“This is the culmination of an incredible three-year journey for our team,” writes Josh Holmes, Studio Head of 343 Industries. Today, Halo 5: Guardians goes gold. What’s that mean? It means Halo 5: Guardians is ‘done’ and discs are being printed.
These days, no game is ever ‘done.’ Prior to launch, a multiplayer content update will be released. It “will supplement the online multiplayer goodness with map content for Arena Multiplayer and our all new massive-scale 12v12 Warzone Multiplayer. Digital owners can apply the update prior to the launch on October 27th. Those with physical copies will need to wait until they have the game in hand. Digital owners can also start pre-downloading the game next week.
343 Industries’ work doesn’t stop on October 27th. A dedicated team will be on hand to support the game with monthly releases of “new content and experiences,” according to Holmes. This includes REQ content and more than 18 free multiplayer maps.
Fresh Forge details
Forge created a whole new segment of Halo fans when it was first released in 2007 with Halo 3. Eight years later and 343 Industries is building the biggest Forge yet.
Let’s get the most important news out of the way. Forge mode will not be available at launch. It will release in December, “just in time for the holiday break,” says Holmes.
And that’s the only bad news on Forge you’re going to see.
A short trailer gives us an overview of what’s coming in the new Forge.
In a lengthy blog post, 343 Industries touches on several improvements made to Forge. If Forge is a big deal for you, it’s a must read. I’ll highlight a few of the new improvements below
Free Camera – The camera no longer snaps to objects being edited. Users can freely position the camera to find the best vantage point to edit from. To orbit around selected objects like past Forges, simply click the right-stick to “lock on” to the objects and click again to cycle between multiple zoom levels.
Smart Magnets – Magnets no longer snap objects while moving them around. Instead they draw connection lines between magnets that will snap when the input is released. Additionally the camera can be aimed at magnets to influence which ones will snap giving extra precision when building with magnets.
This is huge for Forge fans. Imagine you built the perfect base. What would be even more perfect is if you didn’t have to build another base just like it somewhere else. “Group it, dupe it, stamp it down, and maybe place another one for good measure,” writes Design Lead Tom French.
Grouping – Groups can be created dynamically with a single button press. Select more objects and press the button again to add to the group or press the button again to split the group up. It’s really that simple.
Welding – Grouped objects can optionally be welded to their “parent” object. This allows them to all physically move around together; make a soccer ball with traffic cone spikes that rolls around, or attach a weapon pad to a larger animating object. Our producer Mike loves to remind Ben that this feature is so important to make some of our Arena map designs work that it is LITERALLY the reason he was brought aboard. Good thing it happened because Forge is better because of the addition of both!
Objects, lots of objects
Previous Forge modes were limited to a couple hundred objects. In Halo 5? That number swells to over 1,600. With more objects comes new object types. FX emitters, invisible blockers, objects for building map intros/outros, tools for machinima makers and more.
A new budget system is also coming in Halo 5: Guardians. Gone is the arbitrary dollar system used in the past. In its place? A new system tied to the real engine metrics. Plus, there is a multi-budget system. Objects, memory, lightmap and VFX all have their own budgets. You can even exceed the budget with lightmap and VFX, but it may cause visual artifacts/anomalies.
Your Forge canvas
You can Forge an Arena/Breakout map, but the real fun comes when you have a clean slate. 343 Industries is giving you three clean slates.
No more drab gray
More than 100 colors will help you spruce up your creation. Most Forge building pieces have primary, secondary and tertiary color change sections. You can see this in action in the image below.
There’s even more I didn’t highlight. Make sure you go back and read the whole post. Not having Forge at launch is a bummer, but there will be plenty for Halo fans to keep busy with in the month or so between launch and Forge’s release.
There’s still a few things we haven’t heard much about. Theater is one of them. Oh, and where the hell is Grifball? There better be a way that can be made in Forge.
Here’s an infographic 343 Industries put together highlighting all the features coming to Halo 5: Guardians.