Every time Karim comes up with new ideas for communication brochures, we realize more and more how many mistakes are actually made in the industry we all love. Today, Karim takes a closer look at one of Microsoft’s biggest with Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Incidentally, with Halo: The Master Chief Collection it is definitely not just about a communication failure, but we can say that everything around the release of this package was one big blunder, which was the founder of another blunder a year later: Halo 5 : Guardians. For now, however, let’s focus on Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the collection that would blow away all collections and release all games in one package and one neat menu for Halo fans. This went completely wrong.
On November 11, 2014, Halo MCC, exactly ten years after the release of the still leading Halo 2, was released on the Xbox One that was just released in the Netherlands. Personally, I was dying to go play and relive all my old Halo memories, both offline and online. For months my then girlfriend had to hear how badly I wanted to play this, so much so that she even baked me Halo pies. This was the reason I wanted an Xbox One with the Dutch release and man, man, man… I was disappointed.
It turned out that there was almost nothing to work on this collection on the release. You got through most single player campaigns despite a number of crashes, but the multiplayer in particular was terrible. 343 Industries had chosen to release all games under one hood and thus also throw different Halo games into one playlist. Super ambitious of course, but in the implementation this turned out to be far too ambitious in 2014. Nothing about the game was right. Games and modes that you were used to being 4v4 turned into 5v5 or 7v3, sometimes the wrong game loaded and you should be happy if you could find a match at all. I literally had my Xbox One search for a match all day at the time and at the end of the day I was just still searching, to no avail.
It is clear that Halo: The Master Chief Collection was completely broken. Now the question is of course how Microsoft and 343 Industries dealt with this, given that communication can already extinguish a lot of fires. However, it turned out that developer 343 Industries was anything but prepared for the debacle that developed around this collection. Halo Waypoint – the forum for Halo players – was full of complaints, as hardly anyone could normally find a match. 343 Industries immediately realized on the release that “some players” could not find matches, a term that went down the wrong way with many players as nobody could normally find a match.
In terms of communication, you could say that Microsoft and 343 Industries cannot be blamed that much. They have always communicated that they were working on fixes, which indeed all came out quite quickly. However, it soon became clear that these fixes didn’t fix anything, which only increased the frustration of players. Fixes were always promised that didn’t fix anything at all, but 343 Industries did get started in December with the Halo 5: Guardians beta, in which the matchmaking went strangely enough. In the initial phase, it was often pretended that only a number of players were bothered by this and there was also regular communication whether the players wanted to check their routers. Well, an extra check wouldn’t hurt, but I think everyone knew this wasn’t a problem with the players’ routers.
Strangely enough, it was the only way, a year before the release of Halo 5: Guardians, to have a good time online in the Halo universe on the Xbox One. There was no beginning with Halo: The Master Chief Collection and as the year 2015 came around the corner, things got quieter from Microsoft and 343 Industries. Had they too given up hope that Halo: The Master Chief Collection was going to be something else? Many players, including myself, had indeed given up hope and I was already busy with the then recently released Destiny.
Then the focus was on the release of Halo 5: Guardians, the big sequel that was to be released in 2015 for Xbox One. In the run-up to the release, the Halo community was very fond of the multiplayer of Halo 5, but it turned out to be quite well put together when it comes to matchmaking. However, this time 343 Industries did not have it with the multiplayer, but with the single player, which is entirely due to the communication from Microsoft and the studio.
It was pretended that the Master Chief had become a bad guy and that Agent Locke would chase him throughout the game, in a story in which it would not be clear for a long time who actually is the good guy and the bad guy. Now it is also true that the game starts like this, but before you are halfway through the game everything is again a breeze between the two and a very poor story emerges, at least compared to what we have in the communication was promised. That, and the fact that there was no split screen in this game, meant that with two releases in two years, Hallo has no less than two very big blunders to its name.
Everything is now on the mend. While matchmaking still remains a thing, an intensely large patch for Halo: The Master Chief Collection has now solved a lot of problems. The collection will also come to the PC in parts, starting with Halo: Reach. For the PC version all multiplayers are therefore released separately, which shows that 343 Industries has learned from their mistakes. However, with Halo: Infinite they seem to have only one more chance to make Halo a very big franchise again.
Halo was once leading for the first-person shooter genre and how you handle multiplayer as a game, but currently Halo is mainly leading for the generation we are in, in which unfinished games are released with very little communication. Let’s hope Halo: Infintie will lead the way in another way …