In addition to the Cinema First Look and Fireteam Osiris gameplay we received earlier this week, Josh Holmes along with a few campaign leads take to Waypoint to bring us another developer blog, packed with some behind-the-scenes perspective on the development of Halo 5: Guardian’s campaign. Halo 5 is by far the largest spanning campaign that will take players on an epic journey across the galaxy, exploring many different locations. Technically, the campaign has received a major overhaul, with the use of dedicated servers, co-op built from the beginning with Fireteam AI and orders, a new physically-based lighting system and higher fidelity graphics using a new a progressive resolution system that scales screen resolution to keep the game at 60fps. According to Josh, may of the core elements of the Halo engine had to be ripped out and re-architected to meet their goals, producing one of the biggest technological hurdles in the franchise’s history.
If you thought Halo 2’s campaign was expansive and long, you can expect more from the massive scale of Halo 5: Guardians. In conjunction with the physical size of the environments, Justin Dinges, Campaign Environment Art Lead explains there are seven distinct art pallets within the campaign to offer the diversity of environments that players will explore. The diverse environments allowed the developers to come up with complex layouts and routes for players to explore and progress through the campaign, providing the option to really explore the worlds that inhabit the Halo universe amongst the giant battles that will ensue. Due to some of the epic battles and visual effects going into the game, the progressive resolution system is crucial to keeping the game at 60fps while trying to produce a 1080p resolution, which will definitely happen when you’re exploring allowing players to appreciate the art and design of Halo 5: Guardians.
In Halo 5: Guardians, the campaign team wanted to give players the option to explore and play the campaign in their own style. Achieving an experience that gives players the choices they need to truly experience the missions as they want involved creating the most robust sandbox experience the team has ever produced. Chris Haluke, Campaign Lead Designer explains they wanted missions to have the most weapons, vehicles, enemies, and tactical/explorations that we’ve ever seen in a Halo campaign. This gives players the options to use vehicles or go on foot, explore the space the team has created or speed run through to the end, and jumping straight into battles or taking more tactical approaches utilizing your Fireteam. With co-op developed at the core experience of Halo 5: Guardians, the team also had to ensure environments with multiple paths allowed for players to support one another in combat, and introduce more active AI enemies to account for the increased player count.
Halo 5: Guardians wouldn’t be the game it is if the developers didn’t enjoy actually playing it. Josh Lindquist, Campaign Lead Engineer, explains, “There’s a mantra in our studio: play the game.” When playing the game, they may be testing bugs and changes they’re making, but it’s hard not to get carried away in the experience sometimes. It’s hard to keep focus on the overall picture when you’re deep within the development of a game, but if the devs can have fun, they hope we can too.
You can find more details in the campaign team’s developer blog here.