Halo 6's Development Won't Be Impacted By Ongoing Support For Older Titles
Microsoft is updating Halo: MCC in a big way, but that work won't impact the next Halo FPS.
While the next Halo FPS has not been officially announced, we definitely know it is coming. And thankfully, it's going to have split-screen support. Now we've learned even more about the game, or at least its development. In a blog post this week, developer 343 Industries stressed that its ongoing support for Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo 5 will not take away resources from "the next Halo FPS title." A "small but experienced" team at 343 is now working on support efforts for what 343 called "legacy" Halo games.
"This team is completely separate from the broader 343 team working on the next Halo FPS title," 343 explained. "There's zero overlap or shared resources to ensure that the larger game team can remain laser focused on the future. I've read some posts from fans who are concerned that we're cracking open MCC at the expense of the next Halo FPS title--rest assured that while MCC is incredibly important to the studio, in no way is this work interfering or taking away from the next big thing. We are committing the necessary resources to do both projects right."
Back in October, Microsoft spoke frankly about why Halo: MCC struggled and laid out a bold and ambitious plan to address its lingering bugs and improve it on the whole. Because this effort came across as sounding like a serious and time-consuming effort, some believed it would impact the development of the next mainline Halo game. 343 did acknowledge that its ongoing support for Halo: MCC is a "big ambitious project" with a "lot of work to be done."
In addition to the "small but experienced team" inside 343 working on Halo: MCC, 343 is recruiting the community to help test new features and functionality as part of a "flighting" program that will roll out in phases in due time. In addition, 343 said it is working with "some external support" on this effort, which sounds like a reference to an outside studio.
Finally, 343 talked about some of what it plans to address and add to Halo: MCC over time. This will include updating the matchmaking APIs to improve reliability and make the overall matchmaking experiences--and especially in parties--"much more" reliable. Additionally, 343 is updating the XDK/APIs for all eight of the game engines running under the hood. This includes Halo 1 Classic, Halo 1 Anniversary, Halo 2 Classic, Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo 4, and Halo 2 Anniversary multiplayer.
"One of the major implications of this work is that the XDK upgrades now allow us to support Xbox One X features such as increased resolution and visual enhancements," 343's Andrew Schnickel said. "We can also use platform advancements such as the 'social manager', which simplifies a lot of our code around friends and presence management. And foundationally, this update opens the possibility for other things we'd like to explore like custom game session browsing, Xbox Arena, or Mixer support."
Updating all the engines includes things like "fully retiling textures, recompiling shaders," and more. When this process is complete, you'll have to install a "sizable" update, 343 said, adding that it will "definitely be worth it."
Be sure to read the full, incredibly in-depth blog post on Halo Waypoint to get all the important details on the big new updates coming to Halo: MCC.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection had a very rocky launch in November 2014. An ambitious game that packages together four Halo games and their multiplayer modes, the game struggled mightily out of the gate, with matchmaking times proving extremely lengthy and in some cases not working at all. Microsoft was quick to address the issues and the experience has improved dramatically. Still, Microsoft sees the issues as a "black eye" for the franchise.
It is going on three years now since the last mainline Halo FPS was released, with Halo 5 debuting in October 2015. It is possible that the next Halo FPS will be announced during Microsoft's E3 2018 briefing, but nothing has been confirmed at this stage.
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