It’s almost here. Grifball is finally coming to Halo 5: Guardians. 343 Industries is bringing the much-requested mode as part of their new Hammer Storm update. Oh, and Assault. Today, I’m going to dive into everything you need to know about both of them in Halo 5.

Grifball screenshot

On Friday, we got our first look at the new Grifball map.

Halo 5 Grifball screenshot

There’s not much to go on since the screenshot is a tight angle, but it looks like a hockey rink – doesn’t it?

The Grifball court

343 called on Jeffrey ‘Nokyard’ Fischer to assist them in creating Grifball for Halo 5. With the added mobility in Halo 5, the developers needed to tweak the traditional Grifball map.

“We had many design discussions with Nokyard and he even built the first Halo 5 Grifball Court which will be launching alongside the mode this update (it’s unlike any Grifball court you have ever seen before),” says Max Grossman, a multiplayer designer at 343.

Ball carrier movement

Thrusting added an entirely new dynamic into Halo 5’s gameplay. And building these new modes to suit this quicker movement was one of 343’s biggest challenges. Especially, for the ball carrier in modes like Assault.

Grossman is the first to admit that being a ball carrier wasn’t always a blast.

“It felt like work. You didn’t get to shoot, you moved slower, and everybody was trying to kill you all the time. In Halo 5, this was exacerbated by the even faster player movement, so when looking at redesigning the ball carrier, we wanted to make carrying the ball a skill that players could learn.”

The multiplayer designers looked at several options. From tuning movement speed to increasing damage resistance. Then, they took a step back and discussed what is most important for the ball carrier. The developers settled on three aspects: survivability, melee fights and detection.

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For survivability, 343 embraced thrusting. Instead of one thrust, ball carriers now get two thrusts. Two thrusts give ball carrier options. You can use it to escape and get behind cover, Or, thrust closer to an enemy player and melee.

That brings us to melee. It’s an instant kill if you are carrying the ball. That combined with the double thrust makes ball carriers much more potent. Ball carriers won’t be seen as the easy kill anymore.

And finally, detection. 343 is adding the ‘spotting’ mechanic from Capture the Flag into Assault.

The developers wanted the ball carrier to be treated like a skill. And the tweaks made to the ball carrier will do just that. The double thrust combined with an instant melee kill will make for some great ‘Xbox, record that’ moments.

Grifball weapons

Getting the first iteration of Grifball up and running was easy enough. Put the delivery time on Assault to zero seconds, adjust player spawning, add some Hammers and Swords and boom – Grifball. But, it’s never that easy.

Nokyard helped 343’s Weapons Designer Daniel Wiksten “get the damage and impulse blast of the hammer to feel right, says Grossman. This collaboration helped us hammer out (pun intended) the delicate balance of Gravity Hammer vs. Sword vs. Ball that Grifball so heavily relies upon.” says Grossman.

Create your own Grifball or something crazier

343 is adding a few extra features to Forge to see what kind of craziness its fans can come up with. Software Engineer Miller Tinkerhess explains:

“If you place multiple ball spawn locations on the map, the ball will take turns spawning first at one location, then the next, then the next. You can also place multiple return zone locations to give the attacking team a few different options of where to deliver the ball. I’m personally looking forward to seeing the crazy custom games that Forgers come up with!”

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There is a whole host of options to tweak. Everything from how many points for delivering a ball to how long it takes for the ball to reset after being dropped. Remember all the tweaks 343 made to the ball carrier? You can tweak many yourself including shields, damage resistance, thruster speed, jump height, ball throwing and more. Want to create Oddball? You can change scoring for when you are holding the ball.

I can’t wait to see what Halo 5 fans come up with. I mean, someone made a pancake flipping mini-game. I’m serious.

I’m not sure if anything will surprise me at this point.

Hammer Storm livestream

Halo 5 Torque arena map

The Hammer Storm update’s release date is edging closer. Tomorrow, 343 is hosting a live stream to show us all the Halo 5 goodness coming in their next update. We’ll see Grifball, the new Arena map Torque, REQs and more. Tune in at 3:00 p.m. PST at Halo’s Twitch channel. I’ll update this post tomorrow if we learn anything new about Grifball.

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Halo 5 Grifball and Rocket League? Well, I know what I’ll be playing for the foreseeable future. Are you pumped for Grifball? What do you think of the new changes coming to ball carriers? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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