Media Bias

Halo 5 Campaign Review: The Good, The Bad and The Confusing

Halo 5 Campaign Review: The Good, The Bad and The Confusing

*Spoilers*

Halo 5 Guardians is said to be the largest Halo ever by it’s own developers, 343 Industries…but does that make it the best? Let’s dive into my personal Halo 5 Campaign review –


The thing that has always made Halo…Halo…was it’s central story arc and wonderfully crafted campaign with our hero the Master Chief leading the way. That being said, the developers and most fans agree there are more than enough characters and a strong enough universe to include other characters in the games as a central player and protagonist.

Halo 5 Guardians is the first game to do just that.


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Meet Jameson Locke; the undeniable main character of Halo 5 Guardians as he tries tirelessly to save the Master Chief from his own doings and bring him home to the UNSC. Locke encompasses everything you want in a soldier and even main protagonist: duty to the mission, honor to the larger goal and a general sense of trust with his comrades and even people playing the game. Jameson Locke was done perfectly.

  • Voice acting: Check.
  • Background: Check.
  • Likability: Check.
  • Character Appearance: Check. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

From the very beginning cutscene of the Halo 5 Campaign where we see Locke and the rest of Fireteam Osiris, I believed in Spartan Locke and his ability to get the job done. I felt powerful playing as him too, whether it was mowing down Prometheans or commanding the fire-team to certain positions, I enjoyed playing as Jameson Locke.

Then on the second mission of the game we cut to a more familiar face and his team/friends, Master Chief and Blue Team. It felt much more seasoned and less “new” playing as Chief with Blue Team, which is good because it should feel that way. They are not the new Spartan IVs with enhanced Forerunner technology in the suits. They are the originals; the best of the best. Before I continue this review and get lost in talking about the play style, I want to say overall this was the most fun campaign to play I have ever had in a Halo game. In terms of  weapon/ability mechanics, movement and general enjoyment this blows every other Halo out of the water for campaign. Playing as a Spartan felt more powerful and commanding on the battlefield than ever before. The new abilities that are available at our disposal helped tremendously with this feeling. For once I felt like more than just a foot soldier on the ground, and more like what a Spartan has been described as.

The team involvement they added to Halo 5 Guardians was great as well. I enjoyed marking targets for my team to take down and having them move to a certain location on the field, although in my experience they were not much help at all.  Too many times did I see the AI just not get the job done when I told them to take down a certain Promethean Soldier or even Watcher…so I am not really sure what they were shooting at half the time. Definitely something that needs improvement in Halo 6 if they keep the team aspect. The team aspect did however make me feel a part of the storyline. I think one main factor playing to this was the constant team chatter over the comms networks. This made me feel more entrenched and involved with the characters and truly a part of the story. Not to mention the levels themselves were larger and provided for a more open style of play where I could choose how to play it in each room or even environment. That went a long way in terms of feeling free from the constraints of a central narrative pushing me through one path, even though that’s exactly what goes on in this type of campaign. It’s the little things that add up to make a campaign experience great and 343 seems to be getting the hang of it in that regard.


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Let’s change course here and move more into the narrative and story of the Halo 5 Campaign –

We start the game with a brilliant mission focused on showcasing just how lethal Fireteam Osiris is, with it ending in Jul Mdama’s death at the hands of Spartan Locke. This mission accomplishes exactly what it is meant to do, and that is warm players up to the idea of having a new central character in the Halo franchise and his team members. However, the narrative itself just seems a bit too soon to rescue Halsey already. We ended in 2013 with Spartan Ops, with the last Halo cutscene showing Halsey stuck with Jul and the Janus Key (which by the way goes without mention in Halo 5 after being pivotal and a central story to Spartan Ops). We are lead to believe that Halsey will begin manipulating and using Jul to her advantage in an attempt to locate Forerunner technology…and to be fair she does that. Anyone who looks through Halo Escalations would know this is covered.

Ahh…but there in lies the problem. Why is such a central story point to Spartan Ops covered in Halo Escalations? Something most of the fan base has not read including myself because A) I do not like comics and B) I should not have to pick up a comic to see the continuation of a story line in the game. Say what you will, but there is no reason to include such important aspects in the comics and not even mention them in the game following where it was initially brought up (Halo 4). Because of this, it makes Halsey being saved a little forced and almost like an abandoned idea they had and decided to save her right away instead of make her ally with Jul. Again, this may not be true, but that’s how fans will take it as did I because it is such an abrupt end to a story line they created at the END of Halo 4.

We then meet Blue team and this mission is fine, as I found the cutscene where John sees Cortana for the first time absolutely stunning and perfectly captured his emotional roller coaster at the time. John is a broken man trying to stay pieced together through whatever means and little hope he finds. I truly felt John’s sadness and sudden determination to find Cortana from that scene and it perfectly encapsulated what we all figured Chief is going through. Not to be a hypocrite, but this begins the main problem I have with this game.

Let’s start with the below cutscene at 12 minutes:

The entire reason Chief is hunted is because he said “Negative Infinity,” or that is at least all they show us after months of build up between this penultimate conflict between the UNSC and Master Chief. The ads we saw were almost suggesting Chief was betraying Humanity and ignoring the Guardians that were leveling cities. If you go out and look at everything Locke said in the ads as well as Hunt the Truth, it seems much more likely that he did something absolutely terrible. Even Buck in the campaign says, “When they hear about this, they’re going to hate us, you know that right?” Before I get going too much more on this missed opportunity, take a read here so I don’t completely reiterate myself.


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Moving on from that, the rest of the story made sense from an overall standpoint, although again it seemed jumpy which made the small things stand out as incomplete. Halo 4 suffered from not explaining what was going on or who the Didact was, and this game suffers from the same problem. Granted, I know what is happening and I knew what happened in Halo 4, but even to me it seems forced and moves too fast for it’s own pace.

For example: What is Genesis? Where is Genesis? How are the Covenant there? Who is the Warden Eternal and what created him? Why did the Domain seemingly gift Cortana an actual body?

I can keep going, but would rather not. These are questions that I would rather not have to wait for future clarification on when I’m in the middle of playing it. The problem is they are not projecting good mystery and instead creating frustrating questions. For example, in Halo 3 when you are on the Ark reading text in the terminals and questioning what the hell is happening, it is exciting because it adds to the depth of the story and does not pertain to the main goal of the campaign. In Halo 5 Guardians, when we land on Genesis, we see a bunch of Warden Eternals and do not get a clear answer on what he is or who created him. Instead, Cortana says something about there being tons of him. Cool…now I know who it is and what it wants. On the contrary in Halo 3, we knew the Prophet of Truth and what his goal was. We knew the Gravemind’s need to side with us for the time being or else he would be wiped out by the Halo array. Diehards will quickly point out the many questions of Halo 3, notably how the Gravemind even ended up at the Ark. I do not disagree and I am not saying Halo 3 was perfect, but it hit it’s main points and explained enough to know what you were doing. Wheras in the Halo 5 Campaign, we do not ever get to understand what the Warden Eternal is and how Cortana seemingly has a physical presence now after she fell into slipspace and accessed the Domain. Not only does that create gaps in our understanding of the plot, but it detracts from Halo 4 where the main storyline was leading toward the Absolute Record, Janus Key and even the Didact’s fate. There is no continuity with 343’s story telling in the main games.

I will move onto the overall story presented in Halo 5 and my thoughts on it.

Basically, we find out that Cortana was kept alive by the Domain somehow and is undergoing some severe changes in beliefs as she wants to collect a bunch of Guardians in order to threaten the Galaxy into peace and accept her stewardship of the Mantle (along with the rest of the AI).

That is the story in a nutshell, although it is much more complicated than that. Truly, not much else happens throughout the campaign in terms of story though. We rarely see Halsey and the Infinity, the Covenant is now without leadership and the Arbiter defeats the Covenant attack with no hint as to his future in the story or what purpose he will serve, if any. What we are left with throughout this campaign are questions, both in what 343 has in store for the future of the franchise, and also how in the hell we got here from the beginning of Halo 5 Guardians.


At this point, if I am being brutally honest, I do not have much faith in 343 to make a campaign that makes full sense for the audience and follows events with detail in character and plot development. While these games have been more fun with the play-style and also look amazing, I cannot help but feel what we have seen so far in terms of narrative has been underwhelming. In Halo CE, we have the origin story of sorts, so it’s not too fair to compare the games, as it was the beginning of all of this. It did however present mystery that was not frustrating, but instead easy to understand and kept you wanting to learn more. In Halo 2 we learned of the Covenant and who they really are, as well as the Arbiter and saw him grow from a war tool into a leader and eventual savior of the Elites. In Halo 3 we continued the story of the Covenant and outbreak of the Flood and wrapped it up beautifully into an all out assault on the Ark.

Halo 4 did a good job of presenting mystery and a sense of being on a strange new world, but again moved too quick for its own good which is why people were confused on who and what the Didact was. Halo 5 Guardians suffers from the same problem of pacing the story and pushing it along too quick.

I know I am sure to have some people who disagree with me on this, but overall I believe 343i needs to slow down and create a story in the game that flows from plot point to plot point without sacrificing the story for action packed sequences. There was a lot of wasted potential including showcasing the Chief being branded as a traitor through cutscenes  that could have shown soldiers hearing it from their commanders, the overall UNSC Infinity crew (not just the top dogs) and even the public. They marketed this as right vs wrong and Chief vs UNSC, and instead we were left with him just trying to save Cortana when they asked him one time not to….But because the gameplay was so amazing and some of the environments were the best I have ever seen, I will up it from 3 to 3.5 stars. PS hopefully we have the Arbiter speak more in Halo 6.

3.5/5 Stars

Posted by Media Bias in Blogs, News, 0 comments
Are The Precursors Evil?

Are The Precursors Evil?

The real question to all of this is are the Precursors actually evil at the core, as the Primordial seemed to suggest? Evil is subjective in regards to this scenario, so let’s stick with the unification plan with the Flood as being “evil”.

If we are to believe the Primordial’s story (which is essentially all of the info we have on them), then we must assume the Flood was never meant to be. It was a mistake through genetic mutation of the dust that was once used as a way to reincarnate their past form. When the Flood was born, the Humans fought them off and then the Flood seemed to retreat on it’s own after it was nearly eradicated. Where it went and what it did from there is unknown, but we can assume it fled to another Galaxy less advanced and consumed all sentient life, with a plan for it’s own vengeance that we eventually see thousands of years later during the Forerunner-Flood War. At the end of that war, it was completely destroyed with the help of the Halos; unless there were remnants outside of the Galaxy still. So there are only two scenarios in which an invasion of the Flood can happen:

  1. There are remnants of the Flood outside the Galaxy.
  2. The Precursors are somehow connected with the Flood and wish to send them upon us.

The plausibility of number 1 is higher than number 2 in my opinion, simply because from the only knowledge we have of the origins of the Flood, it was said to have been a mistake created through genetic mutation, NOT revenge. So number one comes into play after we take into account that the Flood had receded for roughly 9,000 years after being “defeated” by Humanity. This period of time is completely dark in regards to them, however they come back with an attempt to exact revenge not on the Humans, but the Forerunners; a species that had nothing to do with them in the beginning and were not in direct war with the Flood…a species that didn’t figure out a cure or plan to destroy the Flood.

Why did they come back for the Forerunners and not the Humans?

This is where it gets confusing, because the only logical answer to this qustion that we can deduce is the Precursors are behind the Flood. The revenge we hear the Primordial speak of, is the Flood. But wait, why then did I say number one makes more sense than number two? Because it does.

Think about it again, the Flood were created by random happening and chance…or so we were told. For the purpose of this post we should only consider fact as what we have seen written in the lore which is that very fact, that there was no intention on creating the Flood. The Precursors had NOTHING to do with how the Flood were created. They didn’t think that would happen. So the only way the Precursors get involved into this Flood issue is during the 9,000 year dark period we have in between the time the Humans had essentially created the Flood and the Forerunner-Flood War.

Were the Precursors aware/watching what happened during that initial outbreak when the Flood was “born”? How else would they have known about the Flood if the powder was never intended to create it? These two questions are very important to consider, because it forces me to alter my thinking of everything about the Precursors, and I would think yours as well. The only possible connection other than the Precursors finding out about them during the 9,000 year dark period is the Timeless One.


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Fan depiction of the Timeless One


The Timeless One is by far the most mysterious, misunderstood and puzzling character we have ever seen in the Halo Universe. It speaks in riddles, seems extremely intelligent and at the time was the oldest living biological specimen in the Galaxy. And yet, we are not sure if it is truly connected to the Flood or even the Precursors. It calls itself the last Precursor, and says their answer is at hand. If we look at everything we know about the Flood origins above, this truly makes little sense…but not zero. Let’s go over some facts/questions:

  1. How is it their answer if they never meant for this to even happen? The Primordial speaks as if they knew about the Flood all along.
  2. This thing “arrived” (according to the Gravemind) on an asteroid around 9,000,000 million BCE, long before the Flood came to be.
  3. Forthencho believed the Timeless One to actually be a mash-up of victims, similar to a Gravemind.
  4. He also believed it may have been responsible for triggering the ships that contained the defective powder to travel to the Galaxy.
  5. Is the Primordial even a Precursor?
  6. How is it’s consciousness assimilated into the Gravemind in Silentium?

I want to say for number 6, I and others believed while on Zeta Halo it infected itself with the Flood before being destroyed by the Didact as a way to have its consciousness somehow brought into the overall mind of the Flood. If that’s how the Primordial was assimilated though, who/what was controlling the Flood previously? My inclination is that nothing was controlling it since it was created by mistake to begin with. It retreated to survive destruction by the Humans, and then came back when it was strong enough to finish the Galaxy off. Again, this makes perfect sense in my opinion…with one exception.

Why was it hellbent on killing the Forerunners (not the Humans instead) and why was the Primordial saying it was the Precursor’s answer even though they didn’t know it was ever going to exist? (The Precursors did not create the Flood.)



My theory comes into play right in between the time Yprin Yprikushma first spoke with the Primordial, and the time the Ur-Didact spoke with it. After going over each and every option of what the Primordial was, how the Precursors were involved, etc…I keep coming back to one point:

The Precursors never intended to create the Flood, it happened randomly.

How would the Primordial be in control of the Flood in this scenario? How would the Precursors be in control of the Flood?

I don’t think anyone is in control of the Flood. I think it evolved on it’s own, separate from Precursor involvement and separate from Primordial involvement.

“But wait, why did the Primordial say it was their answer?”

Answer: Because the Primordial got lucky that the Flood were created by random happening and saw an opportunity to use it to it’s advantage by instilling fear into the rest of the Galaxy as a plan of it’s own revenge, not the Precursors collectively. I truly believe the Precursors may not be evil, and especially in the sense of evil we are using for the purpose of this post. I think the Primordial was held captive by old Forerunners (not sent in by Precursors) as a way to taunt, humiliate and “punish” one of the Precursors in it’s own time capsule. Over 9,000,000 years the Primordial developed a hatred for literally everything in the Galaxy and as soon as it was transported and found, the Flood were already born. He was able to use it to his own advantage to exact revenge on the ones who kept him there, which explains why the Flood was hellbent on the Forerunners after the Humans had basically won the first outbreak war. Then the Flood fled, continued consuming, became strong and then came back to the Galaxy to finish it off and somewhere in between, was influenced by the Primordial to focus efforts on the Forerunners. When it assimilated itself into the Flood, it knew it would be able to somewhat control it in the future and always be apart of it, thus making him immortal in a way. The problem is the Flood were completely eradicated, except for the holding chambers on the Halos and other installations. The only way for the Flood to “invade” is if there were remnants outside of the Galaxy still after its initial flee, and other than that, I think we are looking at just other outbreak scenarios.

I admit, there are still MANY questions to consider and that even question this theory. I still thought I should share it, because not enough time and thought has been given to the fallacies surrounding the Precursor-Flood connection.

Posted by Media Bias in Blogs, The Library, 1 comment
Halo 5 Guardians Walkthrough Guides Announced!

Halo 5 Guardians Walkthrough Guides Announced!

As we inch closer to the release of Halo 5 Guardians, mroe and more goodies are revealing themselves. The most current release and announcement are the Halo 5 Guardians Walkthrough Guides that were just announced by Prima Games!

It looks like we have 2 different versions, with another being classified as an EGuide. Below are the pricing options on all 3 versions:

  • The Collector’s Edition Strategy Guide pricing options are Hardcover for $34.99 and Paperwork for $24.99.
  • Standard Edition Strategy Guide pricing options are Hardcover for $34.99 and Paperback for $24.99
  • EGuide for $9.99

The Collectors Edition apparently comes with Bonus DLC as well, whereas none of the other options include DLC or mention Bonus DLC. In regards to what the DLC could be, it is not clear unfortunately, but it seems like buying the collector’s edition will definitely get you something unique. Below is the full detail on all 3 options from Prima Games!


 

HALO 5: GUARDIANS COLLECTOR’S EDITION STRATEGY GUIDE

Bonus DLC included.

Detailed walkthrough for the entire single-player campaign.

Complete details on how to earn every Achievement.

Expert tips for all multiplayer maps and game modes.

Free Mobile-Friendly eGuide! Includes a code to access the eGuide, a digital version of the full strategy guide optimized for a second-screen experience.

HALO 5: GUARDIANS STANDARD EDITION STRATEGY GUIDE

Detailed walkthrough for the entire single-player campaign.

Complete details on how to earn every Achievement.

Expert tips for all multiplayer maps and game modes.

Free Mobile-Friendly eGuide! Includes a code to access the eGuide, a digital version of the full strategy guide optimized for a second-screen experience.

HALO 5: GUARDIANS EGUIDE

All the strategy at your fingertips—completely optimized for a second-screen experience. Enjoy all the content from our printed strategy guide in a convenient, easy-to-use digital companion.

All content in this eGuide is easily searchable and sortable.

Complete details on how to earn every achievement.

Detailed walkthrough for the entire single-player campaign.

Expert tips for all multiplayer maps and game modes.


Be sure to discuss Halo 5 Guardians here on our forum!



Posted by Media Bias in Blogs, News, 0 comments
Halo 5 Guardians Campaign Elements

Halo 5 Guardians Campaign Elements

So late last night, Josh Holmes released the first in a series of developer blogs on Halo 5 Guardians through Halo Waypoint. We get a ton of information regarding what they wanted to build and have created in the Halo 5 Guardians campaign, and more specifically the elements of co-operative play. We know that Chief has Blue Team, and Locke has Fireteam Osiris. Both teams have four members, making it perfect for that 4 player co-op we all love.

For some quick points, see the list below:

  • Using dedicated servers, friends can join you seamlessly in the middle of a campaign level over Xbox Live and take control of an AI companion.
  • Chief and/or Locke can give orders to AI team members using the new Orders System in Halo 5 Guardians Campaign. Some examples include: “Attack My Target, Go To Location, Use Vehicle (or turret), Pick Up Weapon and Revive Teammate”
  • By using different members of both squads, your view of the campaign may slightly alter as well since you will be seeing dialog from different directions, while keeping the main story line the same.
  • 343i wants Blue Team to help us players cope with the loss of Cortana in battle.
  • Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris feel different, due to them being completely different Spartan types. Blue Team is more weathered and heavy, while Osiris is more sleek and modern, with differing HUDs as well for each character.
  • Each character has different abilities (already confirmed). We do get an examples such as Kelly being the fastest Blue Team member and Tanaka having longer range for the motion tracker.
  • The Halo 5 Guardians Campaign maps were designed to encourage the teams to spread out and utilize all elements, thus making the maps larger.

For the full detail read below or on Waypoint:


CO-OP CAMPAIGN IN HALO 5: GUARDIANS


Co-operative play has always been a big part of Halo, allowing two or more friends to play through the campaign together. Over the years I’ve spent countless hours playing Halo co-op, as have the majority of us here at 343 Industries. It’s a source of endless fun, particularly because of the emergent play that stems from having a group of players interacting with the Halo sandbox. Yet at its core, Halo’s campaign was originally built to be a single-player experience, first and foremost. So when you joined a friend in their campaign session, you were coming along for the ride and helping to lighten the load. Mechanically, the game was designed with the single-player experience in mind and so the narrative perspective of campaign also remained focused on telling the story of a lone hero.

That changes with Halo 5: Guardians as we have committed to co-operative campaign at a fundamental level. This creative pillar has influenced many decisions throughout the game’s technology and design. While you can still expect the same great single-player experience that Halo campaigns have been known for, engaging in co-operative play gives the campaign a new level of depth and richness.

Within the campaign for Halo 5 there are two distinct modes of play – solo and co-operative – and each mode has its own separate save file. When you start a co-op session, you control the leader of each Fireteam (The Master Chief or Spartan Locke). From there you can invite friends to join your session, and they do so seamlessly. Co-op games run on dedicated servers, allowing friends to seamlessly join and take over control of another member of your Fireteam. There is no interruption to the play experience. The new player simply joins the game, chooses a character (from one of the male or female teammates), and assumes control. Any achievements, collectibles or skulls unlocked during a co-op session are granted to all of the players present at that time. If at some point in the session a friend needs to leave, they can simply drop-out without interruption and the AI takes over seamlessly, so you can continue with your game.

FIRETEAM AI

Supporting this seamless drop-in/drop-out co-op experience is our new Fireteam AI system. Throughout the campaign, there are always four Spartans active. When playing a solo game, the three other members of your team are controlled by Fireteam AI (or “musketeers” as we’ve nicknamed them internally). Fireteam AI is designed to be completely autonomous. When controlled by AI, your teammates will accompany and support you, navigating the environment and reacting dynamically throughout combat.

As a Fireteam leader (Chief or Locke), you also have the ability to give simple commands to your AI-controlled teammates using the new Orders System in Halo 5. Fireteam orders give you more discrete control over your team’s actions to increase their effectiveness in battle. Some of the orders available include: Attack My Target, Go To Location, Use Vehicle (or turret), Pick Up Weapon and Revive Teammate (more on Revive later). Orders are contextual and initiated through a single button press (up on the D-pad). Simply place your reticle over a location, object or target and press the Orders button. The order issued changes depending on what you’re looking at. Our goal is to keep the Orders System simple and intuitive within the flow of Halo combat. We are not building a tactical squad-based shooter but we want to provide players an optional layer of logical control to enable new tactics in battle. And of course if you choose not to use orders, your Fireteam AI will operate just fine on their own. They are Spartans, after all.

EXPANDING OUR CAST OF CHARACTERS

When we set out to tell the story of Halo 5: Guardians, we were continuing the Master Chief’s saga. At the end of Halo 4 we left the Chief in a state of contemplation. He had lost his closest companion in Cortana and was finally being forced to consider his place in this new world. For the first time since he was trained as a Spartan, John began to really consider what it meant to be not just a soldier, but also a human. In Halo 5 we wanted to examine the Chief more closely and doing so meant applying a different emotional perspective, for both the character and the player.

We also wanted to expand our existing cast of characters in our story and bring new Spartans into the fold. To support our ambitions for co-operative campaign, we need four Spartans to be present and available for play at all times. Having a consistent set of teammates allows for seamless drop-in/drop-out co-op, it lets us maintain consistent game mechanics between solo and co-operative play and it expands our opportunities for storytelling as the characters interact with one another and their surroundings. Depending on which team member you are controlling at any given time, your perspective on the story may shift as you experience slight contextual differences in dialogue. It’s a subtle thing and the core of the story always remains the same, but it’s something we hope will be appreciated by fans and add to the replay value of the co-op campaign.

TWO DISTINCT TEAMS

With Halo 5: Guardians we are telling story from two different perspectives, with opposing protagonists. The Master Chief and the other members of Blue Team are some of the few remaining members of the SPARTAN-II program. Proven veterans of the Human-Covenant war, they’ve known one another since childhood and trust one another on a deep level. In that regard, they’ll help the Chief fill a void of companionship left in Cortana’s passing.

Spartan Locke and Fireteam Osiris are a newly minted squad of Spartan-IVs assembled by the UNSC and tasked with tracking down the Master Chief when he and Blue Team go AWOL early on in the game. Throughout the course of the campaign the action will shift between these two teams. The Chief’s missions represent vital turning points within the story and pose questions the player will answer while playing as Locke and Osiris. Only by playing back and forth between the two teams will the complete story be told.

We’ve deliberately designed these two teams to provide visual contrast with one another. Blue Team have a heavier, more weathered feel. Their technology is proven, reliable, and practical in nature. Fireteam Osiris represent a new generation of Spartans. Their armor is sleek and modern, technologically advanced and displaying less wear.

These design cues carry into the play experience through the look and feel of the Heads-Up-Display for each character. From a first person perspective, it’s challenging to convey the differences between characters. Having unique HUDs for each of our eight characters allows us to convey a sense of identity and personality through the visual design.

Each character’s HUD has been painstakingly designed by our artists to reflect the visual language of that particular Spartan. So Locke’s HUD has aggressive lines that follow the curvature of his visor while Linda’s enhanced optics are represented in muted tones that reflect her armor palette.

From a play perspective it was important to maintain a consistent set of core gameplay abilities between all characters. We don’t want players to need to re-learn controls when they move between teams or from character-to-character. While the core gameplay and controls remain the same, each character has a unique set of starting Loadout weapons. Linda has her signature Sniper Rifle, while the Chief maintains his classic AR. Naturally, all of the characters can acquire and use other weapons and vehicles along the way. There are also subtle differences between the characters in terms of attributes. For example: Kelly is the fastest member of Blue Team, while Tanaka has increased motion tracker range.

NEW MECHANICS IN CAMPAIGN

To support team and co-operative play in Halo 5: Guardians we have introduced a new Revive mechanic. This gives players a second chance in combat and creates opportunities for team members to support one another. So how does it work? When a Spartan takes too much damage in combat, they go into a “downed” state. Once downed they can be revived by a teammate, but only for a limited time before they die. While downed you can call for a teammate to revive you. Players will hear you call out and see your icon flashing on their screen, letting them know how long they have before you die.

As a player you can revive your teammates, or if you are the Fireteam leader (Chief or Locke), you can give the order to revive someone. AI-controlled Fireteam members will immediately attempt to revive their downed teammates, though they may die trying. If you die before you can be revived, you will respawn once a player-controlled member of your team makes it to a safe location, free from combat. If every player-controlled member of your team is killed in action, you will wipe back to the previous checkpoint. This adds a layer of risk/reward to the traditional checkpoint system used in prior Halo games, and in co-op, encourages better teamwork and sportsmanship.

One significant mechanical difference between the two teams is the new Tracking ability that is available to Fireteam Osiris.

The Artemis Tracking System is a new piece of ONI technology deployed with Fireteam Osiris in their search for the Master Chief. Tracking allows the player to “ping” the surrounding area by sending out a waveform that highlights objects of interest. Tracking can be used to locate weapon caches, vehicles, collectibles and narrative drops throughout the campaign. It also highlights tactical opportunities on the battlefield. See that auto-turret and nearby generator? Perhaps they can be reactivated and brought online to help repel enemies. The enemy force field standing in your way? Hack the nearby control point to bring it down. That metal vent on the top of a secure building? Use the new Ground Pound ability to break through and gain access to the goodies inside. Each of the missions in campaign have been designed to offer a variety of options and opportunities for play, and Tracking is as means of exposing them to players. And again, while all eight Spartans will move and feel identical, Tracking adds a layer of personality and story to both perspectives, with the Spartan-IIs being less reliant on tech, and more on their own experience.

EVOLVING CAMPAIGN FOR A NEW GENERATION OF CONSOLE

The additions of Fireteam AI, Orders and Revive have had a major impact on the design of encounters throughout our campaign. Along with the heightened focus on co-operative play, these changes have challenged a conventional approach to balancing Halo combat. They have required us to revisit the tuning on every enemy, vehicle and weapon in the game, testing across all difficulties and player counts. Enemies are faster, more responsive and generally more lethal. Many have been given new behaviors to make them more effective in dealing with a team of Spartans.

The scale of campaign experience that we are delivering with Halo 5: Guardians is far beyond any previous Halo game. With co-operative play as a focus, it has meant creating larger spaces with multiple vertical levels and intersecting pathways. Teammates are encouraged to spread out and explore, seeking advantageous positions from which to support one another.

Not only has this increased the scale of the environments themselves, but it requires a greater number of enemies to be active in any given area. Building encounters with co-op play in mind has meant an increase in the density of foes. Because players have more freedom in splitting up and exploring the environment, we can have dozens and dozens of active antagonists, all systemically-driven and reacting in real-time to the world around them. This is where the sandbox nature of Halo really shines.

The decision to remove split-screen support from Halo 5: Guardians was one of the most difficult ones we’ve ever had to make as a studio. We know that for many of our fans, Halo has meant playing together with friends in the same room. We all have great memories of past Halo split-screen multiplayer matches. To move Halo’s gameplay forward and deliver a true next-gen experience, tough choices had to be made. Our decision was driven by a desire for scale, fidelity and focus to ensure that we would deliver the best quality experience possible. With Halo 5 we are delivering massive scale environments, improved AI behavior, increased visual and gameplay fidelity… something that truly takes advantage of a new platform. Many of our ambitious goals for Halo 5 would be compromised in a split-screen setting and the time spent optimizing and addressing split-screen-specific issues would take focus from building other parts of the game. Game development is a balancing act of resources, time and technology, and in this case we made the tough decision to sacrifice something that’s been near and dear to us all.

We are telling a story at a truly galactic scale with Halo 5’s campaign. A story big enough to fill the worlds we’ve created for it. This is a campaign that has been designed from the ground up to support co-operative play with an ensemble cast of characters, and is supported by the gameplay mechanics, scale, features and technology required to make it sing. We’re really pleased with the way it’s shaping up and we can’t wait for you guys to try it, and hopefully enjoy it as much as we are.


Lots of new information Archivers! Discuss Halo 5 Guardians Campaign here on our forum!



Posted by Media Bias in Blogs, News, 2 comments
The Arbiter and Spartan Locke

The Arbiter and Spartan Locke

Halo 5 Guardians feels like the game that has been building up in the Halo Universe for the last 5 years; with all of the deep lore aspects of novels, comics and more all centralizing into one game. With all of these additions and intertwining story lines coming together, it also brings both old and new characters into the fold as well – most notably, Thel Vadamee and Jameson Locke (The Arbiter and Spartan Locke).

Since the very teaser of Halo 5 during E3 2013, we saw the Master Chief in maybe a familiar place (The Ark) searching for his long lost companion: Cortana.


arbiter and spartan lockeSpartan Locke

As time went on, we were introduced to the following image below of a mysterious Spartan character standing on the top of a reflection of our hero, savior and protagonist of the Halo franchise, the Master Chief. When this was released, the community went insane trying to figure out what this meant for our hero and just who this new character is. Since then, much has been built up and we eventually were told this Spartan is Agent Locke of ONI. We were even introduced to him in the Halo: Nightfall series.

arbiter and spartan lockeWe learned a few key things about Spartan Locke throughout this time period. For one, we know he was an Acquisitions Specialist for the Office of Naval Intelligence, with duties that included tracking and assassinating enemy threats. We also know from the Nightfall series he values the military structure and the duty that is at the center of it, with an importance on obeying orders and not getting distracted from the main task.

 


Both of these are important when we consider his main objective as of now: Hunting the so-called “awol” Master Chief.

We know from Hunt the Truth that the Master Chief is being framed for assassinating members of a peace consulate with seemingly no reason or objective. However we later find out he was targeting the extremist group, Sapien Sunrise, who were reported to be plotting assassination attempts on the peace activists. What is more interesting is when we consider the fact that this “secret” extremist group could very well be ONI or at least encouraged by them, since we know ONI is wanting to essentially commit genocide on the Sangheili species. Why does all this matter? Simple –

Spartan Locke is apart of ONI, and ONI is becoming a direct antagonist to the Master Chief.


The Arbiter

So where does the Arbiter come into play in all of this? We know that Thel is dealing with his own problems as there is essentially a civil war going on between the Sangheili and the remains of the Covenant. Well at E3 2014 we received our first view of the Arbiter and Spartan Locke conversing, while Locke looked onto projected holograms of the Master Chief’s life events. *This was more for the trailer and E3 presentation, but still a metaphor*



The Arbiter is seen standing near a window showing what looks to be Sanghelios, the Elite homeworld, speaking to Spartan Locke about the Master Chief. He says:

To find him, you have to forget the stories, forget the legends. You have to do more than walk in his footsteps, for he is more than the sum of his actions. I tell you this, not because I trust you Agent Locke, but because all our lives are at stake. Because the seeds of our future, are sewn in his past.

So most of this quote we can chalk up to marketing. However, there is one very important statement that Thel makes to Locke: “I tell you this, not because I trust you Agent Locke, but because all our lives are at stake.

Thel makes it very clear he does not trust Spartan Locke. This is the relationship I want to dive into further because not only do I think it is very interesting, but it could lead us to know more about the Arbiter’s thoughts on not just this specific human, but Humanity in general. Does he not trust Locke because he is hunting his friend? Or is it because he is working for ONI, an organization that has been quietly pulling strings on both sides of the Sangheili civil war? Thel may know more about ONI than he leads on and that could very well be the root issue here.

We then see another instance in which a Sangheili soldier and the Arbiter showcase further distrust of Spartan Locke and his true intentions:



I do not trust you, he may, but I do NOT.  – Sangheili Soldier

My friend’s trust is not the issue today, Spartan Locke. It is my trust you must earn. You are a hunter, yes? A seeker of things…And now you hunt other Spartans? You seek (Locke: 117). I was not told the identity of your prey. – Thel Vadamee

We see the Arbiter speaking very on edge to Agent Locke, even at one point being surprised as to who Locke is hunting. He definitely seems to question Locke’s intentions and is not sure about working with him, but it appears something is going on that requires him to push aside this trust issue and move on with the objective…as we see in the cutscene below:



Right in the beginning we hear a voice over the speaker say, “Arbiter, we are nearing the the target.” We then hear the Arbiter question Locke as to what he calls the Master Chief and if he is a foe.

Prepare for action. What do you call him Spartan Locke? 117, the Master Chief. He is not your friend, is he your foe? – Thel Vadamee

He’s gone awol and the UNSC want him back, I’m going to bring him home. – Spartan Locke

I admire your sense of duty Spartan, but if he has left the fold, he has his reasons. – Thel Vadamee

At the end of the cutscene, the door opens up and both the Arbiter and Spartan Locke assume a defensive position, with Thel taking out his energy sword…so we know whatever they are approaching is a hostile environment and they are fighting together.

We are seeing the Arbiter *begrudgingly* aid Spartan Locke, while watching and noticing his every move/word. One last cutscene with both the Arbiter and Spartan Locke was seen in this year’s E3 2015 trailer for Halo 5 Guardians. Watch below at 2:15:



I’m a Spartan now sir. – Jameson Locke

I know who you are, yet now you hunt another Spartan, the greatest of your clan. – Thel Vadamee

If you watch that portion at 2:15, you will hear the Arbiter respond with the above quote, seemingly annoyed by Locke telling him he is a Spartan. He also waves him off as if he is sick of hearing him speak, and reminds Locke he is hunting the greatest of his kind. This statement shows the respect that Thel has for John and seems to be reminding Locke he is not impressed with him.

Throughout all of the scenes where we see these two characters together, we can deduce that the Arbiter does not trust Locke, and is more or less annoyed by his presence, albeit understands they need to work together for the good of the galaxy. Why they need to work together remains to be seen.

Overall I think this is a very important theme that has gone somewhat unnoticed. These two characters are major players in not just Halo 5 Guardians, but the entire Halo Universe in general. Knowing that one of them is hunting Master Chief and essentially working for his enemy, while the other is a close friend of John’s, will produce a very intriguing storyline and one to watch for as we roll closer to the release of the game.

If Locke does not want to believe the atrocities that ONI has committed and is committing, assuming somewhere along the line he finds out, then it could be a terrible situation for all three characters involved and force a confrontation. To be quite frank, I would say that situation ends up with Locke on the losing end.


Either way, the story between the Arbiter and Spartan Locke promises to be exciting and interesting for all new and old Halo fans. Discuss more in depth the relationship between these two icons here and thanks for reading!



Posted by Media Bias in Blogs, The Library, 0 comments
Halo at Comic Con Schedule

Halo at Comic Con Schedule

Can you believe we are already at San Diego Comic Con time this year? E3 was just a few weeks ago and later this week, Thursday July 9th to be exact, we will receive more Halo 5 Guardians info thanks to 343 Industries and Halo at Comic Con!


Xbox Wire released the below schedule on when we get to see Halo at Comic Con this year –

Thursday

  • Halo 5 Guardians Breakout Arena: Play-by-play broadcast.  (12:00 PM – 1:00 PM & 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM)

Friday

  • Hunt the Truth/Halo 5 Guardians Story Panel (10:15 AM – 11:15AM)
  • Halo 5: Guardians Panel signing (12:00 PM – 1:30 PM)
  • Halo 5: Guardians Breakout Arena: Play-by-play broadcast (5:00 PM – 5:30 PM)

Saturday

  • Halo 5: Guardians Breakout Arena: Play-by-play (1:00 PM – 2:00 PM & 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)

Sunday

  • Halo Mega Bloks (2:00 PM – 3:00 PM)


In case you were wondering about some of the planned events, Xbox Wire also released this information below:

Halo 5: Guardians “Breakout” Comes to Life

Attention, Spartan recruits: Do you have what it takes to compete in real-life four-on-four Arena combat? Don’t miss the Halo 5: Guardians Breakout Arena at the Xbox Lounge, brought to you by BOOMco!  Team up with your friends, suit up with armor, load out with the new iconic Halo Blasters from BOOMco, and test your skills in a real-life re-creation of the Halo 5: Guardians “Breakout” multiplayer mode.

Halo 5: Guardians at the Xbox Booth (#100 in SDCC)

Be one of the first to play Warzone, the brand new Halo 5: Guardians massive-scale multiplayer mode we unveiled at E3, as it makes its first public hands-on appearance. Dive into epic 24-player battles with both friendly and enemy AI to complete a variety of objectives, and try to keep your cool and as the action keeps getting more and more intense.

Hunt For the Truth: Following the Trail of the Halo 5: Guardians Story(Room 6BCF: Friday, July 10, 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.)
Join 343 Industries and special guests as they examine the compelling and prolific storytelling in and around Halo 5: Guardians. This panel will bring new insight into the mysteries surrounding the Master Chief, and sneak peeks of the stories we have yet to tell. Q&A session following.

Building the Halo Universe with the Collectible Mega Bloks Series(Room 24ABC: Sunday, July 12, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
A worldwide fan-base of passionate players building an epic universe beyond gameplay. With over 65 million Halo game titles and over 35 million Mega Bloks Halo sets sold, some of the world’s most hyper-engaged fans are bringing the Halo universe to life through construction, helping to shape this legendary world in their own way. Fans can expect teasers of the new Mega Bloks Spring ’16 line and a look back at the history of Halo and Mega Bloks, info on how the games become builds with behind-the-scenes stories and making-of moments, why Halo chose Mega Bloks, and what’s next for both brands.

Stay tuned for updates, news and more story information on Halo 5 Guardians from Halo at Comic Con starting this Thursday! Discuss Comic Con on our forum  here.



Posted by Media Bias in Blogs, News, 0 comments
Halo Warzone Q & A With Josh Holmes

Halo Warzone Q & A With Josh Holmes

Two weeks ago at this year’s E3 press conference, 343 Industries showed off an all new Halo Gametype, Halo Warzone, to the world. Halo Warzone is a 24 player game mode in which the two teams  fight and compete to take out not only each other, but different bases and AI bosses/enemies throughout enormous maps. We even learned that these maps are 4 times as large as any previous Halo multiplayer map and that there will be 6 maps at launch, with 6 more coming out through DLC in Halo 5 Guardians. Today, studio head Josh Holmes at 343i took to the Community Update to answer some burning questions about the new gamemode. Below are some of the highlights from his Q&A session, along with the full session below that –

  • There WILL be interactive elements in Warzone, such as destructible environments
  • The average difficulty level of AI is Heroic, however bosses are harder
  • There will be friendly Marine AI fighting alongside you
  • NO friendly fire
  • No veto or vote system in matchmaking
  • Each match should last roughly 20-24 minutes
  • No pilotable UNSC Aircraft at launch
  • Everyone plays as a Spartan (sorry Elite fans) in Halo Warzone as well as Halo 5 Guardians in general

Below is the entire Q&A session with Josh Holmes:

The BIG Jagooze
Will all the various preorder bonuses also be unlockable in game?

All of the items that have been announced as pre-order incentives can also be earned through regular play via the Requisition System in-game, as there is a random chance of receiving them in each REQ pack. When pre-ordering, you simply are guaranteed to get that particular item on day one, without having to earn it in-game.

CIA391
Where did the name Warzone come from?

This was our internal code name for the mode from very early on. In our search for a final name we brainstormed a huge list of ideas (amongst them: Jumbo, Planetary Assault, Battlegrounds, SuperSlayer, and many many more) but in the end we kept coming back to Warzone. It captures the scale and intensity of the combat experience and provides a reference to the many distinct locations that will be featured in the mode. It just fits!

Webb with II Bs 
Do the Warzone maps have any interactive elements?

Within each of the bases located around the map in Warzone are Requisition Stations. Players can interact with these stations and use any REQ cards within their collection to deploy weapons, vehicles and power-ups. In terms of the environment itself, we have destructible elements built into the maps that allow players to open up new routes. These are carefully placed to enhance the flow of combat throughout each map. Warzone home bases also feature team affiliated shield doors that protect your home base from attack. Home base shield doors remain active unless the enemy team controls all other bases.

Warri0r man 
Will each map have different amounts of bosses to kill or is it the same across all?

Each Warzone map features a set of bosses that enter the battle at key moments during the match. Bosses are unique to each map. For example, Escape From A.R.C. (the map that was featured in our reveal of Warzone at this year’s E3) is the only place where you’ll encounter Baron ‘Sraom and his Banshee.

MR GRUNTSWORTHY
Will there be friendly AI in Warzone? I.E. Marines, fellow Spartans, etc.

As you capture each base in Warzone, you receive friendly reinforcements in the form of AI-controlled marines. The marines will help guard the base, providing a final layer of defense against enemy incursion.



CAMAROBOY69
Will there be team killing?

Friendly Fire is turned off in this mode to prevent any jerkfaces from killing their teammates and stealing their REQ equipment. Who would do such a thing? Lots of people.

Wo1fblaze
What are the systems in place in Warzone to prevent team snowballing and spawn camping?

Spawn locations are carefully placed around the map to ensure that there is always a safe location for players to spawn in from. Additionally we allow players to select the base at which they spawn, choosing from all of the bases they currently control. This is one of the advantages to capturing and holding bases: it offers more control over spawn location and allows players to spawn forward in the map so they can apply pressure to the other team.

To prevent “snowballing,” we have REQ Level and Energy systems in the game that govern the deployment of REQ items. This ensures that a player can’t keep spamming REQs and providing their team with a sustained advantage. We also replenish energy at a fixed rate rather than tying it to individual or team accomplishments. So while the REQ content that a player deploys may give them a temporary advantage, it doesn’t accelerate the rate at which their energy replenishes. And of course while it is possible to deploy powerful REQs by spending energy, the opposing team always has the opportunity take it away and use it against you.

CIA391
Could you give us any interesting tricks and tips to prep us for Warzone?

The best teams find the right balance between capturing and holding bases, hunting down bosses and killing members of the opposing team. All three have a direct impact on your team’s score and knowing where and when to focus as a team is critical to victory. Another consideration is when to deploy your REQs and how you choose to spend your energy. Do you want to deploy powerful vehicles late in the game, or will you deploy lower cost REQs more frequently throughout the match? Will you coordinate deployments as a team to gain advantage at a critical juncture or focus on countering the opposing team’s requisitions? Capturing and holding the garage can provide a major advantage by allowing you to deploy ground vehicles in the center of the map. This strategic location plays a pivotal role in many matches. One of my favorite aspects of Warzone is that there is no single “best” strategy for winning. Each game plays out differently and there are many ways to gain the upper hand.

CAMAROBOY69
Will players be kicked if they are AFK?

We will detect AFK players in both Warzone and Arena and kick them from the game over time. Continual AFK violations may result in temporary bans from matchmaking.



Cizlin
How many cards do you get in one REQ pack?

We want players to earn a sufficient number of REQs to provide them with interesting choices in each match of Warzone.  We’re still tuning the experience at this point so the exact number of cards per pack hasn’t been nailed down.

CAMAROBOY69
Will Warzone pick random maps, or veto, or a vote system?

Each playlist will rotate through a variety of maps – there won’t be a vote or veto system used.

LuGer33
Are the values for killing AI bosses still being tuned? It seemed like getting 200 VP (1/5th of the score needed to win) for killing a Legendary Boss at E3 was a bit much.

We want Legendary Bosses to provide a large enough bounty that teams are incentivized to hunt them down and fight over them. That said, the scoring values are not final and we will continue tuning scoring right up until launch (and possibly beyond!)

SoapierSaturn70
What difficulty level is the A.I?

It’s hard to define in traditional Halo terms because the situations in which you face the AI are so varied. You may be fighting 1:1 against a Boss (good luck!), or 6:1 against a simple Soldier or Grunt. Generally we are striving for something close to Heroic in terms of feel, but where the bosses are much tougher than the standard enemies. This is especially true of Legendary Bosses – these are formidable foes that require coordination across the team in order to take them down.



DSight
What was the funniest glitch you’ve witnessed in Warzone testing?

Recently there was a bug where boarding an opponent’s Ghost would result in the driver standing on top of it like a hovering surfboard. “Ghost surfing” is funny to look at and makes for a great distraction when attacking the opposing team.

DSight
How long do the Warzone matches usually last?

The Warzone demo that we brought to E3 was tuned to be faster and more frenetic, with an accelerated earn rate for energy to allow players to deploy more REQ content. We also limited the games to a maximum of 18 minutes. The final tuning for the mode is likely to result in matches that are 20-24 minutes long. Average length for our internal tests is right around 22 minutes.

Hot Juicy Pie
What countermeasures have been put in place to make sure that the REQ system isn’t abused by people buying REQ packs with cash vs those who earn them naturally through the game?

Deployment of REQ items is limited by the REQ Level and Energy systems that govern the Warzone experience. Each REQ item costs a certain amount of Energy to deploy. The amount of energy available to you is limited by your REQ Level. Everybody starts at REQ Level 1 at the beginning of each match and you gain levels based on your actions in the game. Capturing bases, killing AI, taking out AI Bosses and killing enemy players will help you level up within the match. The higher your REQ Level, the more energy you can store and use to deploy REQs. The more powerful the REQ, the more energy you need to deploy it – so, for example, you can spend two energy points to deploy a Warthog or save up until you reach REQ Level 5 and spend all of your energy to deploy a more powerful Banshee. Energy replenishes at a set rate over time, and you gain a bonus energy point every time you level up. These systems are in place to prevent Warzone from becoming “pay to win.”

BFC Mikey
What have you done to prevent an abundance of dead zones or a lack of action? In the gameplay I’ve seen, there are lots of zones without so much activity. What do you plan to do to keep it interesting?

Each of the maps has been carefully designed with focal points for action and opportunities for exploration and discovery. While it’s possible to explore the fringes of the map, success requires engagement with the opposing team. This tends to take place around the base objectives and at boss spawn locations that are peppered throughout the map. We’ve also designed a few areas around the map to be intentionally lower in activity to give players time to group together, plan strategies and redeem REQs without constant pressure form the other team. Home bases are an example of a space that is intentionally designed to be low activity in most circumstances.

XReconPursuitX
Will you be able to play as any type of character (ex: Elite, Forerunner, ext…)

Everyone plays as a Spartan in Halo 5 multiplayer. This includes both Warzone and Arena.

MimicNevada97
Will we be able to set up a customs game lobby with more than the default number of players?

Warzone is exclusively available through matchmaking.



anden MOCT
Do the bosses spawn at the same spots or is there a RNG to where they will spawn? Ex. Hunters ALWAYS spawn closer to blue side while Red ALWAYS spawns near a Sanghelli General.

Each of the bosses have set spawn locations so that players can learn the maps and apply strategy in their approach. Boss areas are carefully crafted and positioned in locations that facilitate map movement while maintaining team balance. We also place Legendary bosses in central locations to give both teams a fair shot at taking them down.

Sith Venator
What are the levels of Req Packs? Premium seems to be the best you can get.

Players will be able to redeem Requisition Points for three different tiers of REQ Packs in the game: Bronze, Silver and Gold. We also offer Premium tier packs as part of the LE and LCE versions of the game. Each level of REQ Pack determines the quality of the REQs inside. For example, a Gold REQ Pack has a chance of including Legendary requisitions, while a Bronze REQ Pack does not.

LOSE
Will I be able to search with a team of 12 or is there a limit?

We allow people to enter matchmaking for Warzone with up to 12 people in a party, so it is possible to put together a 12-person squad to take on the world.

LOSE
How will the ranking system for Warzone work?

Warzone doesn’t feature a skill-based ranking system like CSR, but there we do use a hidden MMR value to track and match players according to skill so that teams remain balanced.

EnemyDew Knight
How many maps will support warzone at launch?

We will have six Warzone maps at launch and will deliver another six between launch and June 2016.



Berserk on XBL
Since games are longer and have more opportunities to earn points, will this throw off the balance of XP earned over time compared to other playlists?

The XP system that drives Spartan Rank is designed to reflect time played with additional performance-related bonuses. Currently one game of Warzone is roughly equivalent to two games of Arena in terms of XP earned based on average match length. This is still being tuned and may change.

LOSE
Will 343 have Warzone community playdates with or against the community?

Absolutely! We’ll announce more details as we get to launch.

USS Galactica
Are the marines featured in Warzone real marines simulating combat and training alongside Spartans, or are the marines simply AI constructs like the Covenant and Prometheans?

The marines are AI constructs created within the simulation. Warzone training is only available to Spartans.

Derpy Turtle HD
Will there be any UNSC aircraft that we can use?

Warzone features Pelicans in intro to the mode but there will be no pilotable UNSC aircraft in the mode at launch.

Dundeeee
Any chance we’ll see a PvE only version of Warzone?

We have no plans for a PvE-only version of Warzone, but this is something we may consider post-launch if there is enough enthusiasm from the Halo 5 community.

Noble Warlord 1
In the final version of warzone, will the original announcer be present? I noticed that in the gameplay released when a player got a double kill or a killing spree nothing got announced.

Jeff Steizer returns as the voice of Halo’s classic announcer in Arena. For Warzone we feature Jennifer Hale (the voice of Commander Palmer). Throughout the game, Palmer provides real-time updates on the status of the match including events like boss spawns, boss takedowns and base conversions. This helps players to strategize on which objectives they want to go after next.

Cizlin
Will players receive a starter pack of REQ cards, with a few of each base weapon and vehicle variant?

All players will receive an allotment of REQs to get them started right off the bat in Halo 5: Guardians.

Plastic Hassle
Will there be skill matching in Warzone?

We use a hidden skill-based MMR value to match players and balance teams in Warzone.

DudeWithAhand
Say a member of both red and blue team are going for the same boss, will there be extra points or medals awarded for assisting the enemy teem in the kill or vice versa for beating the enemy team to the kill?

The Victory Point bounty for taking down a boss is granted to whichever team scores the killing blow. This creates an opportunity for strategy in approaching each boss battle. Do you race to take out the boss, fight off the opposing team as they try to take it out, or will you choose to deploy your REQs in an attempt to steal the kill? The choice is yours.

TheSteelSpartan
Will I be able to purchase all armor from req packs, or will some require me to be at a certain SR to unlock?

The vast majority of armor will be earned within the Requisition system as randomized rewards within the REQ packs but we may have a few exceptions that are tied to specific unlock criteria.

3HaloCrysisKIA88
How often do the bosses drop into battle in Warzone?

This varies by map and is something that we are continuing to tune.

Xfullmetal010
Will players who don’t want to purchase the packs with real-life currency have to grind for hours upon hours just to purchase one REQ pack?

Our goal for the Requisition System is to generously reward all players through the course of regular play. Players will receive REQ packs for leveling up their Spartan Rank (SR) and for completing commendations. We’ll also be granting Requisition Points for playing in Arena and Warzone, and these points can be redeemed for additional REQ packs. We are still tuning the system but rest assured, players won’t need to grind for hours to earn a single pack.



Denal111
Are you going to add a specific (starting) intro to each Warzone map?

Each Warzone engagement starts with the team deploying into the battlefield. These intros are unique to each map.

Lambossity
Will we be able to use the weapon skins in arena gametypes?

Weapon skins are usable in Arena (matchmaking and customs) for starting loadout weapons.

JenguBlocku
Will you continue to add more items into REQ packs post launch?

We will be delivering HUNDREDS of new REQs post-launch to ensure that we have a steady stream of new content and rewards to keep gameplay fresh. As with the launch content offered within the REQ system, players will be able to earn these new REQs through the course of regular play. – Halo Waypoint

Be sure to discuss the information and Halo Warzone on our forum!



Posted by Media Bias in Blogs, News, 0 comments
What is the Warden Eternal?

What is the Warden Eternal?

*This post is being used as a way to brainstorm and spark discussion in the Halo community, not necessarily state who or what the Warden Eternal is; although the goal would be to eventually do so by presenting as much information as possible to the members of the Halo Archive Community through this post*

The Warden Eternal

During E3 2015 at the Microsoft Xbox conference, we were shown a Halo 5 Campaign Demo featuring Fireteam Osiris as they hunted the Master Chief during the Battle of Sunaion. What was particularly interesting during the showing however, was the very last 20 seconds or so of the gameplay demo. We see Spartan Locke and his team fighting various Promethean Soldiers, and suddenly a deep, robotic-like voice begins to echo from the Guardian.

I am the Warden Eternal – Keeper of the Domain and her secrets…The Master Chief is called, but you, your passage is denied.

When we begin to hear the first words this construct says, the camera pans towards the Guardian and we see a Promethean appear similar to other entries by Knights in Halo 4. Below is the demo, go to 4:58 to hear the Warden Eternal:



What is interesting is that the speech pattern of this Forerunner is VERY similar to that of the Ur-Didact. The pauses, pace of speech and commanding sound all are reminiscent of Chief’s main foe in Halo 4. Whether this is how most of the Forerunner Warriors spoke is undetermined, however it could be the reason the Warden sounds similar and not have anything to do with the Didact. After all, the Warden Eternal is possibly on the side of Master Chief if we look at what he stated earlier, “The Master Chief is called,” as well as the fact that Chief is most likely aboard the Guardian. However, I am going to rule out the Didact having anything to do with the actual construct we see, and this is something completely different…

It is interesting to note that the Domain is calling Chief, and given how impressed the Didact became with Chief as a Warrior, maybe if the Domain is calling Chief, the Didact would open up to the possibility of aiding him. Just an interesting thought.


The only other reference that I know of or have seen made in regards to what this Warden Eternal could possibly be or have ties to, is the Warden in Halo Cryptum and Silentium. The Warden was a Forerunner Monitor serving aboard the Capital with it’s main purpose to detain and defend the accused while they were judged by the Council. The Warden was mentioned when it was tasked with detaining and defending the Master Builder Faber when he was brought to trial for using a Halo on star systems without approval. When Mendicant Bias attacked the capital, the Warden aided Faber in his escape, which went beyond the realm of it’s duties. Faber insisted the Warden saved Faber because of how important he was to the Forerunner species and Flood War as a whole. Others insisted that Faber bribed the Monitor, with what remains to be seen.

While this may be a complete coincidence and most likely is,it is important to note that the Warden possibly saved Faber under it’s own will. The Domain was tightly nit with the Forerunner Council, as they often used it for storage and investigating purposes. Because of this, the Warden had more of a possibility to contact the Domain than other monitors I would argue. Is it possible that the Domain instructed the monitor to save Faber above all else? If so, could this Warden Eternal be somehow related in any way to the Warden we see during the trial of Master Builder Faber? Or maybe it calls itself the Warden Eternal as an ode to the original for possibly saving Faber’s life and eventual integration into the Domain itself rather than get consumed by the Flood?

A long stretch to be sure, but I do not want to overlook anything and as all Catalog posts here at the Archive are meant to do, just investigate.


H5G_Locke-Promethean_Hardlight_blade


How the Domain Comes Into Play

In the above screenshot, we see Spartan Locke in a battle with the Warden Eternal, which means we most likely are able to actually fight this construct in gameplay. If that is the case, could there be multiple Wardens, each with a separate name? This one being the Eternal? It is definitely a possibility, but one that would not diminish it’s role in Halo 5 Guardians or more specifically the Domain.  When we read the quote again, it informs Locke he is the, Keeper of the Domain and all her secrets”

According to Webster’s dictionary, being a keeper is:

a person whose job is to guard or take care of something or someone.

Notice the word guard, as in guardians. This title keeper of the Domain essentially ties directly into the theme of Halo 5, which is safeguarding and who is right/who is wrong in doing so. We have heard the developers at 343 Industries mention this plenty of times, and so it seems this Warden Eternal very well may have it’s main and only purpose to save whatever is left of the Domain or KEEP it alive.

As we know, the Domain was presumably obliterated along with 100 Billion years of knowledge at the hands of the very people who strove to keep it alive and in communication: the Forerunners when they activated the Halo array. This was told to the Librarian by none other than the Primordial/Gravemind in a taunt-like fashion just moments before the Array was activated. So…if the Domain was destroyed since it was based on the concept of neural physics and we know all Precursor tech was destroyed, how and why is the Domain calling Master Chief? Well as we know, the Primordial picked and chose what it said, as well as demonstrated amazing manipulating skills similar to the logic plague with a Gravemind. Could this have been just a feeble attempt by an otherwise defeated enemy to have the Librarian call off the array firing? While I can definitely see that being a possibility, it is also is important to note we have evidence of a biological Domain being created in Path Kethona by ancient, if not under developed, Forerunners in Halo: Silentium. Can the Domain be created from something? Or someone? Is there a way to reactivate the Domain even after it is destroyed? Questions none of us will be able to answer without pure speculation, but the Domain is still alive in some capacity. How far it goes back and how it has manifested or survived is another story.


The last part of this quote I would like to address is the word “her,” as in “the Domain and all her secrets.”  To start, let’s look at a couple gifs from the Halo 5 Guardians trailer:



Why am I showing you Master Chief in a cave? Well if you look at the first one we see that a small blue light/essence resonating from deep within the cave. Chief notices it and beings walking up to it, and in the second gif looks like he is about to touch it.

We also know this from Gameinformer:

A cutscene shows Master Chief awakening in a strange, dark cave. “Sierra 117 to Blue Team. Report,” he tries the radio. “Sierra 117, does anyone copy?” He starts exploring the area. “John,” a familiar voice calls. He follows the sound and sees a silhouette up on a rock formation. It’s unmistakably Cortana. “The domain is open,” she warns. “Meridian is next. You only have three days. John, the Reclamation is about to begin.” Everything fades ­to ­black.

Frank O’Connor has stated he calls this the “ghost of Cortana.” Well we know that Cortana is not just affecting Chief as an apparition, and it is more likely linked to the Domain and how it manifested itself in the form of a familiar face to John – Cortana.

The Warden Eternal states that he is the keeper of her secrets, not it’s. He is calling it female with that statement, and seeing as Cortana is most likely related to the Domain itself now, maybe she has a more powerful presence than originally thought. Look, we do not know the true nature of the Domain. At times it seemed like a storage of information, but it has always had a centralized mind directing it…making choices on who to speak with, when to speak etc…It is not just a collection of memories and knowledge. If it is extra dimensional, that could be one reason it survived the blast. Or it could be something more integrated into the Universe itself, some sort of essential fabric to the cosmos for the Universe to exist? Whatever the case may be, it  is not just a mash up of minds. Even a Gravemind has a centralized presence, not just storage of it’s dead victims.

Could it be possible that Cortana has become the Domain herself? We know the Domain can be biologically made, as we saw in Path Kethona stated earlier. Are there different types of Domains?  It is interesting because both the Warden and Cortana are AI and are in some sort of connection with the Domain (definitely Cortana). Even the Warden Eternal is some type of Promethean AI that is also connected, which leads me to believe the Domain could be using these AI as personal agents to communicate with the outer world and act out it’s wants/needs. We know some type of biological Domain was created, maybe an artificial intelligence Domain can be opened up as well. All of these different examples we see with it lead me to believe the Domain can manifest itself into any type of form, hence why the Promethean AI Warden Eternal is acting as it’s keeper, because it has the ability of accessing AI as well as biological beings.

Too many questions…most we cannot answer. Two things are for sure in my opinion; Cortana has some tie with what has become of the “present Domain,” and the Warden Eternal (possibly more) is protecting her.


Thanks for reading Archivers, it is always fun to speculate on the Halo Universe. If you are not registered on our forum, be sure to check us out and become part of the Halo Archive community! Discuss this post here.



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Halo E3 2015 Recap

Halo E3 2015 Recap

343 Industries has been working on Halo 5 Guardians for roughly 3 years now, and as we get closer to the eventual release date on October 27th, 2015, 343i has made sure that fans are hyped as ever for the new installment into the Reclaimer Saga. Beginning in March we received the audio series Hunt the Truth, as well as various trailers and a Game Informer Cover Story.  We knew this E3 would be a big year for Halo, and while the actual information regarding the campaign was a bit scarce, we still received plenty of new reveals to feast on for the summer. This is our full Halo E3 2015 Recap, starting with what Halo fans around the world saw first:



In the first minute of the above video we see a trailer mashed up of various dialog and cutscenes in Halo 5 Guardians. All of the dialog seems to come from either Firteam Osiris, which is made up of Locke, Tanaka, Vale and Buck, or the Arbiter. The general discussion is in regards to hunting the Master Chief, who we see appear a few times during the cutscene snippets, however he is only seen alone without Blue Team. For a more in depth analysis on the trailer and information specific to campaign, stay tuned as we will have a full analytical breakdown of the new information.

The rest of the trailer is actual campaign gameplay, as the viewers get to see Locke and his fireteam in action for the first time. In regards to the visuals and game engine, it looks absolutely phenomenal. There are far more debris and sparking in the air as well as background animations showcasing the Battle of Sunaion. This ultimately made the game look much more exciting and captivating than previous Halos. The actual gameplay and movement look exactly like what we have come to know about Halo, albeit in a far more blistering 60 FPS rate; thus making everything extremely fluid and smooth.

Below are some great screenshots of the campaign in Halo 5 Guardians:


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The other excitement that 343i showed off to us was a brand new gamemode entitled: Warzone.

Warzone is a brand new, massive-scale multiplayer mode that supports 24-player battles with both friendly and enemy AI constantly dropping in to mix up the experience. It’s nonstop action when you confront Spartans, Covenant, and Forerunners, all while trying to complete a variety of objectives. – Waypoint

Below is a quick gameplay trailer of the new gametype that they showed off at the press conference as well as a vidoc released later that night on Monday June 15t:



This mode combines the entire Halo sandbox into one package. The aim is to blend together PvE and PvP by making the goal to either destroy the enemies core, or gain 1000 points; whichever is first.

You have three objective bases, two armories and a garage. You start with clearing out your base from hostile AI, then deciding whether to go for attacking the players, bosses, or bases. As you do this, you gain points, as well as requsition points. The Requisition Packs allow you to obtain random cards (Banshee, Rockets, Scorpions, etc.), and deploy them into the battle. However, as mentioned above, they cannot be deployed straight off the bat; instead, you will have to gain points.

These points allow you to gain power weapons and vehicles. No more having to wait for the vehicle to spawn, or rushing to the power weapons. Instead you will have to earn the cards by taking bases, killing bosses, and taking names! (Okay, maybe not the last one, but you gotta play the objective)

The requisition system helps to balance out the problems from Arena into this mode. Instead of working to control vehicles and weapons, you will be working to gain points to aid your team, and increase your performance which will allow you to greatly contribute to your team.


Well that was it for this year’s E3, however we did gain some extra news and tidbits through some developer interviews throughout the week. Here they are in listed format:

  • Currently no plans to have firefight or spartan ops in Halo 5 Guardians – Polygon
  • Six maps at launch for Warzone – Josh Holmes
  • Co-op campaign runs on dedicated servers – Josh Holmes
  • Big Team Battle will be a post launch playlist – NeoGAF
  • Mike Colter is not voicing Locke, Ike Amadi is. – Frank O Connor


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What to Expect at E3 2015

What to Expect at E3 2015

Here we are everyone…the moment everyone has been waiting for this year: E3 2015 which will be streamed here on our site.

It’s hard to believe June is already upon us this year, almost as crazy to think Halo 4 came out almost 3 years ago. But I digress, let’s move onto what to expect at the year’s most important video game event. We shall go by topics: “Shoo-ins”, “We have to see this…right?”, and “So crazy it just might happen.”


The Shoo-In


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Halo 5 Guardians

Alright, so this was not a hard guess. It does however remain to be seen what exactly we will see from Halo 5 Guardians. A campaign trailer? Gameplay? More live action? People will be excitedly waiting to see what 343i has in store for us and it promises to be big. Xbox head Phil Spencer recently said the following about what 343i has planned at this year’s E3 showing:



For anyone that has been living under a rock, catch up on the Hunt the Truth series before going into E3 blind since there have already been a few spoilers spilled for the story of Halo 5 Guardians and more specifically the Master Chief.

Below are both live action trailers released earlier this year in March:




We Have To See This…Right?


 

Halo: The Television Series

You remember don’t you? No not Halo: Nightfall…this one:



So we know that Steven Spielberg is somehow involved in making a Halo TV series, and that’s pretty much it. A year later this article came out with Bonnie Ross stating:

And 2015 won’t simply be the year of “Halo 5: Guardians,” it will also be a year that offers us a unique opportunity. The opportunity to invite old friends and new audiences into that universe through the “Halo” television series, launched as a unique collaboration with Steven Spielberg and some of the finest creative minds in the business.  A series that will stand alone, as well as complement and enrich the game experience.  We’ll have more to share on the “Halo” television series as we near its projected fall 2015 release.

Logic would dictate that June 2015 is close to fall 2015, so that should mean we see something during E3 2015. Hopefully that something is at least a teaser trailer, something that would show more promise than Halo: Nightfall turned out to be. Phil Spencer did say the show will not be “filler” and we know that it plans on having connections to both Nightfall and Halo 5 Guardians.

On June 8th over at the NeoGAF forums we also receieved this little hint from none other than Frank O’Connor himself:


Untitled


So Crazy It Just Might Happen


 

Halo Wars 2

I know I know…for those of you that have been with the Archive for a long time you may remember this pick for last year’s E3…only to be proven dead wrong.

Here’s the difference this time around: there is no pending giant Master Chief release aside from the main show, that being Halo 5 Guardians. We KNOW 343i and Microsoft want to do a Halo Wars 2 and if you are not sure why I suggest reading this post.

A few key points to the article are:

  1. Phil Spencer talks extensively how he liked Halo Wars 2 and how Bonnie has spoken with him about it.
  2. 343i recently brought back the UNSC Spirit of Fire in the Halo Escalations Comics.
  3. The Phantom Dust trailer had a promotional poster for Halo Wars in the background. (At 1:04)


So only time will tell, and at this point if we are wrong we may just start doing it as tradition every year until it turns up to say, “I TOLD YOU SO!”


ATOGEk4

 

Halo by Telltale Games?

In case you are reading this for the first time thinking  we are idiots, take a look at this article. Even after looking over it, it would be entirely safe and fair to say we are in fact idiots. But give us the benefit of the doubt and let’s go over what the above picture is. In an Xbox sneak peek for E3 video they released this framed image you see above, presumably being a young John-117 facing Mendez and Dr. Halsey.

We have no idea if this is a terminal or a game, and honestly it probably is a terminal for Halo 5 Guardians…but then again the odds of it being a game are so small that if it is what I’m about to say, you have my permission to start calling the Halo Archive, Halo Nostradamus instead.

What if this picture is from a new Halo game developed by Telltale Games? Yes, the Telltale Game developer responsible for the Walking Dead comic like video game series. It’s so ludicrous it makes sense. We do know this about Telltale Games:

Coming from LucasArts we always felt we could do a great Star Wars story game,” Connors explained. “We also love the idea of building out a deeper story to a great game franchise, something like Half Life Stories or Halo Stories. – Videogamer.com

Intriguing no? Well then again this is why it is in the last category, because on the off chance we are correct, we will be immortalized by all of mankind for calling this out.


That’s it everyone, stay tuned for Microsoft’s press conference on June 15th, 9:30 AM Pacific Time. It will be streamed live here on our website E3 2015 page. Be sure to discuss everything on our forums as well!




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