Back when Microsoft first announced that Halo 5: Guardians’ Forge map editing utility would be coming to Windows 10 as a free download, the creative community was excited by the possibilities. That excitement was tempered by PC gamers wondering yet again why the latest Halo game was not going to actually be playable on their preferred platform, especially in light of Microsoft’s Play Anywhere strategy. Forza and Gears of War are coming to PC, so why not Halo?
Fret not! Along with map editing, the ability to play custom multiplayer matches is coming with Halo 5: Forge on Windows 10. Forgers (that’s what I’m calling them) will be able to host games with up to 16 players. Like Bethesda’s mod system on the Xbox One and Steam versions of Fallout 4, Halo 5’s community content browser will span across both platforms.
Halo 5: Forge will be available on September 8th for Windows 10 PCs. A related Halo App will also be available at that time.
Firefight is coming to Halo 5. Between splitscreen co-op and Firefight, it’s a toss-up which mode was more sorely missed by Halo fans when Halo 5 launched. Microsoft and 343 Industries have released a preview of the free content coming to Halo 5 in the year, and included in the announcement is Warzone Firefight.
Among the vast array of new modes coming to Halo over the next several months is one that our fans have repeatedly asked us to deliver – Firefight. The new mode, called “Warzone Firefight”, will bring PvE to Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer and let players battle together against common foes (and truly show off their custom Spartans to boot!) That’s all we’ll say for now, but trust us, we can’t wait to tell you more about Warzone Firefight in the coming months.
This is no splitscreen co-op, but Firefight finally coming back to Halo is a welcome reveal, but you can expect Halo 5’s REQ microtransaction system to play a part. It’s slated for release this year after three other upcoming content drops. The latest free update is Hammer Storm and includes the powerful M6D pistol from Halo: Combat Evolved.
Shortly after Microsoft’s E3 press briefing on Monday, more details of Halo 5: Guardians’ pricing was released. There’s a $60 standard price for the game, a limited edition bundle for $100 that includes some digital goodies, and a $250 package that includes a statue you can proudly display in your closet. But what’s this? Buried in the descriptions for the the two most expensive versions is something about “Premium Requisition packs to enhance Spartan combat.” That sounded ominous to some Halo fans, so Microsoft was asked to explain.
343 Industries’ Josh Holmes was quick to post some details of the new Requisition (REQ) System. Playing Halo 5: Guardians’ Arena or Warzone multiplayer modes will result in the award of points that can be redeemed for Requisition Packs. In the player-versus-player Arena mode, these packs will give players cosmetic items like armors, weapon skins, and animations. In the team-based Warzone mode, packs may be used to acquire weapons and vehicles for use during the match. Players will be able to purchase packs for real money “as a matter of convenience” and part of that revenue will be used to fund the Halo 5 esports tournament prizes.
The REQ System is designed to generously reward players with a steady stream of content to keep gameplay fresh. We’ll be continuing to release new REQ content, post launch, so there are always new toys to play with. All REQ content in the game can earned through the regular course of play in multiplayer.
Halo 5: Guardians will launch on October 27th for the Xbox One.
Microsoft’s E3 2015 show started with their trusty headliner Halo 5 Guardians, then dropped a bomb on the audience. Microsoft is enabling backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. According to Microsoft, over 100 titles from the last-gen library will be playable on the Xbox One by the holidays with more to come. Retail discs and digital download titles will work with this feature. No work is required from game developers. They only need to approve the compatibility and Microsoft does the wrapper work on their end. Microsoft couldn’t resist sniping at Sony’s PlayStation streaming service by pointing out that their backwards compatibility service was free for gamers to use.
A spiffy new Xbox One Elite Controller is coming this Fall. It has paddles, a rocker directional pad, and removable widgets. They must help with the shooting somehow.
On the software side, Microsoft kept to exclusives for the most part, with a few mutiplatform titles. Forza 6, now with inclement weather and night racing was previewed with Ford’s help. Rise of the Tomb Raider was QTE heaven. There were videos of Ion from Dean Hall, (of DayZ fame) Dark Souls 3, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Fable Legends, and Gigantic. Tacoma, the newest title from Gone Home makers The Fullbright Company got a quick spot in the indie segment along with Cuphead, a gorgeous side-scroller done in the style of a 1930’s cartoon. Rare has apparently been busy with a Rare Replay collection that bundles up 30 of their games in a discount package, as well as working on Sea of Thieves, a new title featuring multiplayer pirating. Gears of War returned to Microsoft’s show with the Gears of War Ultimate Edition that remasters the original Gears of War for the newer console, and Gears 4 which is apparently all about walking through pitch-black areas very slowly.
Let’s have a minute of silence for Halo split-screen co-op. Yelling at your buddy for dawdling during the Flood invasion, high-fives over circle-strafing the Covenant, and pulling your friends controller out of the console on accident as you stumble by on the way to the bathroom. These are good times that are soon to be a memory. Couch co-op has been a staple of the Halo series, but that’s ending. Halo 5: Guardians will only offer online co-op. The bone 343 Industries and Microsoft is tossing to you is that you won’t need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to play the online co-op, and they will be making all DLC multiplayer maps free. Small compensation for losing the ability to smack your partner’s head for firing a rocket into your feet during a skirmish.
Update: 343 Industries has corrected their earlier statement regarding online co-op. Players will actually need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to start or join co-op games.
The beta for Halo 5: Guardians starts today, and continues until January 18th. If you have Halo: The Master Chief Collection, you should be able to download the files to help test 343 Industries’ follow-up to Halo: 4. The beta will consist of 4×4 arena matches and all the progress and unlocks you acquire during the testing period will carry over to the regular game when it releases in the latter half of 2015.
In related news, Microsoft has revealed preorder prices for the three different versions of the game offered. Besides the standard $59.99 edition, there will be a $99.99 limited edition of the game that comes bundled into a steel book box, and a $249.99 limited collector’s edition that will have a “commemorative numbered statue” included. There aren’t any details on what the statue will be, but we can speculate that it will probably depict a certain space marine laughing and counting his money.
Halo 5: Guardians has something similar to aiming down sights called “smart-scope”. It may look like aiming down sights that you’re used to from Call of Duty or Battlefield, but players retain all their mobility even while using this new view. It doesn’t affect the damage output of the rounds, but it does make the spread of bullets smaller. Smart scope is available for all weapons in the game and players can be “de-scoped” – that is popped out of that viewpoint by getting hit. Other changes to Spartan movement include clambering up ledges, infinite sprint, ground-pounding, and sliding. 343 Industries says they wanted to emphasize the series’ core strength which was mobility.
The Halo 5 multiplayer beta will be available for players who have purchased Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The beta will begin on December 29th and run for three weeks.