With the Halo 5 beta now over, developer 343 Industries is taking some serious time to reflect.
The release of the Halo 5 beta was much earlier in the process than many other games in the past. The team opened up the beta almost a full year in advance of the game’s release later this year. There was some hesitation among the team, but Executive Producer Josh Holmes says he was “really glad we did this.”
Beyond being broadly successful, with almost 1 million people jumping on board with 20 million matches, the beta brought a few things to the team’s attention.
The most glaring change in the beta, compared to past Halo games, was the intro and outro sequences during matches. At the end of matches, the winning team would be found fist-bumping and high-fiving one another. It’s something that felt very un-Spartan-like, according to Holmes. Holmes plans on reeling back the “dude-bro” feel for something more serious.
Some 19,000 people signed up for the Halo Community Feedback Program to give direct feedback to the developers. It really seems that 343 Industries is trying to make Halo 5 the best in the series by taking fan feedback into account early and often.
The company plans on balancing weapons, but 343 will also to increase base speed and strafe acceleration. The team will address complaints about the new sniper rifle mechanics, which made it harder to do quick shots. Zoom functionalities will also become smoother and faster, and the team plans on completely removing the ability to shoot a grenade mid-air. Lastly, 343 will improve matchmaking, allowing players of the same skill to go head-to-head more quickly.
Of the statistics released, one thing that caught our attention was the win-to-loss ratio based on color. Of the 20 million matches played, 47.45 percent went to red team while 52.55 percent went to blue. This could have something to do with red standing out more and being easier to spot, but we will see if hues change when Halo 5: Guardians comes out this fall.