343 Industries brought 12-minute video documentary for Halo 5: Guardians to San Diego Comic-Con on Friday. While the setup was to provide the story details and contrast between Master Chief’s Blue Team and Spartan Locke’s Fireteam Osiris, the video spent over two minutes obliquely admitting and excusing the mistakes with Halo 4. The good news is that the footage was full of details for the upcoming Xbox One shooter.
The reference to the difficulties that 343 Industries faced during the development of Halo 4 starts at approximately the 1:45 mark in the video hosted on IGN’s YouTube channel. That’s when Studio Head Josh Holmes provided a segue comparing how Fireteam Osiris not being together before is a parallel to the studio at the time of Halo 4‘s development.
“There’s a fact that we built a studio and made a game at the same time. That’s pretty crazy if you actually knew what that entailed,” Lead Campaign Environment Artist Justin Dinges said.
“I think a lot of us did, and I definitely felt, a lot of pressure,” Software Engineering Lead Josh Lindquist added.
“We brought in these amazing talented people to make a game, but they never worked together before. You have all these new ingredients in a kitchen you’re not familiar with. So there was a kind of craziness that came about from all that,” Sandbox Lead Chris King said.
“I don’t know how it happened. All the things that could be against the team were against the team,” Creative Director Tim Long explained.
“This is our sophomore effort,” Senior Producer Alex Cutting chimed in. “This is where we prove whether we can really pull Halo off.”
With that in mind, the video went on to explain how 343 Industries looked at the Xbox One and its capabilities and how it could be used to bring new elements into Halo 5. The following from System Designer Matt Findley encapsulated all of the comments best.
“The engine was made 15 years ago. There were things in this things we should tear out and rebuild from scratch,” System Designer Matt Findley pointed out. “Between 4 and 5 we had some time. It was the right time in the marketplace to go “Okay, we need to go 60 frames per second, we need to go dedicated servers and if we’re ever going to do those, we gotta do them now.'”
343 Industries has their work cut out for them as the complaints with Halo 4 are wide and varied between the single-player and multiplayer. We saw how the studio is correcting the multiplayer issues during the beta at the end of 2014. However, fans continue to point out that the sandbox areas weren’t big enough, the story was too confusing, and the use of quick-time events were bad during the campaign.
The Halo 5 campaign is going to sway opinion of the game just as much as the multiplayer. The permanent four member team structure with squad commands is a good step forward, but the loss of local co-op is a step back as well. We’ll have to continue to watch how 343 Industries proves itself worthy of working on the Halo franchise when it releases to the Xbox One on October 27.
[Images via Halo Waypoint]