News

Summer Scoop

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I know it's been a while since our last Community Update, but luckily for you, that just means there's so much more we get to chat about this time around. 

Let's start by taking a closer look at one of the coolest announcements we've made since E3. Kat-B320 and Emile-A239, voiced by their original voice actors, will be making their way into Gears 5 next week as part of the Halo: Reach Character Pack. You get these two members of Noble Team by signing up for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate or with a purchase of Gears 5 Ultimate Edition, which also gives you early access to the game on September 6. 

Yes, that's actually happening and yes, it looks just as good as it does in the trailer. Now, let's spend some time diving into the rest of our Halo news!

Halo: Outpost Discovery

Earlier this month we put two more Halo: Outpost Discovery events in the books (Chicago and Houston), and now we've found ourselves at the final stop of the summer, Anaheim. Most of our team is already in California handling the last bits of preparation and are just about ready for you to swing on by. It'll be a great way to round out our first summer of these events. Since it all starts tomorrow, be sure to secure your tickets online while you still can!

Sea of Thieves

To help us celebrate our last Halo: Outpost Discovery event of 2019, our friends at Rare are offering another opportunity to claim the complete Spartan Ship Set in Sea of Thieves. To get this in-game treasure, just sail the high seas between Aug 30 and Sept 1. While it should be that simple, visit aka.ms/SoTHalo if you have any questions!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Gamescom

Although it feels like I just got back, about two weeks ago I began my adventure out to Germany for Gamescom. While there, our team partnered up with the Xbox Game Pass team to bring Halo: Reach on PC to our fans in Europe, and it went extremely well. Even though it was the same build we had at E3, featuring a 10 minute demo of the Tip of the Spear campaign mission, Halo fans and PC enthusiasts came in droves to go hands on with mouse and keyboard.

Halo Insider - Firefight FLight


This past weekend our Publishing Team kicked off the second flight for Halo Insiders which contained Halo: Reach Firefight matchmaking. By granting access to 10,000 players we were able to get data for a few different KPIs (key performance indicators), such as the game's performance on various PC specs and player's ability to matchmake with one another. 

Once we get survey results back from the flight's participants, the Publishing Team will dive into the results. After that, we'll work to release information about the flight, its performance, and key takeaways in a future Development Update. To be transparent here, it will take some time and will not be in Postums update tomorrow.

From the mountains of posts that I read online, it seemed like the majority of people liked what they played, which is a win in my books.

LEGACY MAPS AND GAME TYPES MIGRATION

After lots of preparing, communicating, and anticipating, we've successfully copied over 6.6 million maps and 2.6 million game types from players' file shares on Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4.

What's next?

We've broken down the next steps a few different times, but let's touch on them again to refresh your memory.

Before we can start transferring these map and game type files to Xbox One and PC, we need to do a bit more work to the current version of MCC. However, our intention is that the files will become available when Halo: Reach releases on both platforms (with Halo 3 and Halo 4 content on PC becoming available once those titles are released). When the update drops, simply log into MCC on an Xbox console and all the maps and game types will be copied down for you on that same gamertag's local files.

Players who want to pull their maps from these titles onto MCC PC will first need to load into MCC on an Xbox after the aforementioned update goes live (which saves them locally), upload them to their file share, and then download them onto their PC. It's a few more steps than console, but we're sure it will work out just fine.

Who's ready for some Jenga on PC?

Playlist Updates

As I try to mention in most Community Updates, although the Publishing Team is heads down on MCC PC, they still set aside time to fine tune matchmaking settings in MCC every week based on data and player feedback. Over the past few weeks these improvements have included adding new Forge maps, a Team Doubles preset in Social Games, H2A Fast Slayer as a temporary ranked playlist, and more. Read up on each of the playlist updates below:

Halo 5: Guardians

Unfortunately the end of summer season in Seattle also brings the end of the Summer 2019 Arena Season in Halo 5. However, on the bright side of things, September is shaping up to be an excellent month to kick-start the Fall 2019 Arena Season!

Why is September looking so good you ask? The fresh start and promise of a new Season, the long-awaited Action Sack Refresh is nearly upon us, and the upcoming drop of ODST Slayer. All of those combine for a very exciting time.

To summarize all of the above in my typical bullet-pointed fashion, the next month of Halo 5 should look like this:

September Calendar

  • August 29: Rock 'n' Rail rotates in for Forerunner Slayer
  • August 29: Warzone Turbo goes live for the weekend
  • September 3: Fall 2019 Season goes live
  • September 3: Head to Head rotates into Ranked for the month
  • September 5: Action Sack Refresh (targeted date*) rotates in for Core Play
  • 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

*We're still working on a few last bits for the Action Sack Refresh, and may hit a few snags in the process, but we're still targeting to release it next Thursday, September 5. Naturally, that could shift back depending on how things progress, but we wanted to make sure we kept you updated with how things are looking on our end.

Halo Infinite

Hidden message

Only a few days after our last Community Update, Xepyal, a dedicated and very clever community member, managed to stitch together a hidden code that was hidden in this year's Halo Infinite E3 trailer. The code they found ultimately pointed directly to an audio file embedded here in the depths of Waypoint. If you haven't heard it yet, here's a link!

Although I was pretty surprised it took around six weeks for the community to uncover, as I know how much people dive into the details, some members of the studio expected it to take much much longer. Regardless, once it was found, everyone was buzzing around talking to each other about how happy we were that it our little easter egg was finally found. It was a very cool moment to share with all of you. Thanks for finding it, Xepyal!

Pro Team

Since I've been traveling I haven't had much time to chat with the Pro Team here at the studio, but I know that they finished their roster. Our two most recent additions, which closes out the team, are two very experienced Halo players.

Clete "Assault" LoRusso

Assault is a former longtime professional Halo player from Connecticut. Clete competed professionally in five separate Halo titles including Halo 3, Halo: Reach, Halo 4, H2A, and Halo 5. Throughout his nearly ten year career, Clete was a part of several prominent teams including Status Quo, Team Liquid, Cloud 9, and OpTic Gaming. While competing in Halo, Clete also found time to played collegiate baseball at WCSU and achieved his bachelor’s degree in Finance. We're happy to have him, and his Halo expertise, on the Pro Team!

Anthony Mejais

Anthony is a former Halo and League of Legends player from Florida. He competed in Halo: Reach on teams Legendary and Team Pure before retiring and switching to PC titles. Since moving over to PC, Anthony has achieved the Challenger ranking (Top 200) in five straight seasons in League of Legends and has also been a Grandmaster in Overwatch. His ability to find success in several titles, across both Xbox and PC, will prove valuable to the entire studio.

Full Roster

Rather than have you look back at previous Community Updates and try to piece the roster together, I figured it's probably just easier for me to list the full squad here:

Halo Championship Series

Atlantic City

Next weekend all eyes will descend upon Atlantic City for UGC's second Halo Classic event of the year. The first one in St. Louis was a ton of fun, so I'm expecting to hear nothing but good things about this one. From my understanding they've got an awesome venue in the Showboat Hotel, a solid talent lineup, and over $50,000 is prizing across tournaments for Halo: CE, Halo 3, and Halo 5.

Tickets

Where to watch

For all other information surrounding this HCS Grassroots event, follow @UGCevents and @HCS on Twitter or head to ugchalo.com!

live.Halo.gg

As we continue to think of better ways to promote amazing community content, we introduced an experimental extension of Halo esports' home on Waypoint via live.halo.gg. This new landing page leverages the Maestro service that will serve to showcase HCS Grassroots and official HCS content regardless of what platform they're available on. If you’re looking for the latest and greatest core multiplayer and competitive content the community has to offer – whether it’s happening live right now or freshly-posted VOD – look no further. As the HCS Grassroots program continues to add more content partners and tournament organizers – live.halo.gg's offering will be updated and curated to provide you with more and more entertainment in one location.

To learn a little more about the site and our goals, be sure the read the full announcement blog and of course visit live.halo.gg!

Microsoft Store Events

Grab a friend and start practicing your teamwork, our monthly Microsoft Store events are continuing with a Halo 5 2v2 tournament on September 29! Usually these events start at around 1pm local time, but please remember that it always depends on your MS Store's schedule, so be sure to look ahead and register for free on smash.gg/mrshalo.

There also should be a broadcast on mixer.com/Halo to showcase some of the top duos competing that Sunday, so keep an eye out for that!

FaceIt Ignite: Halo European Open

Two weekends ago, FACEIT's Halo 3 event in London pulled some great European talent and even enticed some North American competitors to make the journey across the Atlantic. There were plenty of clutch plays, including a super smart one in CTF on The Pit in the Grand Finals, but since I don't want to spoil any of the details – you're just going to have to watch for yourself!

Halo Gear

Halo: Oblivion, Troy Denning's sequel to Halo: Silent Storm, is making landfall on September 24, 2019. That means the next Master Chief story arrives in just under one month! (It also lands one day before Halo 3 turns twelve years old.) If you want a taste of what this book is about, here's the excerpt from the cover:

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...

I thoroughly enjoyed Silent Storm, so I'll absolutely be picking this up. If you want to secure a copy for yourself, you can pre-order online right here!

 

  • Halo Wars 2: There's been a lot of discussion surrounding Halo Wars 2 and our Publishing Team's bandwidth reccently, and we wanted to clear up some of the confusion. Currently, the team is solely focused on Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC and console, including the upcoming release/addition of Halo: Reach. Although we have not officially ended all support for Halo Wars 2, since the team would love to return for future updates, we're currently unable to commit to a timeline given that sources are fully allocated to work on MCC.
  • Halo TV Series: Natascha McElhone, and many other actors have been been cast to play key characters in Showtime's Halo TV series. Natascha will play Cortana & Halsey, Bokeem Woodbine will play Soren-066, and Shabana Azmi will play Admiral Parangosky. You can read their full announcement here!
  • Community Spotlight: The creations our community bestow upon us never cease to amaze. In this week's we see some more Gears and Halo crossover material, a campaign trick that has taken years to pull off, an strong showing of incredible cosplay, and so much more. Give it a look by clicking on this sentence!
  • 343 Social Stream: Our Pro Team lead, Wes "Clutch" Price, joined snickerdoodle on yesterday's stream to talk about his journey from professional player to leading a team at the studio. If you missed it, be sure to check it out!

Art

As I was snooping through the depths of our internal concept art folders, I stumbled upon this piece of Halo 2 concept art by Craig Mullins which was aptly titled, Sneaking. While the detail on the Master Chief and Arbiter is remarkable, the Forerunner floor always catches my eye with that perfect sci-fi blue color. I don't have too much to say about this piece in particular, I just really enjoy looking at it – I hope you do too!

Be sure to click on the links or art below to get a clean, high-resolution version of this artwork:

That'll do it for this week, but I appreciate you joining me for another Community Update!

Until next time,

- UNY

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