Yuletidings & Yonder
Well folks, 2022 is coming to an end and the studio is soon to close its doors for the Holidays. But before we go, I think we’ve got time for one last Community Update to look back on the year just gone—our triumphs, our learnings, our amazing partners, and our pathway into 2023 and beyond...
Let’s get the end-of-year party started with the end-of-year Holiday Community Livestream, where we catch up with various teams around the studio, showcase some Season 3 content for Halo Infinite, and host our final Community Playdate of the year.
From Sean Baron, Head of Halo Infinite Live Service
What a year.
Launching Halo Infinite’s multiplayer experience on the day we celebrated the franchise’s twentieth anniversary was amazing. Since that day, you have pushed Halo Infinite to the biggest launch year in the history of the franchise.
In fact, let’s do a quick stats rundown:
- 170+ million multiplayer matches played
- 50+ million campaign missions played
- 16+ billion Spartans slayed
- 2+ billion bots dispatched
- 6 million Spartans “Ninja’d”
- 130,000+ maps made in Forge
(AW interjection: And a partridge in a pear tree!)
That’s a whole lot of Halo!
We’re so grateful for the time you’ve spent with us and the passion you have for this franchise. The year has been full of challenges and opportunities.
Yet, your energy and engagement has driven us. We’ve changed the way that we develop and even the way we’re organized. Needless to say, we’re committed to making Halo Infinite better with every single update!
So, enjoy the rest of the Winter Update. Happy Holidays, and we can’t wait to show you what’s in store for 2023!
From the MCC team
2022 has been a truly incredible year for MCC!
We said at the start of the year that we had some unfinished business with this title, that we are dedicated to maintaining it with legacy-focused updates to bring in fan-requested features, bug fixes, and new experiences.
Since then, we’ve brought the Flood to Halo 3: ODST’s Firefight. We’ve given full title support to the Custom Game Browser and mod tools (along with Steam Workshop support and Plug ‘n’ Play); campaign crossplay, customization, and collectibles; Match Rejoin, retroactive Spartan Points, UI updates, new armor sets, and so much more!
We are so grateful for the feedback and support from the fans which has enabled us to close the book on this year on such a high note.
So thank you, happy Halodays, and we’ll catch up with you all in the new year.
From Tashi, Esports Lead
To say this last year of Halo esports has been historic would be an understatement, and it’s all thanks to everyone who poured their passion into the scene.
Teams, players, fans, all of our partners, the broadcast talent, and hundreds upon hundreds of staff around the world who busted their butts in support of our mission to deliver epic entertainment to Halo fans around the world with competition at the core of everything we do. Thank you.
Here are some of the things I’ll cherish from this past year...
Big Team Battle Bonanza 2: This one of the craziest things we ever tried to pull, and looking back on it I’m so glad we did. It was important that we set the tone for the FUN we wanted fans to have with HCS whether you’re watching in person or at home.
Different champion for every Major: A testament to the strength of the scene as well as the balance of the game coming right out the gates at launch. Every tournament has kept us all on the edge of our seats with nonstop surprises and unbelievable plays.
Halo World Championship 2022: It had been four years since we hosted all of you in Seattle and it was important to us that the event was welcoming to Halo fans, not just HCS fans. From the Community Stage, to all of our partner activations, to the playable Winter Update build, and of course the amazing tournament—HaloWC 2022 was special no matter how you sliced it. We wished it didn’t have to end!
I’m stopping myself at three because, as I look through our photo gallery, I realize I could probably make a list of 100 things.
Okay, that’s enough of the past, let’s look forward!
We already shared a few details at HaloWC of what to expect. As you may have seen, the OpTic event has been postponed into 2023 and we’ll work closely with OpTic to ensure it lines up nicely with the HCS calendar and that it’s a great event for all fans to attend.
Kicking us off in January, however, is the Spartan Snowdown from the amazing minds at Spacestation. More details to come before the Holidays, but this will be one you don’t want to miss as it’ll be the first competition featuring Argyle and Empyrean, the reimagining of The Pit. Definitely curious to see all of the rosters at that time.
And, of course, the first Major of 2023 will be in Charlotte, North Carolina from February 24-26 with our partners at Esports Engine. This will be an open event featuring open bracket players from around the world that want to enter, as well as all of the top pro teams back on the mainstage once again for the first time since the Halo World Championship. You can expect VIP and GA tickets and team passes to go on sale in January.
You can also expect the all new HCS Partnered Team Bundles to drop shortly after Charlotte with the launch of Season 3 for Halo Infinite. The teams have really outdone themselves with the designs and we’ve given them access to a few more tools to be more creative than in Year 1. We can’t for you all to see them!
Later in January, we’re targeting to have the rest of the HCS 2023 roadmap available—as we did last year. We are in the midst of finalizing the roadmap as well as the format updates and we’re looking forward to sharing more in January. Our primary goals are around viewership and participation, and we’re making adjustments to maximize those as best we can.
I can’t understate how monumental of a task it is to put together a full year roadmap, particularly when we were just traveling around the world running the first year of Halo Infinite esports at the same time. In some ways, it’s been more challenging than before the game launched. We are committed to the long-term sustainability of the scene and we want fans and players to be able to plan out their entire year ahead of time.
On the topic of maps, modes, and settings—you can expect to see the full list of map/mode combinations in the New Year, as well as some updates to settings on Argyle and Empyrean based on player feedback. Additionally, the studio is working on a balance update to land just before Charlotte to further refine competitive play just before the big event. Look for more specifics in early January.
Finally, I want to give thanks to the rest of the HCS Team who have gone above and beyond all year long to make this all happen for the community. We’re a small team, but we pack a punch!
(Yes, I got us all matching hoodies just for our team!)
Thank you – happy Holidays and happy new year!
From Megan Castro, Marketing Manager, Halo Consumer Products
It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of another amazing year of Halo, but time flies when you’re having fun.
For the Halo Gear team, this year has been filled with incredible partnerships, programs, and amazing product releases. In 2022, we continued to build on our long-term partnerships, began new ones, expanded into more categories through unique collaborations, and we tried something new in the Halo Gear Shop with the Halo Gear Rewards program—where players can earn physical rewards from playing Halo.
This year we released many amazing Halo products, and we’ll highlight a few here that are sure to bring joy to the Halo fan in your life this Holiday season.
Just released, comes the next drop from our partnership with Wolverine—the Halo Spartan Boots are inspired by armors from the Halo Infinite multiplayer experience. The Green Camo boot is now available. Stay tuned for more drops from Wolverine x Halo coming in Spring 2023.
That’s so metal, Halo Metal Posters! Adorn your walls with these metal posters from Displate, featuring new graphic artwork of the Master Chief, the Weapon, Halo Insignia, vehicles, and more.
Let’s ride! Get up to 9MPH on the Halo Warthog Electric Ride On. This drivable Warthog comes with working lights, sounds, moveable Gauss Cannon, and laser tag vest and blaster—available now only at Walmart.
In collaboration with Haworth comes the Haworth x Halo: Fern Gaming Chair. This premium ergonomic chair is precision engineered to provide maximum comfort for hours of work and play. Perfect for the home office that doubles as the gaming room. #ComfortEvolved
In collaboration with Adidas Originals, we created the Halo Infinite Adidas NMD V3, and Adidas classic meets Halo with design inspired by the AI characters in the Halo Infinite multiplayer experience.
For the foodies, this year we welcomed Halo: The Official Cookbook! Authored by Victoria Rosenthal, this massive cookbook has over 70 recipes with step-by-step instructions and photos to create these Halo-inspired foods at home. Level up this gift with the Master Chief 117 dinnerware set from Ukonic, available in the Halo Gear Shop.
Mega Construx released the massive UNSC Forward Unto Dawn collector building set, complete with a Miranda Keyes micro action figure and display stand—available exclusively at Target.
Dark Horse Comics delivered two incredible Halo statues this year: the Spartan Yoroi and Spartan Chonmage/Yokai (Halo Gear Shop Exclusive), featuring the formidable Spartans from the Halo Infinite multiplayer event Fracture: Tenrai. A great collector’s piece.
From Jazwares, the Master Chief Deluxe helmet with working lights, sounds, and VO from the Chief himself, and the highly detailed figures of the 6-inch Spartan Collection and 4-inch World of Halo lines are the perfect addition to a Halo collection. Find Halo Jazwares products at GameStop and other major retailers.
For the lore-lovers, return to Zeta Halo and dive deeper into the universe with the latest novel from Kelly Gay, Halo: The Rubicon Protocol.
We’re proud to work with our costume partner Disguise Costumes to create and release the first adaptive costumes for children with accessibility challenges, a Master Chief costume with mask and Warthog wheelchair cover.
Be sure to visit the Halo Gear Shop—your one stop shop for all things Halo including, exclusive apparel such as the Halo x Action Figure Miles collection, seasonal Halo styles, HCS Gear, collectibles such as the Spartan Chonmage/Yokai statue from Dark Horse Comics, housewares, novels, jewelry, and more!
Stay tuned to @HaloGear on social for all the latest news and updates.
From Katie Jerauld, Sr. Marketing Manager, Brand Partnerships Lead
2022 might not have been a launch year for Halo, but that didn’t stop us from launching huge, hilarious, and h…impactful partnerships.
As the year draws to a close, we wanted to share some exciting 2022 Halo partnership highlights, remind you all of programs you can still participate in, and round it out with an update on our newest program to get you through the Holidays:
In 2022, we saw some awards come in for previous programs, and like a proud parent, I couldn’t let the end-of-year blog slip by without sharing that the OPI x Xbox program (which featured a Halo-themed nail color as well as matching armor coating) won a Clio award in the "Partnerships & Collaborations Campaign" category.
Our 2021 Swarovski x Halo partnership also won a Gold Reggie for the beautiful 20th Anniversary collectibles we created together. We love it when we get a glimpse of a crystal helmet in the background of a stream, and to see the sparkly Spartans in the OPI coatings that are still present in almost every MP match.
We're partnered through the end of this year with the delightfully dark brand. Let us never forget the Feedler, the booth at the HCS World Championship, the Hunter made out of Trolli gummies (because how could we not?), and last but not least please let us not forget Sketch living his (and our) glorious gummy dreams.
(AW interjection: I will take any opportunity to remind people of this glorious video!)
You can still enter to win a Trolli Ultimate Gaming Bundle and you’ll still find the 4 collectible Halo-themed packs with 2XP and Challenge Swaps in stores though the end of this year!
And we would be remiss if we did not shamelessly plug the limited edition Feedler tee. It would be a great stocking stuffer for the family Troll…..i fan.
ROCKSTAR & DORITOS
Master Chief is still on Rockstar cans and Doritos bags around the world as part of the Xbox partnership with Rockstar and Doritos. In some regions, fans can even get their hands on the 2022 Tasteful Sensation Razorback coating.
(*slaps roof of Razorback*) This bad boy can fit so many Spartans in it!
HONDA FAN CUP TOURNAMENT
We're in the home stretch of the Honda Fan Cup Tournament featuring Halo Infinite. There’s just one qualifier left—on December 18.
It’s not too late to show off your skills and take a shot at the massive $20,000 prize pool. In addition to the prize money, the top finisher in the Finals will win an exclusive Haworth x Halo: Fern Gaming Chair.
Register now, and we hope you’ll tune in to watch the Finals, which will be livestreamed on the Xbox Twitch channel on January 7 at 11am PT.
Just in time to round out the year and support your mental health during the Holidays, Xbox has partnered with Calm—the #1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation—to bring the first-ever video game-themed soundscapes to the platform.
We've created a soundscape that takes you on a relaxing ambient journey through Zeta Halo, and players can also enjoy a soothing soundscape from Sea of Thieves, both available on Calm Premium.
To ensure players can listen to the new soundscapes with ease, Xbox and Calm are offering an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Perk, where Ultimate members can receive three months of Calm Premium for free, and then 50% off their first-year subscription for new Calm Premium members. Those who aren’t yet Ultimate members can take advantage of Calm's 7-day free trial to Calm Premium.
The partnership with Calm is part of Xbox’s ongoing commitment to supporting players’ mental health and connecting them with resources to support their well-being. Learn more here.
We hope you’re able to snack, play, listen and relax this Holiday season, and see you in 2023!
HALO THE SERIES
From Cheryl Marine, Sr. Producer
Halo The Series – Special Collector’s Edition, now available for the Holiday!
Season 1 has just released on DVD, Blu-Ray, including a Limited Edition Steelbook that makes for a great collectible.
In a war for humanity's survival, our deadliest weapon is our greatest hope. Master Chief, Cortana, the Covenant, and the Spartans of Silver Team weave a personal story with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future.
The series, currently streaming on Paramount+, stars Pablo Schreiber (Master Chief, John-117), Natascha McElhone (Dr. Halsey), Jen Taylor (Cortana), Bokeem Woodbine (Soren-066), and is produced by SHOWTIME® in partnership with 343 Industries, along with Amblin Television.
The special 5-disc collection features the complete season—that’s all nine episodes at 4k quality—plus more than five hours of behind-the-scenes special features, including 75 minutes of exclusive content that takes you beyond the screen, providing a deeper look into the world of Halo. The cast and crew share their experiences creating the worlds, characters, costumes, and props that helped bring Halo to life on such a massive scale.
Also included are all nine episodes of the companion series Halo The Series: Declassified, a premium case, and collectable art cards of Master Chief, Silver Team, Dr. Halsey, and other favorite characters from the show.
This collectible Steelbook is perfect for the Halo fan on your Holiday gift list to see an even more in-depth look at the Halo television series. You can order your collectible Steelbook here.
We have other options too. If you’d like it on DVD, Blu-ray, or 4K Ultra HD, those are also available at Amazon and other retailers. And a digital download is available from the Microsoft Store.
And, in case you missed it, Silver Team is back in production filming season 2 in Iceland and Budapest. We hope to bring you more details about the series in the new year.
THE ARTIST’S CORNER
Our final Artist’s Corner piece from Halo Mythos for this year comes from Jean-Sébastien Rossbach, depicting the Spartan-IIs.
With no end to humanity’s civil war—the Insurrection—in sight, its outcome looking increasingly grim, Dr. Catherine Halsey initiated the SPARTAN-II program.
This saw the full-scale production of biologically-augmented, armor-enhanced super-soldiers. Their origins, however, cast a dark shadow on these living legends, as they were kidnapped as children and replaced by genetically defective flash clones. The candidates were put through torturous training exercises from the age of six, and many would not survive the augmentation procedures that reforged their bodies into the UNSC’s most powerful weapons of war.
But it is their actions which inspire hope amongst those who have seen them in action, or heard the stories passed between fellow soldiers about armored super-soldiers who were able to turn the tide against their unstoppable alien foes. And the Covenant would come to know these Spartans by their own name—demons.
That’s a wrap for us this year! It’s been a hell of a ride and we’re flooring the accelerator when Season 3 (“Echoes Within”) arrives in 2023 as we look forwards to more regular content drops and updates for Halo Infinite... but, for now, let’s pump the brakes and enjoy the Holiday break with our loved ones.
We have, of course, got the Winter Contingency II event launching next week which will feature a free Event Pass consisting of ten new Holiday-themed cosmetics—including a particularly festive helmet attachment that I certainly can’t wait to rock in matchmaking! You can definitely expect to see a launch blog for that to cover all the details on Tuesday.
Otherwise, be well, be merry, be kind and good to each other. Thank you for all your support over the course of this year, we can’t wait to share our plans for the future with you.
See you in 2023!