You've probably seen quite a few of these milestones go by in the public eye, but there are so many others that are hidden behind the curtain to ensure we continue moving forward. That said, let's recap some of the...

Discovering Outposts

Halo Community Update

Discovering Outposts

By Unyshek -

Aloha and welcome to another Community Update! This time we'll be diving into the details of Halo: Outpost Discovery, our newly unveiled traveling Halo experience, as well as highlighting the work the team has been putting into all of our titles. Fans of each aspect of Halo will have something to love and get excited for today, so let's get right into it, shall we?