Making Halo Anniversary Work
November 15, 2011 Page 3 of 3
Have you gotten many of the original developers' input on the anniversary edition?
FO: We definitely talk to the other Bungie guys regularly, and we're friends with a lot of the guys, and they're not going to charge us for consultation, for one thing. We can talk to them. ...
I had some conversations about the Title Update [for Reach] -- which was one of the trickiest things, because we were effectively changing moments of the gameplay. But [it's good to have] somebody to talk to, about some of the things we do, just things that they'd have spent more time with.
We have the benefit of hindsight, right? Like, there's been a year of people playing Halo: Reach, and bitching about things -- that you absolutely want to make sure you have them taken care of.
But those guys [at Bungie] are fully committed to their next game. It's not like they have spare cycles to come help us with our challenges, on top of everything else. So, no is the short answer to your question -- but obviously we organically have a lot of communication with those guys.
You've said it's running two engines simultaneously, but it's really just two rendering engines, right? The underlying game engine is the same.
FO: There's a little bit more to it, to make it map correctly, and make everything work. And saying "a little bit", well, there's probably some engineer reading this and saying "A little bit? I spent the whole year doing that!" But, I mean, the overall effect is hopefully fairly seamless for the player.
We could quickly switch to Headlong, which is the only level which is from Halo 2. I think I explained the process for that. You don't want to turn into a democracy though, because you end up with some false positives if you just do it.
We were trying to do this in secret, the whole project, but we were fairly confident that Headlong was going to be in the levels -- that was surprisingly popular with the multiplayer set.
And the reason to go with the Reach engine was -- I already explained that there's no real networking engine for the original CE. But I think, more importantly, if we came in with a new Halo game right in the middle of Halo Reach's lifespan and split the ecosystem like that, and split the player base, it would have made a lot more enemies than friends.
And this is supposed to be a celebration. We don't want to say, "Hey, stop playing this! Start playing this!" And we wanted to respect that.
That's a bit of a difficult decision to make there, really.
FO: Yeah, we knew. I mean, even internally, we were like, "Right." When we made the decision, we're like, "This number of people are going to be rightfully irritated or mad about that decision." So that's when we started working on the Title Update with classic gameplay.
So with things like the pistol, we've added ability to move completely, or reduce the amount of bloom on the DMR rifle, and basically make a much more classic Halo experience for when Anniversary ships. You'll be able to go into setup matchmaking play it as close to Halo CE as you can get with the Reach engine.
Have you considered any kind of interoperability between the games? I mean any kind of persistence, for the Halo series going forward?
FO: Yeah and I already touched on that with regards to fiction -- which is a meta-concept, and an easy one to do.
But absolutely Waypoint has become a sort of access for that interoperability, and we're definitely looking at ways -- definitely for your Halo career to continue to exist. But ways for more discreet and functional things.
In fact, we have some things happening in the next couple of months that speak directly to that. Yeah, we have some stuff coming up in the next couple of months that talks exactly to that, and there's some really interesting things, but hopefully without breaking the gameplay experience.
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