Hello 343i Community Forum and other readers. Thanks for clicking this link to the latest interview. This time, I did my second collective interview with a rising Halo-oriented (among many other games) group whose members many of you may already know. Enjoy the latest chat I've had with Halo Team Assemble comprised of Yoshi1176, Fishy and VinWarrior
DD: "Hey guys, how did Halo Team Assemble come to be?"
YASH: "Well what started off as a bunch of summer time customs lobbies on MCC, became what you see today. In fact it was a joke that started at this time that we would assemble like the avengers, in the shoutbox at 343i.org. So we sort of just adopted it after a while and named our group Halo Team Assemble and expanded from there."
DD: "Some of the best things start from small lobbies of players getting together like that. What are each of your roles in the group?
FISH: "I like to take the events and get our lobbies set up in advance so we have a basic understanding of who's going to be coming to the events. I am also the main-streamer. And by streaming I mean... I'll do anything"
VIN: "I don't really like to define myself by one simple "role", I like to do a lot of things. If I had to go with a term, I suppose it would be Creative Outreach? I write a lot for HTA as well as Podtacular, and hold a pretty prevalent position on Reddit, so I get news pretty fast. Besides that, I consider myself good with community outreach and organize some stuff on the Twitter, as well as Halo related projects for our YouTube. Of course, I'm not just limited to Halo."
YASH: "My role in the HTA universe is more on the side of the social sphere I feel. Vin uses the Twitter often and Fishy has a multitude of series on our Youtube channel, but I focus on the Twitter as much as possible, as well as intersite, and inter community relations, I talk to community leaders trying to spread the idea of HTA to sites like Halo Archive, and even still to 343i.org, I find myself talking to "HaloTubers" as well. So I suppose I deal with community relations the most."
DD: "It's great that you guys all seem to not limit yourselves to just one role when it comes to the group. For Vin: you say you write Podtacular as well as HTA. Can you tell us about that more?"
VIN: "Sure. I was recently hired to work alongside DustStorm and the Podtacular team as a news writer. I've just recently settled into the role, so I don't have a lot yet on that front. All I can say is that the Podtacular team are a wonderful bunch and I look forward to writing more for them. As for those links to HTA, I'm still setting up some cross-article promotion and trying to balance both jobs, as well as integrate them. I certainly couldn't imagine running HTA on my own with this job."
DD: "Really cool stuff. DustStorm is well known throughout the Halo Community for the Podtacular podcasts among other works. Good thing you have a team to rely on so you don't have to run things alone; I could imagine how stressful that may be. Where do most of HTA's interactions with the Halo Community occur?"
VIN: "I'd like to believe that we are most seen on Twitter typically. Twitter is where we have seen the most support and communication from the community. We recently posted the first episode of our new project, Lost: A Halo Machinima to YouTube and we felt the results were great, but without the help of the community, we couldn't have done it. Twitter works well for us to because we can communicate with the community as well, like Ultimate Halo (specifically Wangtime) who actually helped voice act in the Machinima."
YASH: "Whether it be talking about the state of the community with Greenskull or planning some customs with our followers, we love interacting with anyone and everyone."
DD: "Twitter is a great platform for reaching audiences. I find that we have the most interaction on the 343iCommunity Twitter as well. Some pretty big name drops so far- DustStorm, Greenskull, Ultimate Halo's Wangtime. Do you guys have any dream collaborations for any projects?"
VIN: "Dream collaborations? Well, speaking from probably my deepest desires, I'd absolutely adore to interview Joseph Staten. My longtime goal has been a writing position at 343 Industries, but even meeting and engaging with their team would be a dream come true. As far as community interaction, I'd love to be part of a Halo Canon video. Toa and I interact on Twitter occasionally via my private account, and he seems like an awesome person that shares a lot of my interests."
YASH: "Dreams of any future collaborations? We have a few, but the one that seems most possible, and in my opinion the one that would be more fun for everyone involved is a group podcast that was brought up about a week ago. Kenny from Ultimate Halo had been alking about one of Podtaculars recent podcasts and Greenskull, HTA and Ian (Halo Canon) joined in. There was a mention of a group podcast and being able to talk to rather than type to these pillars of the community would be a blessing. Being just under a year old (Our one year anniversary is actually tomorrow [August 11]) and being identified up near those guys is just incredible. Being able to participate in such a podcast would definitely be a dream come true."
DD: "Those would be some amazing opportunities I really do hope HTA gets the chance to say they work with people of such high caliber names in the Halo Community. It's definitely not impossible, we are all just people. Does the Halo Team have any upcoming projects that they may be able to talk about?"
VIN: "Well, we certainly have a lot of stuff in the back-burner. What we can wholly talk about right now is Lost Episode 2, which will pick up after Episode 1 left off. There will be plenty of new characters, and the story is going in a direction I think everyone will be intrigued by. Speaking of Machinima, we may or may not have a little tease in the works for a project that you're going to love... That's all I'll say on that."
YASH: "Less in the way of projects in the way that Vin described we also have some projects that will help us be easier identified in the community as well as achieving our final goals which are bringing the community as a whole closer together. One of those is making ourselves stand out, in this case a fancy new logo that will represent HTA's ideals and values which is being made for us by one of HTA's members and should be ready to roll out soon. Another project is more focused on actually bringing the community together, and that's actually through working side by side with Halo Archive and setting up a possible affiliation in the coming weeks. One of our first members, Adv Jones is a huge supporter of HTA and is helping us achieve this goal since he is a high standing member on the site."
FISH: "With the return of the #Throwback's were hoping to bring in the audience of all those who enjoyed the OG systems. Whether they were just born and couldn't experience it or those who currently no longer have the system or the game. With Season #1 being a start of testing the bandwidths and pushing the systems to their maximum quality, I would like to say it was a success. We do know where we stand and what we can and can't do, as demonstrated. However, with the return of #Throwback and the upcoming Season #2. Which is (rumored) to be in September sometime. We are hoping to give the experience for everyone to enjoy. We already have equipment en route for webcams and audio. That way you aren't just watching a boring stream that's pretty much just a walkthrough with trial and error. We're pushing towards sorta what Game Grumps has done, but with success. I have people already setup ready to help out, everything we need is already here. We're just hoping not to reach to the audience in Halo, but to (hopefully) reach out to all of those who have a hobby in gaming, as well as provide as much entertainment to keep those drawn. We've done our research, and we've talked to the critics. I think we're ready"
DD: "All these different things in the works is really exciting. I know there have been some asking for episode 2 of Lost already and I am one of those people. #Throwbacks Season #2 sounds like a blast and I've known Jones a while now and can vouch for how good a guy he is. A real supporter of the Halo Community and someone who is willing to meet people and hear them out. To clarify though, you insinuated earlier that there are more members in HTA than currently present but you guys are the founders. About how many are in Halo Team Assemble and how can one join?"
YASH: "Yes there are more than just us, but there are just too many to count to be completely honest, everyone that we played with that showed up to our lobbies last summer which were packed to give you an idea, to the people we encounter in Twitter, everyone is in HTA, whether you play with us, participate in our machinimas, or just play Halo, you are part of HTA. The reason being is that we just want to help better the community, and community isn't built by making exclusive groups, it's by including everyone, from game developers to your average gamer."
DD: "Very well said. Universal inclusion is pretty much the idea I think of when I think of Halo Team Assemble at its core. So you love Halo and gaming in general. What are each of your favorite games and franchises other than Halo?"
VIN: "Oh, that is a very long list. I suppose counting my favorite games here, Mass Effect is certainly one I could never leave out. It's my favorite science-fiction universe behind Halo, and I cannot wait for Andromeda. I'm also a big fan of Gears of War, simply due to the grittiness of its campaigns as well as the really diverse character personalities. Bioshock was an amazing ride with a lot of interesting gameplay elements and anything from Naughty Dog catches my eye. Finally, I have to give a nod to Destiny as my really guilty pleasure. I know it has a lot of problems but I deeply enjoy it and have already pre-ordered Rise of Iron."
YASH: "Other than Halo my favorite game would probably be Jak 2. Yes I know it isn't even a relevant game anymore, but it is a symbol of how I first began playing video games. Through my cousins and their visits to my house, which is actually how I was introduced to Halo. The game's chaos was something a very young me found hilarious and entertaining. Franchise wise I think I'm tied between Star Wars and Pokemon both had a big role in my childhood but Star Wars interests me a little more than Pokemon now, even though Pokemon Go is ridiculously fun. Star Wars is so big that it's hard not to find something you love within."
FISH: "I'm going to have to say, I don't necessarily have a favorite franchise or games. I'll pretty much play anything and everything. Rarely ever will you hear me say "I think that games trash" or anything along those lines. The only thing I DO have is a weight-ratio. I will play some games over others if asked. For example, if you asked me right now if I wanted to play GTA Online with you and someone asked me if I wanted to play Rainbow Six: Siege. I would be playing with the other person. But, if you asked me if I wanted to play Gears of War: Judgement and nobody else asked anything. I would play Gears of War: Judgement. Simply because I'll play whatever. Even Kinect Sports."
DD: "Solid games in these lists. Gears is also a personal favorite of mine along with Pokemon. Back onto Halo, I want to speak more about the general community specifically since this ambitious group's ultimate goal is to unite it and other gamers. What do you think of the current state the Halo Community is in and what do you think attributed to this?"
VIN: "Honestly, I think the Halo Community has really worked hard to pull itself from the disgusting cesspool it was around the late Halo Reach to late Halo 4 days. This community still has plenty of problems in terms of size and accessibility, but 343 has the perfect game on their hands here, and they need to utilize it. I frequently see Halo 5's Forge and customs on Reddit's front page, and people have responded to the multiplayer as a whole with near complete happiness. 343 needs to implement a custom games browser and more social playlists so that these people have a way to play all of this fun stuff. But what do I think attributed to this? Plain and simple, Halo: Reach's multiplayer was way too poorly balanced and Halo 4 didn't have enough sustained content to hold over an audience. Halo 5 does both of these with flying colors."
YASH: "Well, the large majority of the Halo Community I believe are genuine fans of the series and that's great but we can't go and pretend that the community hasn't been hurting the last few years because it has. The hurt, I feel comes from those who constantly talk down the community and put down those within it probably because they no longer enjoy Halo. There is the issue right there, they stay in the community and complain, and talk bad about everything that 343 does with Halo instead of just going to a game community that they like better. It creates a toxic environment for the fans of the series and those trying to do something with it. In fact something that I've seen become more of an issue in the last few months is the fact that people are beginning to blame the YouTubers themselves, who have no ability to change Halo in anyway. While this is all happening though the good people of the Halo Community (and there really are some) keep trying to maintain the greatest gaming community to ever exist in my opinion. The cause of all this is most likely attributed to the hand-over of Halo from Bungie to 343. Personally I love 343 and think they are doing fantastic, but their first game was a little rough, and that soured the community. MCC which was hopefully going to renew that launched with horrible bugs and made the issue worse, so here we are today with Halo 5. The game is terrific, but some have been too upset to want to come back or accept the changes to Halo which we have seen over the last few years. When it comes down to it, the problem is people accepting the change that happens in a franchise when it lasts as long as Halo has."
DD: "Long, but insightful nonetheless guys and I hope readers can figure out what to do with those words and how it relates to the general community and not just one or two sites. Thanks for keeping the answers coming but we're gonna have to close out soon. Do you have anyone you want to shoutout or anything you wanna say/address?"
VIN: "I'd like to thank my mom, my dad, and BoJack Horseman... Kidding aside, the 343i Community Forums got me where I was, and I do want to thank everyone on there for all of the support they gave me. Thank you to Podtacular for granting me an amazing job. Thank you to every single person on HTA that supports us day in and day out. You guys are what keep me going."
YASH: "I'd like to shout out our friends on 343i.org and on Halo Archive, love playing games with y'all! I'd just like to say, that if you love your community get out there and do something. Whether it be playing in lobbies, supporting YouTubers or even making videos yourself. Try to make the community itself better and better yourself along the way. Thanks for having us."
FISH: "And one last thing, make sure to stop by our YouTube and Twitch Streams and give us a like and/or follow. I really appreciate that sort of stuff and I do pay attention to it. I'll just leave this here: "
Thanks readers for reading and thank you to the HTA founders and members for being around. This was really fun and I hope you guys check them out! Follow HTA on Twitter for gaming news, streams, and other fun stuff. Peace out 343iCommunity.