We were so close. We almost made it through an E3 season without any gamer memes. With all the normal E3 live stage shows cancelled this year due to the global pandemic, it seemed a foregone conclusion that we wouldn’t have any good fodder for viral sensations. The virtual briefings were safe from mishap and impromptu dorkiness. No giant enemy crabs. No Ravi Drums. No families clumsily gyrating though motion controller routines. Alas, Microsoft and 343 Industries showed up at the last minute with their Halo Infinite gameplay demo that featured the serene space ape now known as Craig the Brute. At about 4 minutes into the video, Master Chief smacks this charging Brute, and a legend is born.
Even though Craig was born from the complaint that Halo Infinite’s graphics don’t look all that “next-gen” yet, 343 Industries Brian Jarrod is joining in the fun. It’s a sound strategy to disarm the comments, but Craig’s woeful face is a throwback to the similar “Tired Face” meme that dominated all conversations about Mass Effect Andromeda. Beware, Chief! A nonplussed budget Thanos may end up being your biggest enemy this go around.
343 Industries’ Frank O’Connor has responded to rumors that Halo Infinite might launch with a dedicated Battle Royale mode. MSPoweruser tracked down the statement made by O’Connor after speculation that a portion of the game’s budget was being used to create a dedicated mode copying Apex: Legends or even Fortnite. While not totally ruling it out as an option later, O’Connor denied any plans to launch with officially supported Battle Royale, and stated that the developers consider it something the community could make in the popular user-led Forge modification mode.
“But are we interested in big social modes with loads of organic shenanigans? Yes. Specifically A blimp full of survivors heading to an Island after a (metaphorical) lecture from Beat Takeshi? No.”
Halo Infinite still has no release date, but it will be coming to Xbox One and Windows 10.
The long-rumored, often hoaxed, PC version of Halo: The Master Chief Collection is finally on its way. In a surprising announcement, the title will be available on Steam as well as the Windows Store. The games will launch one at a time, to give developers 343 Industries, Splash Damage, and Ruffian the chance to make sure each releases in tip-top shape.
Our current plan is for this journey to begin with the launch of Halo: Reach – the fictional beginnings of Master Chief’s saga – with the rest of the titles following in chronological order thereafter. Halo: Reach, Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST (Campaign), and Halo 4 will each be available for individual purchase within MCC as they become available.
In related news, Halo: Reach is being added to the collection. It will be added to Xbox One players’ accounts as a free multiplayer extension, with the campaign and horde-mode gameplay available for a fee. Once completed, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will include six Halo games. That’s a ton of Flood-blasting, Arbiter-baiting, and Cortana-wooing.
Halo Infinite will be a spiritual reboot of the franchise. This, according to 343 Industries head Bonnie Ross speaking to IGN. The developers took a hard look at Halo 4 and 5, and stepped back to reassess where they were going. Ross acknowledged that Halo 4’s multiplayer drifted from the core of the series, and Halo 5’s story campaign overwhelmed the improvements they had made to the multiplayer.
“Maybe it took us two games to get there. We’ve done good things and bad things, but what does Halo mean to us? It’s about hope and wonder and heroism and humanity and community and bringing a community together.”
Bonnie Ross also took a few minutes to address the elephant in the room. Will Halo Infinite have a Battle Royale mode? While Ross wouldn’t confirm it, she said Apex Legends was probably closer to what a “Halo BR” might look like as opposed to the way Fortnite plays.
At some point in 2013, n-Space, the journeyman game developers responsible for a ton of licensed Nintendo ports of third-party titles, was secretly hard at work on an Xbox 360 game based on the Halo Mega Bloks property. This video from Andrew Borman of PtoPOnline shows how far along the project was before it was cancelled. Codenamed “Haggar” while in development, the Halo Mega Bloks game would’ve been a knock-off of the popular Lego games from Traveller’s Tales, but with the addition of Halo’s campaign structure and a cooperative multiplayer horde mode. Unfortunately for fans of Master Chief and low-budget brick building, the game would never make it past the final hurdle. Development ended when Microsoft’s focus shifted from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One.
In March 2016, n-Space was shuttered after 21 years in the industry.
That’s 25,000 Swarovski crystals glued to a life-size replica of Master Chief’s helmet. Xbox Taiwan has an auction up right now for it. They hired cosplayer Hsu Chia-Hao and designer Jenny Manik Mercian to create this piece of wearable art and you can own it, if you’re willing to outbid everyone else by November 6th when the auction ends. The current high bid is $3,350.00. Pimp cups are old hat (pun intended) when set against this ode to excess. The upside is that all proceeds from the sale will go the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Imagine the looks you’ll get at the next gaming event with this on your noggin!
There is a version of Halo being made for the Russian market that’s exclusive to the PC platform and free-to-play. Russian publisher Innova Systems revealed the region-specific game to the press yesterday. Halo Online is built on an offshoot of the Halo 3 engine, developed by Saber Interactive, and made with 343 Industries’ assistance. Microsoft is co-distributing. In the official English-language FAQ, 343 Industries says that the game represents a multiplayer-only PC experience tailored for Russian gamers.
Halo Online is a learning opportunity for us as we explore ways to welcome new fans to the “Halo” universe.
See? Microsoft is totally serious about PC gaming.
Halo: ODST is coming to Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Even better, current owners of Halo: Master Chief Collection who played the game while online from November 11th to December 19th will be getting the addition for free. In a thank you to fans, Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries, explained that the upgraded ODST campaign will be given to players in 2015 as an apology for the ongoing matchmaking issues that have plagued Halo: MCC since its launch over a month ago.
This has been a humbling experience and highlighted how we as a studio can – and need – to do better for Xbox fans around the world. We are so grateful to our fans who have stood by our side and we appreciate all of your patience as we worked through these issues.
Part of the mea culpa goodies will include an extra month of Xbox Live Gold, some in-game cosmetic items, and a re-imagined version of the Halo 2 Relic multiplayer map. According to the FAQ, the popular Firefight mode will not be part of the Halo: ODST re-release.
Master Chief is not looking so hot these days. He’s gone from smashing the Covenant, saving the galaxy, and overcoming The Flood to not being able to get into a quality multiplayer session. How does this happen? How does a series that basically invented the way we do console multiplayer end up with a title that just can’t get basic matchmaking right? It’s been three weeks since the launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection and 343 Industries continues to struggle with multiplayer matchmaking and team balance issues.
This particular content update focuses specifically on matchmaking. Please note that while this update will improve team balance issues, we do not expect it to fully resolve uneven teams.
343 says they are working on remaining issues, and they expect to smooth out the uneven teams with the next patch, but aren’t we tired of this yet? Was there really any good excuse for a collection of Halo games to have bad matchmaking at launch?