Halo Master Chief Collection : November Update Prepares for the Return to Reach

In the latest 343 Industries monthly update, they touch on the Reach release date announcement, plans for the PC version’s progression, updates on gameplay, and more. Enjoy!

Return to Reach : December 3rd

  • Subscribe to Xbox Game Pass for PC (Beta) and get Halo: Reach, the first chapter in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, on December 3rd.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST (Campaign) and Halo 4 are also included in your subscription with each game delivered over time, completing the collection in 2020.
  • For existing owners of MCC on Xbox One (not Game Pass subscribers), the Halo: Reach Campaign, along with Firefight, will be available as a premium add-on ($9.99USD). The multiplayer components of Halo: Reach – including PVP modes, Forge, and Theater – will be automatically included as part of the base content offering of MCC at no additional cost via a game update.

PC Flight 3

Over most of the month for November, we flighted Halo: Reach on PC. This flight began all the way back on October 29th and ended earlier this week on November 18th and we learned a lot from this flight. We met all of our goals we targeted at the beginning, as well as the additional ones put in place with our extensions, during this flight.

Participants helped us in more ways than they can imagine. From checking the fixes we implemented, to stress testing our underlying systems, to helping validate updating a live product in all the ways we can on the backend – Flight Three was a success!

Since the announcement of the release date for Halo: Reach there has been a lot of discussion in the community around topics of interest from this flight. Specifically, there are several key areas where players would like to see improvements but we’d like to assure everyone that the core Halo: Reach experience is shaping up great for both Xbox One and PC. The team has been working hard on these areas and is aiming to bring additional updates and features to the game post launch as we continue to improve MCC over time.

We want to thank the community who helped by participating in our flights. Over the course of the entire flight, users submitted the better part of 3,000 individual tickets via the Halo Support Site! Because of the reports provided on the Halo Support site we’ve been able to pinpoint bugs encountered ahead of launch.

From this flight the team was able to build improvements to our feedback pipeline and further streamline how we can iterate and build patches to hotfix items mid-flight. This is something we are working to constantly improve – we’re continually striving to be quicker and more efficient to respond to issues raised by the community as we move more and more to a “live service” model. As we approach launch and look towards the future game updates the team is planning to release, we want to discuss the status of some of the hot topics and share some insights into what you can expect.

You can find many specific details relating to the PC build via the full update here.

Things to Know for Launch

Over the past few months we have discussed things that are coming online at the time of launch or that are features we are bringing online after the fact. There are a handful of key topics we wanted to touch on and remind folks about.

  • PC Forge and Theater are coming online for Halo: Reach later next year (Forge and Theater will be available on Xbox One as of 12/3).
  • PC Files share uploads will not be active at launch
  • UGC migration over 6.2 million maps and modes happened this year and that content will be accessible in game as of 12/3.
  • There are some improvements coming to Forge next year, but you need to read below in our technical deep dive for all of the spoilers.

As stated previously, PC’s Forge and Theater require a lot of heavy lifting to make functional and feel good on PC. This work is extensive, and something the teams are hard at work on making right. To do so, this required these two features come to PC later in the game’s life cycle next year. This also includes the ability to upload to file shares on PC, which will not be available at launch. Instead, this will be brought online once some security feature work is done.

A really cool feature that will be available Day 1 includes the roughly 6.2 million maps and modes from legacy file shares on Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4. All maps and modes from these legacy title file shares will be brought over to the file shares for players on MCC when Halo: Reach joins MCC on December 3rd. For Xbox users this will happen when you launch the title after the game update and move past the initial start screen. The update will queue up the process so you can access your updated file share and migrate your local maps to the new systems. So although you won’t be able to build initially in Forge on PC for Reach, you will be able to access and enjoy all the content users created for Halo: Reach on file shares from the Xbox community!

For those wanting to know more about Forge changes, an in-depth breakdown on some of these can be found further down the blog in the technical discussions section. But before we get there, let’s talk Seasonal Progression.

MCC Forge.jpg

The New Progression System

Thank you to everyone who has given us feedback on the new progression systems in MCC. When we looked at adding in a progression system, we knew that we needed to deliver something that preserved the spirit of Halo: Reach while laying the foundation for a modern system that will grow and support multiple games. Unfortunately, we couldn’t reuse any of the work from the Halo: Reach progression UI and services on Xbox 360 in terms of technology as it was optimized and designed for the Xbox 360 hardware and ecosystem. We also wanted to improve aspects of the original system by separating player XP and currency, promoting gameplay in line with team goals (so Grifball can return to greatness, among other playlists), reducing the grind to unlock customization, and making it clearer what the unlock path is along with centralizing where all the unlocks come from. We recognize that the current implementation doesn’t deliver on one aspect people liked about the old system – greater choice in the unlock order, and we will look at ways to address this in the future.

An early version of our progression system went live in the recent flight and we’ve been analyzing the feedback and data ever since. In the early days of the flight, we noticed that even players who were playing a lot of games were not advancing through ranks as quickly as we expected. We dug into the data further and discussed what could be done. We made an update to the XP values awarded in each game mode and for each medal, and things are looking closer to where we hope XP progression to be.

We are now analyzing the full flight data and making our final launch adjustments. Thank you to everyone who played and offered feedback on the earn rate of XP in the flight. Our goal is for players to unlock all the Halo: Reach season items within a reasonable time frame and in far less time than it took to earn them all in Halo: Reach on the 360. With respect to unlocks, we have ensured that Halo: MCC includes all content that was ever playable in Halo: Reach on the 360, including the ones that were previously tied to preorders, limited editions, and limited time grants. We are even digging through the vault to see what else could possibly be offered at a later time.

In addition, we have heard feedback about the all new season panel we have added into Halo: MCC, and we are continuing to polish and improve the presentation and interactions on this screen. In particular, we are looking to add a unique preview for each item in the season panel so it’s easier to understand what exactly you will receive at each tier. On the customization front, we will look to make further improvements to navigation and preview of the character armors and models in coming updates.

MCC progression.jpg

Our Take

There are a load more technical details in the full update so make sure to read up on it here. It’s incredible exciting to see the lengths to which 343 Industries is going to make this the definitive Halo Collection that will be played for years and years to come. Stay tuned to SG for future updates and information!

By Seasoned Gaming

Covering the videogame industry with daily content, unique opinions, and as always, no ads or filler.

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