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Warzone Firefight Sneak Peek

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We have returned from the annual pilgrimage of E3. In mostly one piece. Over the past four days, thousands of players stopped by the Halo Wars 2 booth to get hands-on with PC and Xbox One, and many more of you have joined the Halo Wars 2 beta, which still has a few days remaining. In fact, to thank you for your playtime, patience, and enthusiasm, we’ll be extending the Halo Wars 2 Beta on Xbox One through Wednesday, June 22. We hope you’re able to get a few extra battles in.

I myself am looking forward to spending some time at home with Deathmatch, which just released today in beta. Grim will be talking a bit more about Halo Wars 2 later on in today’s blog.

E3 attendees battle it out against one another in Halo Wars 2, with the help of coaching from 343 & Creative Assembly devs

We’re a bit exhausted from the past few days down in L.A., but we couldn’t end the week without an update to talk a bit about the past few days, as well as what’s on the way. Plus, we hope a few of you may be a bit excited about the Warzone Firefight update. We certainly are. Let’s get to into all that and more.

Community Doubles

Community Doubles is this week's social playlist, and it features a fine selection of community-crafted battlegrounds for you and a partner to try out. We worked with the folks at ForgeHub on selecting the top maps from their recent 2v2 map contest, and then worked with internal teams on getting them ready for their first stint in matchmaking.

If you haven’t seen the maps that made it into the Community Doubles playlist, you can do so here. As a quick side note, these new maps bring the total of community maps in Halo 5 to 43. We love what we've seen so far, and have no doubt that many more incredible community maps are on the way.

Warzone Firefight

The Warzone Firefight release draws nearer, and various teams across the studio are finishing up the work required to get this sucker out the door and into your eagerly awaiting hands. As stated previously, this release is the biggest one yet, and we’re packing in as much as we can fit. You’ll of course find the improved and updated Warzone Firefight PvE mode on a variety of maps, the Warzone Boss Refresh, a brand new Forge canvas as well as accompanying Forge updates, Campaign Score Attack (which we announced and detailed last week), updates to Warzone personal scoring, Series 1 of the HCS weapon skins, new places to play in multiplayer, fixes for incorrect rank display as well as non-English languages not displaying placement matches, a couple of achievements for Score Attack as well as Warzone Firefight, new vehicles, armors, weapons, and plenty more that we’ll start to dig into today and over the next few weeks. Let’s take a peek.
 

Above is a sneak peek of just the new experiences that await. There's a new Forge canvas in town, new places to play, and lots more. It only feels appropriate that we give you a closer look at the Temple Banshee before moving on. Stay tuned to this week’s Canon Fodder for more details on this one.

 

Next up, I pass the torch to Grim who will give you a bit more detail on Prospect, the upcoming Warzone Assault map, a tease of another Warzone space, the new canvas, Tidal, and plenty more.

Prospect  

Thanks, Bravo. While our battle-hardened away team braved the harrowing halls of conventional warfare, those of us holding the proverbial fort down were embroiled in a variety of preparatory activities – not the least of which has been giving some late-game TLC to Halo 5’s latest upcoming free content release: Warzone Firefight. While much has been discussed regarding the fireteam-friendly cooperative mode itself, the update includes much more than just the update’s namesake. One of the most exciting aspects of the impending content release’s repertoire is the addition of some awesome new multiplayer maps upon which Halo fans will soon be unleashed. Today we’ll take a look at Prospect – a new Warzone Assault variant set on the glassed human colony of Meridian.

On Prospect, players get dropped immediately into a mining facility and are tasked with attacking the defenders that lie within. A key opening strategy is to take advantage of various flank paths hidden in the terrain to gain the upper hand. The level itself is layered with strategically-placed scaffoldings, plenty of cover, and well-worn trenches, all designed to give players on both sides of the battle more options to take the fight to their opponents, whether they are pushing the objective or holding the line at the Core. Speaking of which, defending that Core now has more options than before. On Prospect, players can focus on power weapons and rush, or opt to try open the gates open to get vehicles in to support ground troops. All in all, it’s an exciting new opportunity to evolve the nature of the Warzone Assault game type, and we’re eager to see what new strategies and tactics begin to emerge when your boots hit the glassy ground in the near future.

Rolling Tide

On my desk, I keep a running list of reasons why I’d love to be 343 Industries UGC Director Tom French. Among the obvious ones like “epic beard,” “wizard powers,” and “pet pig,” are at least twenty others that all center around “making the Halo community explode with joy.” It’s no secret around these parts – or any others – that the Halo 5 Forge team has become ridiculously adept at delivering the proverbial goods, and their latest offering does nothing to derail that trend.

Introducing Tidal, a brand new Halo 5 Forge canvas – yes, canvas – for creative cartographers to get their build on. Tom French, sometimes a man of few words, has left a few words waiting for you just below.

"Welcome to Tidal!"

- Tom French

Conceptual Healing

Next up, here's a quick look at another specific something we haven't yet shown you. You may remember the mysterious top banner in Bravo’s Hints and Heroes blog, which at the time was an unreleased piece of concept art for an upcoming Warzone map. Today, we reveal the full piece of art, as well as an added bonus peice of artwork from that same map. Keep an eye out for tonight's Canon Fodder for a bit more detail.

Burning Questions

Over the past few days, we’ve been keeping a close eye on your thoughts regarding Halo Wars 2, and noticed a few questions in particular popping up around the community that we thought we’d elucidate a bit on. And now, your questions!

Q: Where does the story of Halo Wars 2 fall on the Halo timeline? 

A: After decades adrift and declared “lost with all hands,” the brave crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire are mysteriously awoken above an ancient Forerunner haven known as the Ark (which Halo fans will remember from Halo 3). In Halo Wars 2, Captain Cutter and his crew will face one of humanity’s most formidable threats yet: The Banished – a fierce and powerful Brute faction led by a cunning and lethal warrior known as Atriox. Brought to life through detailed in-game graphics and the incredible cinematic artistry of Blur Studio, the story of Halo Wars 2 explores a vital and exciting corner of the Halo universe directly after the events of Halo 5: Guardians.

Q: Tell me more about Halo Wars: Definitive Edition.  Will it be an Xbox Play Anywhere title?

A: Players who purchase the Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition will find a pretty awesome bonus in the form of Halo Wars: Definitive Edition – an enhanced version of the original Halo Wars featuring improved graphics, additional Achievements and all of the DLC created for the original game – all running natively on Windows 10 and Xbox One. And yes, Halo Wars: Definitive Edition is indeed an Xbox Play Anywhere title! Look for more information on Halo Wars: Definitive Edition in the coming months.

Q: Can you play the campaign cooperatively?

A: Yes.

Q: Um, why do Anders and Cutter look different?

A: Because they are different – for both casting and technical reasons. The first Halo Wars game, for all its glitteringly wondrous CG, contained characters that Blur essentially “made up.” They were effectively “hand drawn” amalgams of character, rigging and aesthetics. Those characters were created in 2008, using 2007 tech and they looked fantastic at the time. But since then, the industry has made geometric leaps forward in technique and technology and the trend, rightfully, has been towards proper facial and performance capture. The end result is much better immersion in the story and far more believable “people” because they are people – recordings of the performance rather than a simulation or cartoon of it.

          

Gideon Emery and Faye Kingslee

As we mentioned, the actors have also changed. Gideon Emery is our new Cutter, and as you can see from his headshot, we’ve very literally captured his exquisitely sculptured features, but grayed and aged him to match the game chronology and further, show the impact of war and time on his face. Faye Kingslee is now the actress now playing Anders, and you’re going to love her performance – while respecting the original character, she’s poured a lot of herself into this. And while we loved Kim Mai Guest as our previous actress for Anders, getting our schedules to jive was a challenge.  We’re really excited to have both Faye and Gideon join the Halo family, and we can’t wait to show you more of the story and the amazing Blur cinematics in Halo Wars 2.

We’ll have plenty more to say regarding Halo Wars 2 at various times throughout the year, so make sure and stay tuned to all your happy Halo haunts over the coming months. We can’t wait to share more. Back to you, Brav…

<3
Grim

Community Spotlight

This week, we're spotlighting Freakshow by WeedCough. It's a creepy old, abandoned amusement park, and we can't wait to get some games in.

That'll do for this week, friends. We'll be back with even more details on the Warzone Firefight release next week. Don't forget to hop in for some extra games of the Halo Wars 2 Open Beta - we'll see you online. Oh, and if you're local to Austin and like playing FFA, have a look here.

Bravo

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