The Halo Bulletin: 11/9/11
TL;DR: We're excited Anniversary is almost here. And we hope you are, too.
Every morning, upon arriving at work, I am faced with a not-so-difficult choice: hike up a seemingly endless flight of stairs or slip into the welcoming arms of an elevator. Considering the former involves athletic ability, physical exertion, and the risk of injury, I typically choose the latter. Until the Forerunners invent the teleporter, I figure it's the better of the two options.
In our lobby, there is a pair of elevators at our beck and call. One is average, in every sense of the word, and the other is frequently found sporting protective padding on all four walls. Part of me wonders if it's the preferred mode of transportation for those that forget their straightjackets (I'm not saying I'm talking about the guy that wore the chicken suit for Halloween, but I am saying I may be talking about the guy that wore the chicken suit for Halloween). Then reality kicks in with the obvious answer: clearly, the padded elevator is a time machine.
While I remain convinced the lift will one day accelerate to 88 mph, the closest I've gotten to a time-traveling adventure is yesterday, when, after sharing the vertical transport vehicle with a coworker, I was briefly taken back to a time when Anniversary wasn't the focus, but Halo: Combat Evolved was. I usually spend my elevator time attempting small chat and avoiding eye contact. Yesterday, though, due to the excitement of being exactly one week out, I verbally assaulted Chris, the poor soul that was my perhaps unwilling but still captive audience.
I asked him, as the motors hummed ever so softly in the background, if he was excited about the upcoming release of Anniversary. He said he was, and asked if I was as well. As I'm not capable of giving anything less than a torturously long response, I told him that I was quite excited. So excited, as a matter of fact, that I had not played through the last level in Anniversary yet and that I was saving it for when the game actually is released. That last level, you see, is my most favorite video-game level ever. It's so special to me that I'm waiting to experience it in my privacy of my own home. I plan on cranking up the surround sound, tuning out the real world, and losing myself in the moment, just as I did ten years ago. He nodded his head, and then recounted his decade-old experience.
He was working on Combat Evolved, and the game was almost ready to launch. By the time it went gold, he estimated he had played through the Campaign over 50 times. I asked him, since he played it so much before it was released, if he played through the entire game again after it came out. While the look he gave me said it all, he said, with his mouth this time, of course he played it again. And he couldn't wait to do the same with Anniversary.
As the appropriately named header says above, we're excited Anniversary is almost here. And we hope you are, too.
Halo: Anniversary Matchmaking Playlists
While you're probably familiar with the Campaign portion of Anniversary, I thought you might want to know about the multiplayer aspect as well. The game comes bundled with seven of the most popular maps in Halo history, and we'll have five different playlists featuring them, all offering a more classic Halo experience.
The Anniversary playlists will be going live the morning of the 14th. Well, the morning of the 14th if you call the Pacific Time Zone region home. Why are we releasing them a day early, you ask? Because we want to make sure the playlists are available to all players immediately upon purchase of the game, regardless of what part of the world they live in. That means, depending on your time zone, you may see the playlists before you can actually utilize them. Fret not, though, because once you have secured your copy of the game, you can traverse the virtual battlefields with your friends—stealing flags, sniping faces, and accidentally betraying your teammates with the rockets, just like you did in CE.
Anyway, on to the specifics!
Anniversary Classic game types have the following settings: no Armor Abilities, Anniversary Pistol (pistol traits have been modified to replicate CE behavior), one Frag Grenade upon loadout, player speed increased, gravity increased, jump height increased, shield and health recharge rates increased, and melee damage reduced. Please note that the standard TU changes also apply to Anniversary Classic game types.
TU Game types are our standard Reach Matchmaking settings with the Title Update changes. Those changes are: damage bleed enabled, modified reticle bloom, sword block removed, Armor Lock modified, and Active Camo modified. You can read more about the specifics of the Title Update here.
Anniversary Map Pack
Now that the relevant playlists have been covered, we should probably touch on the multiplayer maps as well. The Anniversary Map Pack, which includes six multiplayer maps along with one Firefight map, will be available on November 15th for 1200 Microsoft Points. This means even Halo: Reach fans can take part in Anniversary!
Before we dip into each of the maps, I thought I would walk you through some of the different scenarios you may find yourself in on November 15th. Halo: Anniversary and the Anniversary Map Pack are two different pieces of content, so here are the various ways to access the maps.
If you own Halo: Anniversary but not Halo: Reach, you will launch the Anniversary maps from the disc menu.
If you own Halo: Anniversary and Halo: Reach, we recommend installing the maps using the Anniversary Map Pack code that comes with Anniversary. You will then be able to launch the Anniversary maps from both the Anniversary and Reach menus.
If you purchase the Anniversary Map Pack, you will install the maps like any other piece of DLC. You will then be able to launch the Anniversary maps from the Reach menu.
Now, back to business. In previous Bulletins, we took deep dives into the majority of the maps, but in an effort to save you the time of digging deep within our archives, I'm going to summarize all seven of the included playspaces. I think I'll even throw in an overhead shot of each map. Because yes, despite what you may have heard, I really am that nice. Well, every once in a while, anyway.
BATTLE CANYON (2 - 8 players)
"The telemetry spires in these canyons help manage the Halo ring's vast translocation grid."
The rocky warrens of this part of Halo provide the ideal environment for an array of impressive telemetry clusters. These spires' synchronization conduits ensure that the ring's translocation grid is always fully operational, part of a remarkably powerful system which allows near-instant transportation across the full ten thousand kilometers that span the installation.
BREAKNECK (8 - 16 players)
"The initial Covenant strike is over, but the fight for Mombasa has just begun."
Section 21 once looked out onto the New Mombasa Orbital Elevator with pride and optimism. Now, with much of the city flooded by the Covenant's brutal assault, the skyline is only a shattered ghost of what it once was as the battle for humanity's survival continues on the streets and corridors below.
HIGH NOON (4 - 12 players)
"Despite millennia of abandonment, transportation facilities like this one continue to function flawlessly."
The vast generator complexes which power this enormous slipspace portal allow it to connect with an unknown number of locations across the galaxy. However, passage through this system requires a Forerunner keyship, and few command such a vessel this long after the disappearance of the portal's creators.
PENANCE (2 - 8 players)
"The Covenant have harnessed the waters of this moon to refuel their massive supercarriers."
As the primary satellite of the Unggoy homeworld, Buwan provides the perfect environment for this massive Covenant hydro-facility used to power and refuel a variety of capital ships. Though still operational via automated subsystems, the station was abandoned shortly after the breaking of the Covenant.
RIDGELINE (8 - 16 players)
"Overlooking one of Halo's impressive relay complexes, this idyllic cliffside once served as a UNSC staging area."
Once serving as a watchpoint for the immense relay complex below, the monitoring outposts nestled atop this ridge became a staging ground for human forces during their time on Installation 04. Toward the end of the conflict, a Covenant assault brought the resistance of the marines here to a tragic end.
SOLITARY (2 - 8 players)
"The security spire's damaged interior only hints at the terrifying power of its previous inhabitant."
These spinning confinement platforms are a testament to the technological prowess of the Forerunners. In the event of a security breach, the facility's suborbital location and frigid temperature were thought to be able to keep any threat at bay, but it appears those plans were… optimistic.
INSTALLATION 04 (1 - 4 players)
"Fight for survival around mysterious Forerunner structures on Installation 04."
When the UNSC Pillar of Autumn arrived at Alpha Halo—also known as Installation 04—the Covenant was already there to welcome them. The conflict that followed raged across the surface of the ringworld, eventually pitting the renowned and battle-hardened ODSTs against a merciless Covenant assault, which would stop at nothing to control Halo.
Halo: Anniversary Launch Party
Anniversary officially launches next Tuesday, and the launch parties take place the evening before. Starting at 10 p.m. on Monday, November 14, 13 U.S. Microsoft Stores will play host to an evening full of Halo-themed festivities. The first 100 people in line at each store will receive special swag, including an Anniversary poster, a Red or Blue team identifier, and more. With a Monster Energy drink in one hand and pizza in the other, you will, assuming you're game, face off against fellow attendees in classic, 16-player Red vs. Blue matches. Additionally, the first 100 fans who purchase Anniversary will receive a limited-edition Grunt plushie. And that thing is freakin' cute. Trust me on that.
Here is a list of the participating locations, along with some of the special guests that will be in attendance at a few of the stores.
Atlanta, Georgia - Lenox Square Mall
I'll be hanging out at the University Village location, so if you stop by, please say hi. Or you can employ the same strategy as 99% of the population, and avoid me at all costs. Either way works.
These are not the community questions you're looking for.
And now, instead of the customary community-submitted question-and-answer part, I thought we'd wrap things up with an inquiry I recently posted on our forums. I asked, "What are you most looking forward to in Anniversary?" And these were some of your responses.
"When you step out of the escape pod after crashing and actually see the landscape of Halo for the first time. Also, watching the video of Keyes's encounter with the Flood. That was so creepy and intense the first time I saw it 10 years ago, and I imagine enhanced graphics and audio will only add to it!" -FormidonisRex
"Other than being able to play new maps in multiplayer, I am most excited about reliving the experience of the first time I played Halo, being it was the first shooter I had ever played. Also looking forward to getting some long deserved achievements for this game!" -W4R M4CHIN3 93
"Pretty much everything. I've never played CE before, so if there's one thing I'm looking forward to, it's the Campaign." -javierbmr01
"Definitely the Anniversary Gametypes. I am excited to play it on the new classic maps, but I am also eager to try it on maps like Powerhouse and Countdown. It looks like a lot of fun for sure. Also, Headlong. OMG, OMG, OMG!" -Randy 355
"EVERYTHING. But searching for easter eggs/skulls/terminals would take first place." -SquattingTurtle
"To enjoy that awesome feeling I had when I first played Halo: CE on Xbox." -GalaxySpider
P.S. I heard captioning is a great activity to help pass the time, especially when you have a long six days ahead of you. Take a gander at last week's Friday Caption Fun picture, then hit the current article to provide a witty and relevant quip. Off you go!