Halo 5 And Pushing The Boundaries Of Xbox One

When you think Halo you think Xbox.

And when you think of how consoles have transformed, pushing forward gaming experiences we engage in, Halo has often been at the vanguard of those changes. Frank O'Connor -- once of Bungie, now Franchise Development Director at 343 Industries -- wants Halo 5: Guardians to once again redefine what consoles can do, in much the same way previous games in the series did.

"This is something we’re taking seriously," says O'Connor.

"Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 almost to a greater extent, apart from being great games and popular games, they also helped set up the eco-system for the Xbox platform. Halo 1 was loading from the hard drive, you were playing LAN games over Ethernet, then you had Halo 2 which was much more obvious. We fulfilled the promise of having a Broadband port on the Xbox in the first place.

"We’ve always been incrementally and sometimes dramatically adding to the eco-system on Xbox."

Although he wouldn't be drawn on the details, O'Connor hopes that we'll see a similar sea change with the first iteration of Halo on the Xbox One. Part of that transformation, at least, will be the result of a brand new, from the ground-up engine switch.

"This is the first completely new engine for a Halo game basically since the game has launched. We’ve basically gone back to the studs to build from the ground up for the architecture of the Xbox One. We’re making sure this is a bigger Halo experience in terms of scope and scale. Making sure it takes advantage of everything the Xbox One has to offer. That’s something we’re really looking forward to revealing in 2015."

As a series, Halo has always grown in tandem with the Xbox platform, helping define and cement its greatest innovations. Xbox LIVE as a service owes a lot to Bungie and the Halo series. The Xbox One's defining point of difference this generation is Kinect, and with Microsoft recently announcing a new Xbox One SKU without Kinect, is it difficult to try and push a platform forward when that platform is constantly in flux?

Frank O'Connor doesn't think so. A game like Halo was never going to be dependent on Kinect to begin with.

"The things that we need out of the system are not in flux at all," he explained.

"We’re obviously going to support Kinect, but Halo is an FPS with a well understood game mechanic and a well understood universe. Halo was never going to be a showcase for Kinect anyway.

"We’re obviously more concerned with things that are important to FPS games than any of the other stuff. We haven’t had to blink. We have a strong plan that’s moving efficiently. Humming in fact."


    So if they don't care about Kinect, what Xbox One capability will they be leveraging into mainstream success? (like the HDD, LAN and online capabilities listed for previous titles)

      My guess is they either mean azure or they dont have one, just hope too :P

      But I can't realistically see anything they can do, like at all, to not make it just another shooter.

        I'm not familiar with the Halo series, but what @miketarno mentions below about recording and replays in a previous title makes me think that might be where it'll lie - something that sets the bar for streaming / recording type stuff (since recording is another major new XBone feature)

          Keen to see what Destiny has in store for us. They'll no doubt include some cool features like this.

    Didn't they say the same thing with Halo 2 for the Xbox and Halo 3 for the 360? That they were going to push the console to the limits with their game?
    and we saw other developers do a much better job. In fact, Bungie managed to top their own claims with Halo: Reach. By then more years had gone by for developers to fully experiment with the console and get more out of them. So I'm a little skeptical that they'll be able to push the boundaries of the Xbone until a later date.

    well understood universe

    Hey 343i, why were the Covenant attacking Chief again? Or was it really in self-defence after Chief killed an Elite trying to hug him?
    How about explaining why the Didact wants to kill all humans? Oh, you want me to buy a novel that comes out 6 months after the game to explain that?

      I seem to recall Cortana mentioning at some point in the game that the elites from Halo 4 must be a renegade offshoot from the main group that chose not to listen to the order to not attack humanity. That being said, very little was explained in that game.

        She does, in the very first mission the very first time you come across that elite... this guy Neo Kaiser either played with zero volume or is a moron
        They also do a pretty good job of explaining the Didact too...
        In fact the only thing wrong with halo4 is the multiplayer....

        Which creates another problem, how they she know of the peace treaty? When it was signed between Humanity and the Covenant, Chief and Cortana were kinda floating in space. I highly doubt she had better wi-fi signal than Australia.

        All I remember is, "Things have changed" as the wave away explanation for why an Elite tried to give Chief a Plasma Sword.

          True about them being out when the war ended, but the elites had already forged a makeshift alliance with the UNSC before 3. No reason for either Chief or Cortana to assume that it would still be in place however.

          I agree that they did a poor job of educating the motivation of Mdama(?) and the Didact in game.

            I did think of that as well, but when Chief asked Cortana he didn't specify the Elites. He asked about the whole Covenant in general.

            Last edited 20/05/14 3:29 pm

              *possible halo 4 spoilers:*

              ugghh halo 4 had such a terrible campaign.

              1) had to fight covenant.... again. this time they had even less personality (grunts were so funny in halo 1/2/3).
              2) the new bad guys were incredibly boring. the new alien weapons pretty much copied the human weapons.
              3) a lot of objectives were push this button, then fight back through here to push another button.
              4) without cortana, the MC seems kinda boring. hopefully halo5 will change my mind.
              5) arbiter was a great character. where was he?

              anyway, that's just my opinion :)

              Ah good point, there's no way they'd have known about that then. In fact they wouldn't known if the war was still going, or anything like that until Infinity rocks up.

                It's fine for them to assume that without Halo and the Prophets dead with their lies revealed that the Covenant wouldn't find much value in continuing the war and would have easily signed a treaty. Especially with the Elites taking over again. But their dialogue suggests it as a matter of fact that they were fully aware.

          how they she know of the peace treaty?

          At the time she was speculating. She didn't know exactly.

          Oh, I definitely agree. Halo 4 was full of plotholes and leaps of logic that made absolutely no sense whatsoever, and was a really poor way to handwave the whole 'fighting the elites again' thing.

            Quick trivia question, don't look this up. What's the name of the Covenant forces you fight?

            Last edited 20/05/14 8:04 pm

              Oh man...I honestly can't remember. I'm normally relatively strong on my Halo knowledge recall, but a lot of Halo 4 never really stuck with me like Bungie's stuff did.

                Is it, the Storm Covenant?

                  I decided to look it up, and it looks like they were actually called the Covenant Remnant. The Storm designation was purely a class thing, referring to the lower ranks in the Remnant's army (being equivalent to an Elite Minor in the former Covenant army), and people thinking that it was called the Storm Covenant originally came about from an Official Xbox Magazine inaccurately taking the Storm term to be referring to the name of the army, not the class of warrior in the army, and other news outlets just running with it.

                  Gotta love pointless video game information! :-)


                  I know, that's what I was going with. Pointing how bad the script was in Halo 4 that they don't even mention the name of the Covenant you were fighting.

    I think what Mark is saying is that they pushed the capability of the extras it could do, not so much the graphics. For instance the ability to record an entire match and replay bits is crazy and no games have since done anything as good as that.

    Graphics on the other hand were to be fair a bit average. The game always ran at a low resolution to maintain good frame rate, but that in turn helped to keep the solid gameplay.

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