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343iBot

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The Halo Bulletin: 10.8.14

08 October 2014 - 08:33 PM

Outside of the studio, the Pacific Northwest days have begun to get shorter and colder. Within the studio, our days have instead gotten much longer as we push towards the release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a major website update, the Halo Channel, and more. As each piece of the puzzle comes together, we’re beginning to not only see the light at the end of the tunnel, but also the full picture of Halo experiences that await, including the new Halo Waypoint, which will actually be here quite soon. Let’s get into it.

A New Waypoint

Last week, we announced that a major redesign is on the way for Halo Waypoint, and this week, we have more details. The new site will feature a wide variety of improvements, as well as a brand new look. For additional details, check out last week’s update.

The new freshness will arrive this coming Monday, 10/13, in the evening hours on the west coast. Because this is a massive update, the forums will become read-only for a period of time, as we’re importing all of your posts and private messages to the new site. The forums will become read-only this Saturday at 10AM PDT, and will return to full (and new and improved) functionality in the early morning hours (PDT) next Tuesday. Moving forward, all new (and imported) forum posts and private messages will feature a new simplified format.

We have new customizable user profile pages, a detailed events calendar, new search functionality, revamped forums, a community landing page, new Halo Universe content and more on the way, and we’re excited to roll everything out. We’ll have an overview of the new features on day one so that you can get nice and comfy right away. See you Monday.

The Medal Chest

You may have heard that we’ve teamed up with IGN to deliver Halo: The Master Chief Collection news all month long, and we kicked things off this past Monday with the announcement of Warlock (now called Warlord) as the sixth re-mastered Halo 2 map. Keep an eye on this page for the latest from IGN First.

Just yesterday, it was announced that we added medals to both Halo: CE and Halo 2 for Campaign and multiplayer within Halo: The Master Chief Collection. There are nearly 100 unique medals in both Halo: CE and Halo 2, which will give you more ways to track your progress and style. If you prefer a classic experience, in-game medal display can be turned off for Halo: CE, and Halo 2 Classic will have the option to toggle between classic medals, modern medals, and “off.” Campaign medals will be awarded for enemy and style kills as part of the unified Campaign scoring system, which is a new variation of the systems in Halo 3, ODST, and Reach.

Additionally, The Master Chief Collection includes a career section in the unified UI that allows you to track stats and accomplishments, and the new Medal Chest is one of the career screens that tracks your accomplishments across multiplayer and Campaign. The Medal Chest includes four categories - custom games, Matchmaking, Campaign, and Campaign playlists, across all games within The Master Chief Collection.

 

In thinking about multiplayer medal design for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, we wanted to be mindful of how players new and old want to track their accomplishments, and this is one of the reasons we allow medal display for Halo: CE and Halo 2 Classic to be toggled on and off in-game. When medal display is toggled off, medals are still tracked for the Post Game Carnage Report and Medal Chest, so you’ll be able to maintain a record of your accomplishments, even if you prefer the classic look when playing multiplayer.

All original medals from Halo 3 and Halo 4 are included, and legendary medals have been added to each. Halo 2: Anniversary multiplayer will also include new medals for game modes such as Race, Infection, Assault, and Ricochet.

Lastly, we’ve heard and understand feedback from some players who believe medals should represent serious accomplishments, and are happy to announce that each game will support legendary medals including Extermination, Perfection, Steaktacular, Killionaire, and Triple Double. In the Medal Chest, these medals will be designated with the “Legendary” banner, which indicates medals that recognize specific, harder-to-earn accomplishments.

Astro A50 Halo Edition

As we announced earlier this year, we’ve partnered with ASTRO Gaming to bring you the coolest headsets and speaker tags that you’ve ever seen, and we just happened to get our hands on one of the first production models for the Halo Edition A50 Wireless Headset.

Keep an eye out for upcoming pre-order info at astrogaming.com

New York Comic Con

We’re deep in the final stages of Halo: The Master Chief Collection development, but we love New York Comic Con too much not to participate. Our own Frank O’Connor will be there Friday to meet you and provide autographs at the Mega Bloks booth from 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT and Dark Horse booth from 6:00 pm-7:00pm EDT.

Additionally, if you’ll be one of the lucky attendees, you can find all sorts of Halo bounties throughout the con. You can find our various items at our partner booths listed below!

Rooster Teeth
Booth # 2309

Bandai
Booth # 1628

Dark Horse
Booth # 1636
Frank O’Connor Signing – Friday 10/10, 6pm – 7pm EST

Insight Editions
Booth # 1869
Selling new Halo Journal signed by Kiki Wolfkill (only 40 available – they’ll go fast!)

Kotobukiya
Booth # 1654

McFarlane Toys
Booth # 1528

MEGA Bloks
Booth # 1804
Frank O’Connor Signing – Friday 10/10, 4pm – 5pm EST

NECA
Booth # 536

Simon & Schuster
Booth # 1828

Square Enix
Booth # 1813

Triforce
Booth # 636

Canon Fodder 

Last week, we began a new mini-series entitled “Canon Fodder” with one of our newest 343 Industries writers, GrimBrother One. In the coming weeks, he’ll be taking a look at the stories and events contained in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. If you’d like to catch the intro, head over to last week’s Bulletin. This week, we’re kicking things off by looking at events surrounding the discovery of Installation 04. Take it away, Grim.

Last week, we took a look back at the opening days of the Halo Conflict, covering events that take place largely in Halo: Combat Evolved. Today, we catch back up shortly after the Master Chief and Cortana are introduced to one of the most pivotal figures in the franchise, 343 Guilty Spark, monitor of Installation 04.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2552

343 Guilty Spark convinces the Master Chief that in order to stop the Flood, he must activate Halo, an act only accomplished by acquiring the Index from the center of the Library. The Master Chief procures the Index and is transported back to the control room with Guilty Spark. Before he activates the Halo however, Cortana halts the process and divulges the true purpose of the ring: to destroy all sentient life, thereby starving the Flood. After escaping Guilty Spark and destroying critical pulse generators which would hinder the Halo’s activation, the Chief and Cortana head to a lone Covenant battlecruiser to acquire the captain’s neural interface from the parasitic remnants of Keyes’ Flood-infected body in order to detonate the UNSC Pillar of Autumn’s fusion reactors.

SEPTEMBER 22, 2552

After commandeering a Covenant Banshee to return to the Autumn, the Master Chief and Cortana discover that 343 Guilty Spark has followed them there. The monitor freezes the self-destruction sequence, forcing the Spartan to physically crack the engines in order to destabilize the fusion reactor. Once successful, the Chief and Cortana manage to get to a UNSC Longsword fighter and escape the violent destruction of the ring. In the aftermath of the explosion, they scan the debris field and eventually find a small band of UNSC survivors (Sergeant Major Johnson, Lieutenant Elias Haverson, Corporal Locklear, Warrant Officer Sheila Polaski and even the cryotube-encased body of Spartan Linda-058) aboard a Pelican. Through a series of risky maneuvers, the Master Chief manages to get all of the survivors aboard the Longsword and eventually take control of the Covenant carrier Ascendant Justice, using its impressive slipspace capabilities to quickly return to Reach.

If perhaps you’ve only played the games, those last few details might not seem that familiar to you. If you find your curiosity piqued, you should absolutely check out Halo: First Strike, an awesome novel by Eric Nylund that takes place in between the events of Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2. It’s a great place to learn more about what was happening in the universe right after the destruction of Alpha Halo, as well as get the answers to questions that might have come up while playing the games. After all, didn’t everyone want to know how Sargent Major Johnson survived the first game? If you pick up the 2010 re-issue of Halo: First Strike, you’ll also be treated to a few extra bits of very intriguing additions to the fiction at the end of the book. In fact, First Strike’s ancillary additions in particular contains some details that are even more relevant to the current state of the Halo universe, and maybe even certain things to come.

Hope you’ll stick with us as we continue to dive deeper into the countless stories scattered across the galaxy. Until next time…

<3
Grim

Screenshot Spotlight: Abandon

Last week, we turned the spotlight on autumn colors. Take a gander at the following Abandon screenshots, and maybe even find inspiration to make your own.

For your chance at being in the next spotlight, take a screenshot featuring Recon armor and tag it with “Recon” and “Halo Waypoint,” and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

Frostfall by Sniperoxide

Golden Eclipse. by MEMxxLEGEND

Never Alone by ThomasorusRex

Breakthrough by ComicBeast1212

Abandon by MrMartini85

Infection Inbound by RECEPTOR 17

Sneaky Raider by iTrentz

Raging by Tico Dem0n

And with that, this week's Bulletin comes to a close.

Be prepared for a change of scenery on Monday. We’ll see you then.

Bravo


Halo 4 Matchmaking Update: Team Objective

06 October 2014 - 01:52 PM

Team Objective

Team Objective is back and more objective-y than ever! Replacing Squad DLC, Team Objective will contain 4v4 ball holding, hill capturing and goal scoring action on a wide variety of maps. Staples such as Haven, Adrift and Ragnarok will be available including some Forge fan favorites. Voting for Team Objective has been simplified and is as follows:

First Slot:
Team Oddball
Ricochet

Second Slot:
King of the Hill
Team Regicide

Third Slot:
Dominion Light
Extraction

Today also marks the end of Proving Ground as its own playlist. However, we’ve integrated the Proving Ground gametypes right into Team Objective and Team Slayer.

Be sure to hop in the playlist today!


Halo Waypoint to get a new look

03 October 2014 - 06:48 PM

Halo Waypoint new look

Hello friends!

There’s a strong likelihood that many of you reading this update have called Waypoint home for many years, and it is with great pleasure that we share details with you about something new that is on the way. Our web team has been hard at work on a secret project that, until now, had not been discussed outside of the studio walls. This endeavor just happens to be a hefty website update, and the first major redesign for Halo Waypoint.

The update will bring a wide variety of improvements, new features, and a brand new look. We’ve improved search functionality, developed brand-new customizable user profile pages, an events calendar that will keep you updated with digital and live Halo events, and much more.

Additionally, the Halo 4 File Browser will now be located within the Halo 4 Stats App, and community-created polls will no longer be available in the forums. The ability to create polls in the current forums will end on October 10.

Lastly, we are developing brand-new Halo Universe content that we’re excited to share with you. This content will come online next month, shortly after launch. The new Waypoint will be launching within the next few weeks, and we’ll have a bit more to share as we get closer to this date.

Stay tuned for shiny things.

Bravo


The Halo Bulletin: 10.2.14

02 October 2014 - 07:13 PM

It is now October, which means that we can officially say that Halo: The Master Chief Collection launches next month.

Within the studio walls, various teams around the studio are putting the finishing touches on all of the experiences that await you this fall. In one corner, the Halo Channel team can be found building an all new entertainment platform, and I can be found peeking in between desks in an attempt to get a sneak peek at Halo: Nightfall. In another corner, the Halo 5: Guardians team is finishing up various features that we’ll be talking about in the near future. And at my desk, endless amount of Halo: The Master Chief Collection “tests” are underway, in which I play an endless amount of multiplayer matches from each game. Conversations about featured playlists, tournaments, community events, and more fill the halls and conference rooms.

At the rare times when I manage to put my controller down and come up for air, I have the privilege of seeing all of these moving pieces in action, and I’m instantly excited about the games, programming, and experiences that await each of us over the course of the next few months and beyond. This anticipation generally leads to ponderings about what each of you are most excited about this fall, and it just so happens that we want to hear from you.


The Halo Bulletin: 9.24.14

24 September 2014 - 06:44 PM

Hello, friends! I’m out of the studio this week - visiting home and spending far too many hours on cross-country commercial aircraft - but had to take the time to say hello to all of you.

As I speed through the air at 30,000 feet, soaring above mountain peaks, and staring off into the blurred intersection of land and sky, I easily get lost daydreaming about the vastness of our world. I then remember that this planet will be descended upon by the Prophet of Regret’s fleet in just over 500 years, and the view from my aircraft window contains only a very small glimpse into pre-Covenant-invasion Earth. Next, I am reminded that I promised you a fiction-focused Bulletin this week, so I scrambled to grab GrimBrother One, one of the newest writers at 343 Industries, to lend a hand with this week’s update. Throughout the past year, we’ve begun to explore the Halo universe more and more with Community Q&A’s, and I’m looking forward to not only continuing this tradition, but also expanding upon it. In the weeks to come, Grim will be popping in to lend some insight into the Universe – both where we’ve been and where we’re headed – as we approach the release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Below, you’ll find his first introductory segment, which, if you’re like me, will get you very excited for what’s to come.

Greetings! It's an incredibly thrilling time for Halo fans, as we find ourselves all at once looking back on the franchise’s incredibly rich history, and simultaneously looking forward to its exciting and enigmatic future. Halo: The Master Chief Collection is right around the corner, and with it will come the opportunity for a new generation to experience the foundation of the franchise. Not only will players be able to relive the evolution of the gameplay experience, but it's also a chance for us to revisit the roots of Halo's deep and dynamic lore. Characters like the Arbiter, Sergeant Johnson, Tartarus, and more will once again be taking center stage in glorious high-definition, while also paving the way for Halo's future.

We wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to reflect specifically on the fiction, from the fifty-thousand foot view to the far-reaching corners. The Halo story can be found on many fronts. It is all at once an epic space opera, but also a boots-on-the-ground character experience, and we want to continue to make the galaxy more accessible to fresh faces while rewarding the investment of fervent fans. In this vein, I'll be taking a look at various corners of the universe; some paths well-trodden, others much less known. In the coming weeks we'll be taking a look at the story surrounding the events contained in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, helping set the stage for folks new to the fray as well as exploring some deeper elements that long-time players will certainly find... intriguing.

Starting next week we'll take a look at the events surrounding the discovery of Installation 04, and the opening hours of the Halo Conflict. So I hope you'll join us as we mix things up a little; after all, I think we're just getting started...

<3

Grim

Thanks, Grim! I know I speak for many readers when I say that we’re looking forward to digging into Halo’s fiction and fantasy over the next few weeks as we approach the launch of The Master Chief Collection (and, if I have my way, beyond as well).

As promised, I took many of your fiction questions from the past as well as last week, and sent them over to Grim and the Franchise team. Over the past few days, they’ve debated, consulted archived documents and UNSC records, and then (and only then) answered several of your questions in great detail. Read on for more fiction goodness.