With the bad taste of Halo: The Master Chief Collection still in the mouths of players, the big question for multiplayer fans remains the same. Can 343 Industries repair and restore trust in the community while keeping the promise of creating a highly competitive multiplayer experience?
This year’s Gamescom brought Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer into the spotlight as 343 Industries held an invitational tournament to both promote and demonstrate the game’s competitive arena mode. In an obvious attempt to ignite an interest for the game as an eSport, four teams battled in an early build of the game’s Arena mode. The tournament had a high production quality, similar to Valve or Riot Games.
While the tournament may have looked sleek, what did this glimpse into the game teach us about the direction of competitive Halo? Quite a lot actually.
1. Players will have to be quick
Halo 5 is incredibly fast-paced. The time between the start of the first match of the tournament and the first kill was six seconds. While previous iterations have had a focus on shortening the down time between encounters, Halo 5: Guardians appears to be putting that focus into overdrive with a distinct emphasis on teamplay. The reappearance of the thruster pack from Halo 4 adds a new level of mobility, as every Spartan in the match has one equiped.
2. There’s no “I” in “team”
Being a lone wolf or trying to carry your team to victory looks to be an easy route to defeat, as teamwork and map control are back in the forefront of this competitive experience. While using voice chat will always be the primary means for sucessful communication, 343 has added additional dialogue for the players avatars that shout weapon spawn times and enemy positions.
Episilon eSports eventually won the invitational.
3. 343 is on the right track for eSports
343 Industries has found some success in eSports with the Halo Champion Series. Focusing on the anniversary edition of Halo 2 as their canvas for competitive gameplay, players are looking closely at Halo 5: Guardians to see what 343 has in store for a new iteration of eSports. The Gamescom Invitational showed that 343 has the right mindset. The spectators’ experience of the game is top-notch and easy to follow for the casual viewer, as the game has a spectator mode similar to that of Counter-strike: Global Offensive,
Halo 5: Guardians launches on October 27th for the Xbox One. Check back for more details as they are revealed.