Warning: No TLDR.
Never, prior to Halo 4, have forums blown up with saying “DO NOT pre-order the next Halo game!”
Sure, there was backlash with Bungie’s Reach, their last Halo title, but leading up to Halo 2 and 3 there was not this vocal protest towards new titles as there are today. This all leads back to Reach, which largely polarized the community with bloom, which 343i did remove in some playlists, but also loadouts.
They VOWED to return Halo to its classic roots (with some fun but still Halo changes) and instead released what some called Call of Duty: Space Warfare with Halo 4. custom loadouts, killcam, perks, care packages, even a futuristic riot shield. Far from Halo’s roots. While there was a dedicated following, even myself played the game for quite some time with over 1,000 matchmaking games alone, it hurt the company’s image to the hardcore community and Halo once again found itself out of the competitive spotlight.
People, mostly, wanted a return to the past, which was either never or no longer supported on Xbox Live (Halo 1/2). Even Halo 2, nearing its 10yr anniversary would suffice and then they announced the dream for ALL Halo fans, past and present, The Master Chief Collection. All 4 main titles, 1 game, seamless UI and all on Live with original multiplayer.
Leading up to the release of Xbox’s sure fire way to get back into the console race with Sony there were many showings and streamed events which seemed to have major technical difficulties and broadcasters would simply point to 1 thing: an early build.
However, it turned out that early build was at no way faulty compared to the “Gold” and retail build. Plagued with issues, slow fixes that often contained minor fixes like broken achievements over the major issues that made the game literally unplayable, especially with friends. Now 2 months after release, many of these issues remain including the lack of constant and definite dedicated servers. The game still have major UI issues and players, that remain, often find themselves struggling to join with friends or simply rolling solo.
Heading into the Halo 5 beta, a look at the future and what has became a MASSIVE Xbox marketing campaign focused on making Halo competitive and about competition again to get customers back on MCC and Xbox in general, people were skeptical of the gameplay changes that seem to have removed some of the “CoD” aspects that came in H4 but only to replaced by other un-unique additions. These include aim down sight or whatever they call it, and Destiny’s slide and ground pound “super”. Sure the games were in development at the same time so it is unlikely one stole from the other in terms of those 2 additions but again 343i failed to simply take Halo back in gameplay and forward in visuals (H2A is a PERFECT example of what is good, when it works) or at least add in something to make Halo unique again.
Beyond that, this NEW game (in testing) had many of the issues that MCC had in terms of playing with friends, connecting and disconnecting from games, searching for 20min only to keep getting dropped or having “a problem with the Halo servers”. These problems were there in past Halo betas but not to the extent of H5 and to see a beta RUSHED out the gate a month after a unfinished, and plain broken AAA title hit store shelves by the same company is extremely worrying and again calls for boycott of Xbox’s biggest title have started for a game 11 months out.
343i certainly has their work cut out for them, including some rumps to kiss and some eyes to stimulate before they earn the trust that Halo players were forced to give them is given back.