The first hints of changes to "Halo" multiplayer for "Halo 5: Guardians" on the Xbox One came with the E3 2014 trailer shown during Microsoft’s press conference. This followed with 343 Industries Design Director revealing that loadouts were a thing of the past as the game takes on a balanced. Franchise Director Frank O'Connor continued the theme late Tuesday night by talking the influence eSports and the moving away from reward based gaming in multiplayer.
"The funny thing is we've seen first person shooters get more and more complex, and more and more sort of reward driven and stuff. There has been kind of a backlash about it,” O'Connor said during a Giant Bomb E3 stream discussing "Halo." "Not just with our stuff but with other people’s games. That it’s just too much and people want something sort of simple. As eSports comes back they want something more balanced and more symmetrical and fair.
"I think it's a seesaw, and I think that it is tipping back towards the - and eSports is certainly driving a lot of that - is going for things that are really truly competitive rather than just sort of reward driven," he continued. "But I think you can have your cake and eat it, you can have both of those sets of experiences in a game. And sort of reward people in the campaign and make sure that your multiplayer is something pure."
"There’s a lot of basic fundamentals in games that haven’t changed. Guess what, side-scrolling platforms have never gone away but they’re really back in a meaningful way and people are doing clever things with it. I think if you take those original premises and doing something original with that’s fair to the genre of game that’s in then I think these things can have really long legs," O'Connor concluded.
"Halo 4" multiplayer borrowed the reward driven elements made by popular by "Call of Duty" but it was not well received by long-time fans of the series. Other additions such as Ordnance Drops introduced an element of randomness that also managed to turn off hardcore "Halo" followers. The little that has been revealed for "Halo 5" thus far indicates the return to the core "Halo" multiplayer elements and a focus on balanced Arena-style combat meant to appeal to competitive gamers.
The "Halo 5: Guardians" multiplayer beta will launch on the Xbox One in December and is included as part of the "Halo: Master Chief Collection" that is due out in November. The collection will include the first four "Halo" games from the series, with "Halo 2" receiving the HD upgrade treatment, and all four games will retain their multiplayer and game mechanics on dedicated servers. This will be followed by the full release of "Halo 5" in the fall of 2015.